Say the title of this post like Dory did in Finding Nemo… Es-cah-pay… it makes me smile when I say it like that, and ironically seems to let my mind “escape” the true meaning of the word for just a second.
Yesterday morning, I used food as an escape. I knew full well what I was doing because, like I mentioned, I’m trying to be aware of why I eat and if I’m really hungry. My mind was a jumble with my list of “you should do this” and “you should not do this” and “you must do this”… and rather than actually take a moment to think about my priorities and start by tackling what truly is most important, I ate so I wouldn’t have to think about it at all for a few moments. This response, of course, does nothing to help and usually has the opposite effect. After taking this route, not only had I accomplished nothing that would ease my overwhelmed state, but I also had to deal with the added guilt (and physical discomfort) of eating when I wasn’t hungry for food. So, I ended up worse off than where I began.
However, unlike days past, where I would mentally beat myself up about this and determine to “be better”, “do better”, “start a plan… tomorrow”, or “give up on the day because I’d already messed up.” I opted to forgive myself, immediately, and let myself off the hook for not being my version of “perfect”. I opted to ask forgiveness of God because I turned to food as an escape instead of casting all my cares upon Him and coping with stress in a beneficial way. And then, I decided to mentally note the positive progress made because I recognized WHY I turned to the food. Even more progress came through not calling the day a wash and thus resigning myself to an entire day of poor nutritional choices until I could “start over” the next day (or more likely, next Monday). Of course, this didn’t mean I was “perfect” the rest of the day, but it did mean that I exercised a proper reaction to mistakes instead of rehearsing the wrong reaction. Besides, I’m not striving for perfection (or whatever my warped version of that might look like)… I want progress toward healing my mind, body, and spirit.
I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m choosing to feel what needs to be felt, to celebrate the good along the journey… and focus less on escaping it altogether.