“Why, God? Why can't I stop eating?”
I've screamed out this very prayer thousands of times over the course of my short life. One night as a little girl, after stumbling onto late night porn at a friends house, the binging began. Shame came like a wrecking ball, awaking a sexual monster that lurked in my past from abuse–one that never should have come alive that early. I ran into the kitchen and with tears pouring down my little cheeks, I ate everything in sight. After that dark night, comfort eating continued for over two decades.
Overeating wasn't ever about food. It wasn't about weight and it wasn't about appearance. It was about a heart in pain, needing a fix, needing a drug, needing to be filled.
And when your heart and soul are in pain, you'll do just about anything to find relief, even if that relief is temporary. Even if that relief comes with a price. Even if that relief causes more pain, more destruction, more addiction. It's why people find themselves enslaved to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, masturbation, perfectionism, performance, and cutting. The very thing that gives our wounded hearts temporary relief ends up being the one thing that locks our cage in hell.
You find, unfortunately, the relief is never enough. The pain always comes back. You always need another fix, like drinking sand in hopes of conquering thirst.
When things happen that shouldn't have happened, when you were abused, neglected, rejected–when you were told repeatedly that you were ugly, stupid, unlovable, or not enough–your heart and soul took the punches. The more hits you took, the more pain your soul had to endure. Every wounded memory, from your parents getting divorced to not having parents at all–every moment of heartbreak, from sitting alone on the sidelines of a dance or being picked last for kickball–were stored in the filing cabinet of your heart. And you keep immaculate records. When your tattered heart hasn't been allowed to heal, it copes in order to survive.
And you end up doing the very things you don't want to do.
Years ago, I didn't get drunk and do drugs because I was a happy, fulfilled girl who simply wanted to have a good time. I needed a quick escape that made me forget about how much I hated myself. I wasn't a perfectionist because being perfect made my life more joyful. I had to be perfect because if I wasn't, I was petrified that someone would see how screwed up I was and reject me. I didn't binge on food because I enjoyed the flavors. I ate and ate because the emptiness was haunting. In the few minutes it took to stuff my face, I felt filled and ‘in control' of something in a world completely out of my control.
Instead of going after the behaviors you don't like about yourself–instead of trying to perfect an external shell of a body to hide what's inside, it's time open up the vault of your soul. You can't change until you heal, and you can't heal until you're willing to receive truth.
But I promise you, the truth sets you free. Totally free.
Is there a behavior in your life you can't seem to shake? Do you wonder why you do the very thing you hate, time and time again? It's time to stop trying to change yourself. You can't. You must receive healing into the roots of your heart and THEN the fruit of your life will change.
Take a moment, close your eyes, and breathe in deep. Give yourself permission to heal. Give yourself permission to take down your walls of protection that have failed you, and try something new. That's the first step.
More to come.