hunger unmasked: mental situations

At this point, I hope you’re recognizing physical hunger and maybe even beginning to identify hunger triggering situations. Our next one is what Suriel calls “thoughts”, but I didn’t like how “thoughts situations” sounded. So, instead I decided to rename our next situational category.

Mental Hunger

You know that voice in your head that tells you you’re fat? That’s your mean girl, and Josie Spindari blames her for what she calls “The Mean Girl Munchies”. It’s sad really to think that we can be our own worst critics. We mentally berate ourselves to the point that we end up turning to food for comfort. We’re hungry for acceptance, even from ourselves. When we don’t get it in a healthy way, well, we’re going to meet that need somehow. This is where we confuse our hunger for self-worth with physical hunger. The void is real, but the solution is fake. Food will never solve anything but physical hunger.

When we entertain negative thoughts, we are giving the mean girl permission to let us have it. What we think has a profound effect on our physical being. If we allow negativity to run rough shod over us, we will never be victorious in this area of our lives… and I mean never. We act upon what we believe, and if we believe what the mean girl says about us, well, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Bible tells us that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”.

We can also replay in our mind things other people have said about us or even to us. We must guard our hearts and our minds against these attacks. If we speak life to ourselves, we will thrive. Words matter.

You know how we were told, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well, we should practice this more. I’m not saying we shouldn’t call sin by its rightful name, but calling ourselves “stupid” or “ugly” or “fat” has nothing to do with confronting sin in our lives. And remember, listening to these disparaging remarks only sends us running into the arms of food.

One of the biggest battles we will face in this journey toward freedom will occur in our minds. We are held captive by diet mentality and the ugly words we’ve chosen to believe about ourselves. The word “failure” is one I used quite frequently to describe myself. Now, I refuse to say it about myself and if I hear someone call themselves a failure, I am on that like white on rice. I don’t let my kids or my students put themselves (or others) down, why on earth should I allow my mean girl to berate me?

Part of our issue is that we’ve let the mental dialogue go unchallenged for years. We long for an identity, any identity and sometimes we cling to the wrong ones. We allow warped views to take up residence in our minds. We listen to gurus and experts and fitness instructors over listening to our own bodies… and ultimately, over listening to God.

The Bible says we should be:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

If our thoughts didn’t matter, why on earth would God tell us to take them captive and make them align with Christ? See, they do matter. God knows our thoughts are where most battles are won or lost. God knows that beliefs are born from thought and that we can’t help but act upon what we truly believe.

When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, your body, or whatever, stop immediately. Take that thought and reframe it into a positive statement.

“I’m so fat” becomes, “I am wonderfully made”.

“My legs are so jiggly” becomes, “I am so thankful for the ability to walk.”

“I can’t stop eating” becomes, “I am strong and I can do ALL things through Christ!”

“I’ll never be free of this” becomes, “I AM already free! Jesus said so!”

Fight those thoughts with positive versions. When you start doing this, it will amaze you how many people walk around speaking negative things without even realizing they’re doing it. We are surrounded by it, so make your mind a safe haven from it.

The last hunger we’ll talk about is actually the one that lies at the root of all the others. It speaks of the true void… the craving within… that we are trying to appease.

In the meantime, start recognizing the words you speak over yourself and others.

speak life

The other day when I was struggling with diet mentality, I went out to the Intuitive Eating forum and read a post about a gal who was putting herself down. I don’t remember the entire conversation, but one of the other ladies posted a link to one of Joel Osteen’s talks. Now, by posting that link, I’m not advocating everything that comes out of Mr. Osteen’s pulpit (or books, or podcasts, or interviews) and I’m certainly not telling you to listen to a single thing Oprah has to say (heaven help her). However, I watched this particular video and agreed with almost everything he said on the topic of “The Power of I am”. He speaks specifically to women putting themselves down and it got me thinking specifically about the words we use.

The Bible is clear when it comes to the power of words and thoughts. It says that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Job even remarks, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” (Job 3:25 KJV) And how can we ignore Philippians 4:8? I’ve quoted this verse out here numerous times, but here it is again:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

I think so often we only associate this passage with a warning about what you watch on television, or what you read, or the music you listen to… yes, those are all important… but think about the words you say to yourself. The Word tells us to do all for the glory of God. Consider Colossians 3:17:

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Yes, God cares about our words. Someone told me about the research of Dr. Masaru Emoto concerning words, thoughts, and even music and how they affect water. Now this may seem really odd to you, but apparently his experiments have been repeated by others. It really shouldn’t surprise us that words affect us as much as they do if this is what they do to water. Here is a video clip with some of the photographs taken of water crystals after being exposed to certain words, phrases, names, music…etc. It’s rather remarkable. I see it as further proof that the words we use do matter. The words we speak over others matter. So when you think or say something about yourself, or someone else, consider what you’re doing, not just to their/your feelings, but to their physical being.

Women are notorious for berating themselves, and dieters seem to be pros at it. Let’s stop the trash talk. Instead, as the song says, “Let my words be life” (Words, by Hawk Nelson). Rather than focusing on the negative, why don’t we “Speak Life” (by Toby Mac).

One of my favorite bible studies was Beth Moore’s, Believing God. I learned so much during that journey through scripture, but the thing that has stuck with me the longest has been the Five Statement Pledge/Shield of Faith. Starting with your thumb and counting on upheld fingers as you say each phrase… it goes like this:

  1. God is who He says He is.
  2. God can do what He says He can do.
  3. I am who God says I am.
  4. I can do all things through Christ.
  5. God’s Word is alive and active in me.

Having trouble coming up with different a “I am…”? Well, why not let The I AM define you? He loves you. He cares for you.  And since I’m on a roll with music right now, I’ll add Matthew West’s song, Hello My Name Is, to the mix.

Amen!

I am the child of the One True King. I am loved. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am blessed. I am set free. I am forgiven. I am accepted. I am secure. I am redeemed. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am courageous. I am changed.

Now with hand raised and outstretched, I’ll state that pledge of faith and then praise I AM because, as I learned when I was just a little girl, “I am somebody ’cause God don’t make no junk”.

Let’s think about the words we choose. Let’s think about the words we tatoo ourselves with. Let’s release the negative and cling to the Truth. Let’s consider I AM when we define our “I am”. Ultimately, let’s speak Life.