Do Old Memories Control Your Life?

We never outgrow our childhood . . . a fragrance, favorite recipe, a song immediately transports us back into that nostalgic memory.

TRUTH: We live as we believe. What we’ve been told by our family, teachers, classmates, good or bad,  sets the stage for what we believe about ourselves in later years.  It can’t be dismissed because it is who we are.  

Proverbs 23:7. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is“.  

Does a taunting memory; “you’re really stupid”, “you can’t sing”, “you’re fat!”, master us? Unfortunately it can overpower our lives. Is it something you can change? Then change it. Don’t let self-pity overtake you. If it’s not, don’t own it!  Don’t make it a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you can’t change it, (you’ll never be a singer) develop other talents. If it’s true, grieve over it if necessary, then take it to God.

Jeannie grew up in a tumultuous home – her parents were on the verge of divorcing. Chocolate, cookies and sweets calmed her inner spirit by releasing their stress-relieving endorphins. After the divorce, on her “daddy days”, her father took her to lunch, encouraging her to order whatever she wanted, assuaging his guilt over moving out. Milkshakes and desserts called her name. Her mother, now working, baked her favorite cookies on weekends, to make up for not being home after school. As long as Jeannie appeared happy, what harm could it do?  She’d lose the baby fat later. To Jeannie, it set up habits because sugar comforted “love hunger”.

As a 4-year-old, Lisa adored her father, a strict evangelical preacher.  One day she tried to climb up on his lap for a hug. He promptly sat her down, saying, “Young ladies don’t sit on men’s laps.” She never tried again.  Craving affection, she found the man of her dreams, an overly demonstrative, affectionate man. Unfortunately he was a sex addict who found love with other women. Now Lisa ate to cover her painful, lonely nights while her husband “worked.” late. Starved for love, food filled the void.

Susan was abused as a pre-teen by her uncle. She tried to tell her mother, who embarrassed, told Susan she was simply misinterpreting her uncle’s “affection” and not to criticize family. Being a “good” girl, she stuffed that secret deep inside and though it happened again, never spoke of it. She placed layer after layer of fat on her frame, thinking she had brought it upon herself. If she didn’t look attractive she concluded, it wouldn’t happen again. Food released chemicals to medicate and numb her pain.

Food addicts can’t stay away from food like alcoholics can avoid bars. It’s always in our home, on commercials, in malls, on our co-workers desks. Food addiction can only be recognized and controlled.  It’s not a matter of will power, it’s a matter of overcoming feel-good, chemical addiction. (“The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t” mentality.)

The initial step in recovery is awareness.  Although it wasn’t their fault, these women had an uphill battle to recognize truth.  Acknowledging truth allowed them to take steps in reclaiming their lives.  

Fundamental action, know yourself:

  • Get a piece of paper and write down all your POSITIVE ASPECTS in one column.
  • In the next column, write down all you DON’T LIKE about yourself.
  • In the third column, what you can’t change, pray to forgive and accept yourself, because God does.
  • And in the fourth, list all you can change
  • Begin planning positive strategies to reclaim your life and reward met goals with non-food items.

Victories are won in small steps. A marathon runner didn’t win on his first day of running. He prepared with smaller actions and simply pressed onward. Take one changeable action and begin . . . one step at a time. Remember, you’ve faced down your demons and you’re still standing!

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33


6 thoughts on “Do Old Memories Control Your Life?

  1. Yes, you are exactly right, especially in the upcoming social season. 1. Some are shyly uncomfortable, believing that if they have something in their mouth it’s a shield and no one will ask them questions. 2. Some are self conscious about what they should do with their hands and holding food is just something “to do”. 3. Food releases feel good endorphins which masks their uneasiness.

    Great thought. Thanks for picking up on that!


  2. I think sometimes we hold on to those negative beliefs about ourselves because they are easier to believe than the good things. They do not challenge us to achieve because they make us incapable or unworthy.


    • Great point. As a child, it’s so easy to be swayed to the “dark side” when one doesn’t feel he’ll ever measure up. It’s at that time when I say that “God doesn’t make junk! He made you and you’re not junk!” Learning to love oneself is an ongoing process with a delicate balance but worth the journey. Thank you so much for your thoughts!


  3. The movie, “What About Bob?,” may have been a comedy, but it wasn’t without its learning moments. The character Dr. Leo Marvin and his book parallels your post by advising the same, sensible approach: “Baby Steps” 🙂


  4. Wow, you really dipped into the archives with this old post! Thank you so much for stopping by! I haven’t seen the movie but I know which one you’re talking about. This post was one of my favorites because it brought back memories of wonderful patients who successfully stood up to their false-fed beliefs that they were “junk.”

    One of my favorite sayings is by a Franciscan monk who stated, “He has not escaped who drags his chains behind him.” Mental abuse is sometimes worse than physical. I appreciate your comment and hope you’ll stop back again.


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