I have a HUGE weakness for chocolate covered peanuts. I prefer Goobers, but when Goobers are unavailable, a generic box will work just the same. I think my desire for the combination of chocolate and peanuts got its start during a period of disobedience.
Growing up my mother hid medicines from us in a closet. Today, we would say this wasn’t safe, but during the 70s it worked for everything, except Ex-Lax. If you know what Ex-Lax is, you already see where my story is going.
When I was a kid, the makers of Ex-Lax provided the laxative in a chocolate flavored form. When my sister and I found a package of the “sweet” in the closet, we believed my mother was hiding the delicacy from us. Why else would it be in the closet? She did not want us to have it. So, for a brief period, probably until she found the package was missing a few of its squares, we quietly went into the closet and munched on a square of Ex-Lax almost daily. At no time did we make a connection between the change in our bathroom visits and our forbidden trips to the closet for a piece of what we thought was chocolate candy. Eventually, the box was moved from its hiding place, but the season of munching had done its job. The next visit to the candy store was a quest for any combination of chocolate and peanuts.
Daily munching on certain foods can result in an almost addictive attachment to them. I believe the same truth holds for what we daily “munch” on in our minds. The thoughts we tell ourselves on a daily basis can generate an addiction to needing more of them. Much like the impact of Ex-Lax on a couple of sneaky children, we are unlikely to see the connection between what happens in our lives and our frequent intake of these repetitive thoughts.
As a survivor, you may be involved in daily munching. What could that be?
- Are you munching on repeat reels of your abuse?
- Are you munching on words spoken to you by the abuser?
- Are you munching on the lies you’ve now embraced as if they are truths?
Just as munching on a certain food (or medicine) can have a physical impact, munching on these thoughts can have a mental, spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical impact.
Your Right Now Action
****Trigger warning: As always, I remind you in anything we share, you are first, and your care is most important. This following 3 step exercise may trigger a memory about your childhood abuse. If you are already daily munching on the experience, completing the exercise may help some, but I encourage you to seek support and help through therapy. Visit RAINN or other sites or your church leadership for resources. Only complete this Right Now Action if you feel you are ready to do so.
- Take out a piece of paper. I don’t care it is a yellow sticky note or a paper napkin.
- What is it that you find yourself munching on frequently as a survivor? What thought comes to you almost daily and you spend more than a minute-munching on it? Write this thought on the paper.
- Now rip up the paper and throw it in the trash or shred it. Remove it from your presence. And when you feel a need to munch on the thought, put a picture in your mind of how you destroyed the sheet of paper.
I hope this action step begins a path of healing activity for you. This is a small step. Get more help through counseling with a trained faith-based organization.
My prayer for you today:
Burden Bearer, you have said you will keep those, who keep their mind on Jesus, in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Sometimes our mind wanders from him and instead, we think about what happened to us and we wonder why. We need you to help us destroy these memories of pain and replace them with memories of your love and your healing, your support, and your help. We are having trouble doing it on our own. The memories come back and we can’t help munching on them. Help us to munch on healthy thoughts of true love, joy, peace, patience, longsuffering, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. All of which comes when we keep our mind on you and your son and what he did for us. We need your help.