Are Your Cravings Feeding Your Fear Monster?
It’s not unusual to have food cravings when you’re pregnant. Pickles and ice cream were not what I craved with I was expecting my first baby. Nor did I crave Cheetos dipped in yogurt, spoonfuls of peanut butter topped with hot sauce, or sand – that’s the strangest pregnancy craving I heard of by far!
What I craved: turkey, bacon, cheese, and avocado all piled high on a croissant. I yearned for these croissants so much they had me wanting to get back to work on Monday. You see, the sandwich shop on the ground floor of the office building I worked in at the time prepared a most delicious turkey, bacon, cheese, and avocado croissant. I think I consumed one nearly every work day, even though lunching out didn’t exactly fit into our budget at the time!
Pregnant women are not the only ones who have cravings. Did you know that your food cravings can be a sign that you are in need of certain nutrients? It’s true! For example, craving red meat may mean you have an iron deficiency. Yearning for popcorn can mean that your stress hormones are fluctuating. Your hankering for a fizzy drink might mean you’re deficient in calcium. Curious what craving burned foods or laundry starch might mean? You can find out here.
While food cravings can be quite intense, there are cravings you and I experience that are far stronger than any food craving! Deep, deep desires that drive our way of thinking, choices, and actions!
Which of these do you crave?
In an effort to get what you crave, you will respond in ways that ultimately keep you from getting the very thing you long for! That’s when you know that your Fear Monster is on the loose!
Let me share with you how this plays out for me…
I crave Significance, to Be Known, and Recognition. When I know deep down that I am significant to God – that I am relentlessly loved and that He is for me, that He knows me better than anyone, even my husband, and that He recognizes me as His and wildly valuable to Him, I am able to walk with confidence in who He created me to be: Loving.
On the flip side, when I am striving to be significant in my own power, and looking to others to know and understand me or offer me recognition, it will cause me to walk in fear. It will exaggerate the feeling that I don’t matter – that’s my fear monster – and prevent me from experiencing what I crave!
Let’s get a bit more specific and personal. Here’s just one way this has played out for me. I want to feel like I am cherished by and important to my husband. Because this is something I deeply long for, any time I feel unimportant, not valued, or like I don’t matter, I react. I might say something unproductive, or shut down. My reaction will always trigger my husband’s Fear Monster and the craziness begins.
It’s a whole different story when my focus is on being who God created me to be: Loving. When I respond to my husband in this way, even if he’s reacting, the likelihood that I will feel significant soars! Remember, being loving doesn’t mean that I just take the bad behavior, it means that I communicate the truth in love.
So what difference does it make whether I am leaning into who God created me to be or letting my Fear Monster be my guide? It makes a huge difference! One leads to peace joy, freedom, and fulfillment. The other leads to stress, striving, sadness, and ensures that my cravings will continue to be unmet.
Your cravings may be very different from mine. Maybe you crave Security, Peace, and Worth. When you are looking to Him to meet your cravings, you will be able to operate out of who God created you to be: Compassionate, Courageous, Authentic, etc.
However, if you expect others to provide you with a sense of Security, Peace, and Worth (or whatever you crave) you will inevitably get whatever you fear most: not being enough, not mattering, being incompetent, etc. Your Fear Monster will go into overdrive creating stress, undermining your confidence, producing disappointment, not to mention doing a real number on your relationships! Who wants that?
Becoming aware of the potential “loops” is the beginning of a valuable awareness. Perhaps you’ve experienced the Fear Loop or the Freedom Loop!
Unfortunately, your Fear Monster doesn’t just show up at home. It follows you around. It’s alive and well at work and it has the potential to keep you from performing at your best!
Consider these examples:
You crave peace – conflict is NOT your thing! Your fear of appearing weak (or stupid, or selfish, or…) causes you to avoid initiating a conversation to resolve an issue. You hope it will go away or resolve itself, except that it doesn’t and it blows up into an even bigger conflict.
You crave approval – you want everyone to like you so you let your people get away with being late to meetings and missing deadlines. Your attempts to gain approval end up triggering your Fear Monster of being incompetent when your boss is unhappy that your team is not meeting their goals.
You crave security so you tend to play it safe when it comes to your business. In order for your business to succeed, you will need to take some uncomfortable risks. That’s even more of a challenge when you feel like you aren’t enough (or you are a loser, or incompetent, etc.) so you don’t take the risks necessary for your business to succeed. Now because your business is struggling, your financial security is threatened and you are convinced you aren’t enough!
Bypassing the fear loop has profound benefits for you personally and professionally. It’s worth investigating! And with your new awareness, you can begin to notice the sneaky ways that fear is dictating your beliefs, actions, and choices.
How are your cravings feeding your Fear Monster? What might be possible if you were operating in the Freedom Loop?
Tired of fear having the upper hand in your life? Let’s unravel it together so you can experience more freedom in your life personally and professionally.