If I didn’t have writing, I think I’d weigh a thousand pounds. Rather than eating my feelings all the time – which, let’s be honest, I still sometimes do – writing is a much healthier environment for processing my thoughts and emotions than a bag of sweet potato chips or a bar of dark chocolate.
When the craving to snack strikes, that typically means I need to write. If I’m not hungry but I’m salivating over salted almonds, there’s probably something behind that.
If I want to pour myself a glass of bourbon, first I need to pause to appraise my feelings. In my more clear-headed moments, I ask myself:
- Why do I want it?
- Should I write or go for a walk or do anything else instead?
(If you’re wondering, the answers to those questions are usually “because it tastes good and I like it and maybe I just want to soften the edges this hard day a bit.” And “yes, I should probably do any of those things before sitting down with a glass of bourbon – alone.”)
Bourbon in good company is great. Bourbon alone requires discernment.
I don’t just ignore my cravings, though. That rarely works. If I try to stuff them in a drawer, they become like little gremlins, banging and shouting to be let out. They make a mess. In my mind, in my heart. It’s not pretty. And usually, I just end up frustrated and caving in and having that handful of almonds or that third cookie that I don’t really need but just want for the crunch.
These days, I’m mostly craving crunchy things, crispy textures. I want the satisfying snap of a carrot between my teeth or the crack of a pistachio in my hand. Lest you think I only crave healthy foods, rest assured, I am completely human. I crave chocolate and cookies and ice cream. I am simply trying to satisfy my cravings with healthier options. But it’s a rare day when I don’t have a square (or two) of dark chocolate.
The need to crunch on something has gotten so strong lately that I started to wonder if maybe my body was trying to tell me something.
Have you ever had a craving so strong it startled you with the intensity of it?
My cravings had gotten so bad, that I found myself filling my glass with ice instead of water, just so I could have a constant stream of snap, crack, and crunch within arm’s reach. (Some of my friends are concerned this might be a sign of anemia. Don’t worry, I’m looking into it.)
Turns out, my cravings weren’t so unusual. Like most compulsive food cravings, mine were an indication that something in my life was out of balance. Typically, craving crunchy or crispy food like chips and nuts hints at an inner frustration.
This had definitely been true of me lately. I’m not proud of it, but before I left for this sabbatical month of traveling and writing, I’d been a little more easily irritated and just pretty fed up with life in the city. Dating and crowded MUNI trains and people who bump into you and don’t apologize! San Francisco can be exhausting sometimes. And being single in the city can feel very hard, lonely, and even a little hopeless. (Although, as I’m continually attempting to give up control to God, I’m discovering it doesn’t have to be that way.)
However, I am proud of the confidence I’ve developed in this season. I’m finally beginning to realize my worth – and it has nothing to do with how I look or how I perform or how productive I am at work.
It has everything to do with the One who calls me His Beloved and who inspires me to love more like He does.
This newfound clarity and certainty about whose I am led me to stop online dating and basically say, “I’m done with the constant striving.” It’s not that I’m bitter or feel slighted, I’m simply – and gratefully – at the point where I don’t feel the need to be continuously searching for a spouse. God’s got this.
For me, I arrived at that healing conclusion through these three gifts:
- Honest, open community – my closest girlfriends, my family, my community group. We support each other and point each other back to God in vulnerability and grace.
- Silence and solitude – sitting and listening to God without the distraction of noise or other people helps bring to the surface the truths and promises I desperately need to hear.
- Writing – by processing my thoughts and emotions on paper with God, he helps solidify the core truths that he’s placing at the foundation of my life. And, rather than sharing everything with the people around me, I found it’s healthiest to talk to God first.
Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t written about my recent experiences in dating, I hadn’t process roommate frustrations with God, and I hadn’t asked him what my craving for crunch might be trying to tell me. Once I finally expressed to him what had been stuffed away in my mental and emotional drawers, I was freed from the angst that left me looking for a physical outlet for my stress and frustration.
God has the most trustworthy ears. And I’m confident that in talking with Him, you too can find joy and healing by experiencing and expressing your emotions with Him. He can handle it.
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