“Pray for my Mom, she has a stone in her mouth.”

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by emotions or life circumstances? 

Most of us are more susceptible to eating off our food plans when we are hungry, emotional, busy or tired. And for some of us, that’s every day! 

We need a plan that helps us take our thoughts captive and battle those tempting food thoughts. We need to practice stepping outside of the overwhelm and taking our emotions to Jesus.

Today I want to share with you how I handle those crazy, stressful moments when I am face-to- face with big emotions or food temptations. This is my step-by-step way of taking thoughts captive and submitting them to God. 

We’ll use word FOCUS to guide us through.

  1. Find a quiet place

The first thing to do when you are feeling overwhelmed or agitated is to step away from the situation. Get away from the noise. Step away from the food. Change the scenery. Press pause on whatever is going on and take a few minutes to be alone.

  1. Orient yourself to the present

Often our stress comes because we let our minds run into the future or get tangled up in the past. Try orienting yourself into the present moment by using your five senses. 

Focus on what you can see around you. How many colors or shapes can you find? How many different textures can you feel? Now close your eyes. What do you hear? What can you smell? What can you taste? Try taking a drink of water or some other beverage. Focus on the temperature, taste, and smell as you drink.

Just take a minute to really be right here, right now. 

  1. Connect with your emotions

Turn your focus to your own body. Do you feel tension anywhere? Do you need to cry? Are you angry or anxious? Breathe deeply and lean into those emotions. Acknowledge them without judgement. Assess if there is anything you can do right now to make yourself more comfortable.

  1. Unburden your heart

Now that you have calmed your nervous system, take a minute to unburden your heart! Talk to God about whatever is going on for you right now. If necessary, repent. Pray for wisdom. Jesus delights in carrying our burdens. You are not an inconvenience. Getting to help you gives Him joy!

  1. Savor Christ

And finally, savor Christ. Drink in the deep love and acceptance that can only be found in Him. I encourage you to mediate on any scripture you know. Singing a worship song. Pray a prayer of gratitude and praise. Just let yourself be with Jesus.

Savoring the truth of His Word renews our hearts and our minds. If you take the time to submit your heart and thoughts to God in prayer, then scripture promises that the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

You may need to stop and FOCUS again and again. This isn’t a one and done kind of thing!

Rather it’s a daily, hourly practice that will help all of us take our thoughts captive and walk in the freedom we have in Jesus.

Do you need more help learning to FOCUS? Simply reply to this email and let me know what challenges or questions you may have that I can address in future posts. I would love for us to grow in this practice together as we all learn to savor Christ more deeply.

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“Pray for my mom, she has a stone in her mouth.” Those were the words that my 5 year old daughter told everyone.

Have you ever heard of a kidney stone? Most likely yes, but have you ever heard of a salivary gland stone? Most likely, no. Well, let me tell you about it. It’s a calcium build up in a salivary gland duct. It usually lodges itself and saliva can not pass through it and it grows larger (we all have six salivary glands so the others still do their job.) The only way I found out about it was a CT scan after continued pain under my left jaw. I was told that surgery was the only option – it has to be surgically cut out of the salivary duct and then that duct has to be rerouted – didn’t sound like fun, hence my own Google medical research!  I just knew I could make it come out without surgery; lemons, hot compress, massage, etc. After several months of pain and unsuccessful trying, I knew it was time for a doctor’s intervention.

Along with food addiction, I have a huge propensity to fear. I don’t mind pain and surgery, but I was afraid of anesthesia. What if I didn’t wake up?
The great news is that I did wake up and my stone is now nestled in a tiny specimen cup on my dresser rather than stuck in my gland.

Anesthesia went well, surgery went well, recovery will go well!

When there is an unknown circumstance or a situation beyond my control, I become very fearful and anxious. I learned as a child that I could not control anything, but my food. Food became my friend early on in my life due to family circumstances. I grew up afraid and very vulnerable. As an adult, I like control and I don’t like being vulnerable. Everything I see passes through the screen of fear first. This is not a fun way to live. I’ve read books on fear, studied God’s word, pray regularly but often find myself afraid.  I’ve learned to take my thoughts captive as God instructs. I’ve also learned to think about whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. God says if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things and He promises that His peace will be with us. (Philippians 4:8)
God has been very gracious to me in this area of fear. I can’t imagine how I would be without God’s saving grace! In this case of surgery, I was extremely afraid of anesthesia. I reached out to many of my friends to pray for me. I was very open about my fear. I decided NOT to just put on a happy face and really allowed a few trusted people in my head. For most of my life, I ate my fear (and almost every other emotion). I stuffed it way deep down with food. Not anymore – I deal with it head-on in all its ugliness.

My amazing husband knows this fearful part of me intimately and loves me unconditionally. He knows to just listen and reassure me. He prays with me. I couldn’t be more blessed.

The picture of me covering my eyes speaks volumes to me, my husband took it as I was nervously praying before surgery – it shows a woman who is learning to show emotions, it shows a little girl still in there who is afraid and needs to be nurtured, it shows a person who did NOT turn to food as a way of comfort, and it shows a person who is half the size she used to be.

I am glad to be over this and on the other side of surgery. There is pain and recovery time, but anesthesia went perfectly smooth and I will not be afraid of it again!

The bonus of the day – The anthesiologist said, “This should be a breeze with someone as healthy and fit as you.” Ha! If she only saw me 16 months ago, her words would be very different!