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  • Melinda K. Bowens

When my emotional eyes are bigger than my belly...

#BreakingTheCycle: When my emotional eyes are bigger than my belly…

That title was a little long, but it worked. Plus, I may or may not be a self-proclaimed foodie (I literally always have snacks), so it certainly fit my personality. But I digress.

When I was in grad school (and even sometimes now), I had this thing about going home for a weekend and eating pretty much everything my mom had cooked in the house. I would essentially walk through the door, say hey and head directly to oven or refrigerator to see what was available. It’s not that I was starving or couldn’t cook for myself, my mom’s food was just always better to me. And free, free always taste better when you’re in college!

So, like any other trip home, one day I am raiding my mom’s kitchen. And this time I really hit the jackpot. She had all my favorites; mac and cheese, corn bread, greens, and things fried in a cast iron skillet. She essentially had cooked very delicious thing in the book that could take 10 years off my life expectancy. I then proceed to heat it and eat it all. Not all the options, literally all of the food. I emptied and cleaned every single container (I regret nothing, by the way). I ate until I feel asleep; plate still in hand’s reach and all. I may have had no regrets about this meal, but my body told a different story. If you remember Violet (the blueberry girl) from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, in my mind that’s how I looked. I had simply over done it.


Did I need to eat? Absolutely. Did I need to eat that much at one time? Probably not. My eyes were bigger than my belly. I just saw a bunch of things I liked and went for them all at one time. But going for it all at one time is something that we find ourselves doing way more often than we realize sometimes; even when we’re going after a bunch of good things at one time.

And sometimes our emotional eyes are bigger than our capacities. We see all the emotionally healthy things we need to do, we try to do them all in one week and then experience serious burnout because we overwhelmed our capacities. Then we start to experience those thoughts of failure, self-doubt and fear of trying again. But our error wasn’t in the trying, it was in the trying to do it all at once.


I heard an illustration months ago that compared forgiveness to the debt snowball effect of the Dave Ramsey financial plan. In short, the idea behind the debt snowball is that if we’re trying to pay off debts, we would start with the smallest one and pay it off in full first. Then we take that money we were paying on that debt and apply it to the next smallest debt until it is paid in full as well; so on and so on until we reach our biggest debt.

The illustration added that we could do the same thing with the debts in our hearts. We could start with forgiving the smallest offense in our lives, like maybe the rude customer service agent from this morning, and then snowball that forgiving energy into bigger and bigger debts. Ideally, building up momentum to forgive and heal what we consider the biggest offense of our lives.

So, do we need to forgive every offense in our lives? Yep (Proverbs 19:11, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13). But we have to remember that we are still being made perfect every day, so imperfections will happen (Philippians 1:6).


Chat with God


When do you find your emotional eyes being bigger than your capacity?


What is it about those times that are overwhelming?


What is your one sentence prayer in this situation?


Please invite a friend to this series who you think would like to join this journey! Click here!

Get information about my new book here!

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