Once I was driving home after a long day at a Ministry Leadership conference. Although I’d had a wonderful time, I was tired and wired at the same time.
Have you ever felt that way?
Suddenly, thoughts of getting a sweet muffin from our neighborhood coffee shop flashed into my mind.
I imagined using the sweet as a reward, to do something “special” for myself, and as a way to relax.
Where did this emotional connection to sweets come from?
In this article, let’s examine how we can come to use sugar as an emotional pain killer:
Where Sugar Addiction Can Start
My mother worked a lot as a single mom. Before she would leave me with the sitter, she always gave me candy money.
I missed my mother and I was lonely. Eating the candy made me feel better.
Recently, I read about a study that demonstrated why the sugar worked.
Dr. Elliot Blass of Cornell University found that when sugar water was given to newborns, their crying time decreased from 40 percent to 3 percent.
He determined that sugar activates pain-killing receptors in our brains via the Dopamine Reward Pathway (DRP).
So my desire to reach for sugar to make myself feel better had a biological component as well as an emotional one.
God’s Promises for Healing
Now when I was a child, I did not know that I was medicating myself against emotional pain or discomfort.
I have a choice now as to what to do when uncomfortable feelings occur. I don’t have to eat my feelings.
In Psalm 147:3, God’s word promises:
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.”
When I was struggling to overcome emotional eating when I was 240 pounds, I had to make a choice:
I could continue to use sugar to eat my feelings – or have courage to feel them, leaning into God and trust Him for the strength to get through.
If I made the second choice, I could come to know God’s nature as my Jehovah Rapha…my Healer.
That second choice speaks to the essence of eternal life. In John 17:3, Jesus said:
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Is it possible that our emotional struggles could be an opportunity to know God better through our journey of healing day by day?
Meeting your Real Needs
Now back to my drive…what choice did I make on my drive home?
I decided not to stop for the muffin. I asked God for wisdom for what to do instead.
I know God could show me my real need.
Although the muffin would have medicated me, it wouldn’t have addressed my real need, only smothered it.
I didn’t want sugar hijacking my brain like it once did!
My real need was to simply rest and de-stress.
So I decided to go home, take off my bra and shoes, put on some comfortable clothes, and take a nap.
That’s what I did! Giving myself permission not to do any work and take a nap made me feel special.
Here’s the truth: Each of us must remind ourselves about our life priorities each day.
Otherwise, it is too easy to lose focus and get off-track.
So many of our mood swings and depression occurs because the enemy takes advantage of biochemical imbalances in our brains.
However, when we eat to maintain emotional stability, we can shut that door in the enemy’s face!
In that way, we can finally start living the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
We can fulfill our purpose and show up alert and engaged for those we love most.
Be blessed in health, healing and wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with eating too much sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my journey to losing 85 pounds and dropping from a size 22 to a size 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge (inside the the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss success.