“Grow up! Let go of the baby bottles and pacifiers and grow up. You do not have to be ruled by your feelings, you CAN live your life without getting your way all the time. When you grow in maturity nobody can steal your peace.”
– Joyce Meyer
I’ll confess, I LOVE me some Joyce Meyer.
I often have Joyce (first name basis here) on in the morning before my kids get up. I like to make coffee and listen to her gruff, tell-it-like-it-is voice speak into my morning like a sassy pep talk from a favored old aunt. My friends have often teased me about my love for her because tele-evangelists have a shady track record…but every time I listen to her I learn something good.
When I heard her shout this gem at me this morning, it literally stopped me in my tracks.
Hit me right between the eyes.
It really is THAT simple isn’t it?
My battle with disordered, compulsive binge eating has been examined in every way. I’ve unwrapped it and spread out its contents. I have flipped it over upside down and on its sides. I’ve folded it inside out. I’ve exposed every dark, dirty and shameful corner…all in hopes of finding some secret golden nugget of wisdom that would unlock this whole thing and set me free.
I’ve realized this morning what is so painfully obvious:
I’ve been acting like a big baby.
A baby is soothed with milk, pacifiers and swaddled bouncing when they scream and cry. We frantically change diapers and clothes if need be to assure our baby is warm and kept in dry, milky comfort. When they are newborn we jump into action to meet these needs diligently as needed for their survival. Every little squeak and squawk is tended to and fussed over.
Eventually we learn to create an appropriate balance. A feeding schedule and sleeping schedule is necessary. We learn to let the baby “cry it out” when they’re old enough so that it doesn’t learn to demand and command whatever it wants with screaming and fit throwing. (I know lots of moms who care for their babies in LOTS of different ways so there might be some who disagree with my methods here, but for now just go with it.)
If I apply this same thing to my own life it’s very telling. I’ve relied on (if not demanded!) food and eating to sooth my feelings. I’ve learned bad habits to quiet my anxieties and PACIFY me for awhile. But the time has come to grow up…and relearn how to live without my dependencies like a big girl. I’ve just HAD ENOUGH of it running and ruining my life. No one likes a cranky, spoiled baby.
When the time came to let my first born baby boy (pictured above) “cry it out” I knew I had to do it but it was agonizing that first night. I wanted to go in and pick him up but each time I did, it only taught him to scream harder and longer until I gave in. I knew logically that he wasn’t hungry, I knew he was dry and I knew he was safe. I would peek on him every 10 minutes or so to be sure and I would keep telling myself, “he is fed, dry and safe.” After about an hour he finally gave up and fell asleep. I peeked at him one last time, covered him up and with a heart full of relief and gratitude went to bed next to my husband and actually slept. 8 weeks old and he has been sleeping through the night ever since except for the occasional bout with sickness or whatever, but you get the idea.
I’m not saying that my struggle with food isn’t serious, obviously it’s a big deal that many women suffer from in different ways. I know I’m not alone. This is a painful and complicated road we’re on.
But this morning I’m feeling the call to a new level of spiritual maturity.
Maybe, despite how hard it will be and how loud my feelings scream at me…it’s just time to cry it out and tell myself I’m fed, dry and safe?