June 18, 2020

Don’t Get Trapped

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers used Krispy Kreme doughnuts to lure a juvenile bear, about 18 months old and weighing 250 pounds, that had been wandering around Fort Myers.

Treats won out over tranquilizers because drugs don’t work immediately, and wildlife officers didn’t want to risk having the young bear darting into traffic. The male was captured and released onto a preserve.1

Ambushed by Appetite

During this coronavirus pandemic, many people have begun to overeat by snacking too much. It’s easy to do. People confined to their homes—cut off from daily communication, activities, and relationships with others, combined with increased fear, anxiety, and sometimes just boredom—have used appetite to manage their feelings. But there are healthier, more appropriate ways of managing our feelings.

The Bible has a lot to say about overeating. Some examples:

“If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat” (Prov. 23:2).2

“Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” (Prov. 25:16).

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

How to Not “Eat Your Feelings”

A four-pronged strategy involves reaching out instead of focusing in. Most people who deal with anxiety, fear, stress, or the unknown for a long period of time, tend to “turtle”—basically retreat into their emotional shells and cut out crucial and healthy relationships. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah insightfully warned: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jer. 17:9). So, when this begins to happen, force yourself to reach out and connect. Don’t wait until you feel like it—it’s likely that you won’t. Just do it!

So, connect with whom?

God. Talk to God through prayer, journaling, and Bible study. He’s a great listener. He can handle whatever’s in our hearts. Just start talking; you’ll feel better. The apostle Paul promised this prescription for peace: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6, 7).

Yourself. Self-talk is a valuable and important discipline to learn and practice. We tell ourselves numerous things throughout the day. Being more mindful about how we feel about what’s happening to us and around us and how we feel about it is essential. Learn to monitor, stop, examine, and replace unhealthy, unrealistic, and toxic thoughts and beliefs with healthier thoughts and beliefs.

We have many examples of this in the Bible, but a key instance is David. While running for his life from King Saul, he was emotionally, spiritually, and physically weary. He said to himself, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Ps. 43:5).

Others. Connecting with others on a regular basis is healthy and takes the focus off ourselves. It’s amazing how sending a quick text, handwritten note, letter, e-mail—or actually calling someone—helps us feel better.

The wise man gave this sage advice: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Eccl. 4:12).

Nature. Get outside and get some fresh air, sunlight, and exercise. Exposure to nature—no matter how slight—helps us remain balanced in our thinking and feeling. Enjoying God’s nature always pays benefits. Make sure to get your vitamin “N” every day.

Bring Your Balance Back

During this difficult time, it’s easy for our appetites to get out of control. But with God’s help we can get our lives under control and not be ambushed by our appetites.

It’s all right to enjoy a doughnut from time to time. But if you see one in a cage, leave it!

Omar Miranda is a counselor and freelance journalist. He writes from Plainville, Georgia.

1 www.orlandosentinel.com/news/florida/os-ne-officers-use-krispy-kreme-doughnuts-to-lure-wayward-florida-bear-20200527-6tyn6jtw35garfq4kacsv77lje-story.html, accessed June 2, 2020.

2 Scripture quotations in this article are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.