As you probably know if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I was surprised to find my own inner numbing avoider completely upended by what you selected for me to write about this New Year. Yep, your overwhelming response to my poll on what to cover was numbing behaviors (e.g. overeating, binge watching television, over spending), anything that assists our tendency to numb ourselves and avoid dealing with hard situations or painful feelings.
The thing is, I sent the poll out right around Thanksgiving. And as we all know too well, if ever there's a time for numbing behaviors to start kicking in, the holiday season is IT.
So your desire to tackle these seemingly comforting-but-not-really-comforting numbing behaviors forced me to take a look at myself in the midst of a slow descent into full on holiday numbing oblivion. And while initially, that was the last thing the avoidant part of me wanted to do, honestly, I owe you a great big THANK YOU, because your desire to grow helped me take a You-turn and catch myself with God's help. So here we go!
Here's the list of 7 common numbing behaviors:
- over-eating (or eating to numb feelings)
- escaping through entertainment and social media
- over-functioning (by this I mean using your "high-functioning" skills such as cleaning, exercising, hosting, cooking, or task managing as a way to escape dealing with uncomfortable emotions - yes, even "good things" can become escape hatches!)
- excessive daydreaming, fantasizing, and 'what-iffing'
- addictive and self-harming behaviors
- lashing out (you know that emotional reactivity that feels so good in the moment? It's actually keeping you from facing your deeper emotions.)
A couple of important things to remember as we head into this next series (see Genesis 1-2):
You were designed to experience pleasure and enjoyment.
You were designed for rest and restoration.
You were designed to receive comfort and support.
When we numb ourselves, we actually deny ourselves the enjoyment, restoration, and true comfort we need.
Comfort is a deeply Biblical idea and is woven into the very essence of God's character. Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as a "Comforter" who will console his followers after his departure (John 14:1-6; 16-18), and Paul refers to God as the "God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
We all need a soft place to land when we're hurting or overworked.
So this next series is not about becoming machines of self-denial. This series is actually about learning to care for ourselves WELL. It's about learning how to find true comfort when we need it. It's about discovering more of the life-giving pleasures God created us to enjoy. And it's about re-directing our numbing impulses toward the deep-down balm of relief our souls really crave.
I can't wait to do this right along with you!