Have you ever had a plan and then God literally thwarted your plan. Not like angels visiting but that little small voice that tells you, no do this instead. This is a post that I truly would never think of sharing but I've come to believe if it's crazy it's not from me. So I obey.
I read this verse in Songs of Solomon in August and it just stood out to me. I did a quick self analysis and thought yep no foxes. Honestly I just thought it was interesting but I just highlighted it and then moved on.
Fast forward to last Sunday and a message was brought that said to catch the foxes, don't let them ruin your testimony. Once this fox has destroyed you it will destroy your family (this is a rough summary). I truly felt like that message was for me. Then this Sunday, a message was brought asking where do you turn daily? Are you turning to me? Only I can satisfy. Both of these messages completely convicted me.
I knew I had a fox to deal with. A fox that only I knew about.
Foxes are little compromises with the world. Disobedience to the still small voice in little things. They are little indulgences of the flesh. Foxes in the life of a Christian hinder fruitfulness for God.
My fox is tied to my anxiety and depression. Not the kind of anxiety where you're worrisome. It's more like fear of the unknown and it comes on out of no where and almost paralyzes me.
I have a problem with anxiety. I never realized it until recently but I've had it since I was a young girl. It manifests itself in different ways. When I was little I'd hyperventilate if I became too anxious. I outgrew that but if I was anxious I had raw lips because I just constantly licked them. Chap Stick was my constant companion. It wasn't until I was probably 23 and managing a retail store on Black Friday that I tied my anxiety together with my chapped lips.
My other way of dealing with anxiety was eating sweets. As a young girl, I remember my mom bought Twinkies, Nutter Butters and Swiss Rolls as snacks for us. We were told that they had to last so we could only have one a day. I would trade doing chores for my sister for her daily ration. As a kid, due to circumstances beyond my control, I lived with a lot of anxiety...fear of the unknown...the complete opposite of peace.
I continued this habit into my young adult life. I can remember eating an entire box of Twinkies one day, in one sitting. I truly didn't think it was weird. I was "hungry", I deserved it, I worked hard today...sound like familiar excuses. At one point I was a full time college student with a 5 year old and a 4 month old. Then there was the divorce...I won't bore you with the details but I turned to sweets EVERY TIME!
Move on to just recently and postpartum depression. Yes it's a real thing and I've had it with each of my children. My sweets of choice: brownies, ice cream, french fries and a Coke, oh and buttery pancakes with peanut butter. I was nursing after all I needed the calories. Yes I lied to myself to justify it. Well after weaning my daughter, I literally put on 20 pounds. Menopause and a slower metabolism, yes this was my excuse this time.
In August of this year, God started dealing with me and opening my eyes to my problem with sweets. At first, I thought it was a weight issue so I started watching what I was eating. However if I was stressed or anxious I'd revert to my old habits. When I failed, I'd get depressed and eat MORE! I truly didn't understand what I was doing, my brain was saying I was hungry or empty...nope not true.
In September, shortly before I started this blog, I had the ah-ha moment and truly listened to understand what God was telling me. He wanted me to look to him when I'm anxious and pray for self-control. As recent as this past week I have been writing down my triggers, taking extra time to pray and with God's help I made a plan for when I'm feeling anxious. My toughest time is after lunch, this is when I'd eat like a crazy person. So I started walking and listening to a podcast or audible book. It hasn't been easy. My poor daughter asked me to serve her ice cream and I had to tell her no. I can't have even one spoonful. At this moment, I do not have the self discipline to stop. But God!
God is taking me on a journey of discovery. A journey of seeing that I am made for more than eating sweets when I'm anxious. A journey of healing from childhood hurts, young adult choices, and seasons of grief. But best of all he's taking me on a journey of wholeness. See my foxes were destroying me physically and emotionally. I was depressed because I didn't have clothes so I'd eat...it was a vicious cycle.
I'm not where I need to be yet. It's taken me my entire life to live in this horrible cycle, it's going to take time to retrain my brain. But God!
This is not a story I had planned on sharing this early in my blogging journey. But I know there is someone who is going to read this and they will see themselves. I want you to know that anxiety is real and depression is real. But we don't have to be held captive by them. Through Jesus we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). God tore the veil for this exact moment.
Maybe you don't struggle with eating when you're anxious, maybe it's shopping, maybe it's binge watching TV or maybe it's sleeping to escape. None of these are terrible things but when we turn to these things instead of our Creator, we are being prideful and saying we can do it on our own. My second son tries to solve his problems on his own and it truly frustrates me and I feel like he doesn't trust that I can help him. I wonder how God feels when I turn to sweets instead of him to help me.
What is your fox that is trying to ruin your vineyard?
I'm praying for you. God sees you and knows how you're feeling. Turn to him.