My daughter had been asking me for days to buy brownies at the store. Since I have been making lifestyle changes, sugar is one thing I try not to keep around the house. However, it is difficult being the only person in the house trying to avoid sweets and other junk food.
So I gave in. I found the brownie mix on sale and baked them in the oven.
It’s not easy to control the rate of brownie consumption by young children. It’s about akin to holding back the tide. At the same time I was working on tempering my children’s ingestion of caffeine, sugar, and fat (in the form of gooey chocolate brownies), I was also trying to hold back a tide of my own.
I read Lysa TerKeurst’s book Made to Crave a couple of months ago and have been applying its principles to my life.
Nevertheless, brownies are a major weakness for me.
I used to think that my little food/sugar addiction was somehow holier than other people’s addictions to “hard core” drugs. Food wouldn’t make me lose my family and end up in a crack house somewhere doing desperate things to buy more drugs.
I had a wakeup call recently, though. I realized that my true addiction was to sugar and it was affecting my brain. I realized that in most circumstances if there was a package of chocolate candy around, I would eat it with no regard to the consequences. I believed that made me a true addict, and no better than someone hooked on heroin.
Here is an eye opening look at brain images that show what sugar does to the brain versus cocaine and other substances. The process in the beginning of giving up sugar was very difficult. My body craved it something fierce. After a few days of this torture, things got much easier.
I was on call this weekend for work. My phone had to be on 24 hours in case I was needed. Although I didn’t get called in to work, I was somewhat anxious about being on the ready. I was also still tired from my last trip. Having a pan of brownies and small children around all weekend was like throwing gas on a flame. I prayed a lot but still felt overwhelmed by the temptation.
I came to a point on Saturday afternoon where I realized that if I wanted to honor God by not destroying my body with sugar and fat, I would have to do away with the brownies. My son had already eaten a couple that day, but not my daughter. Therefore, I took one out of the pan and put it in a plastic bag for her. I threw the rest in the trash.
I had not been successful in resisting the temptation to give in to those brownies on Saturday; however, with that final move I ended the source of my distraction.
Regardless of this small victory, I still felt like somewhat of a failure. We went to church that night to hear a much-anticipated sermon from the book of Acts. Although the topic of the sermon was not temptation, our pastor touched on that briefly. He told us that the Bible does not instruct us to resist temptation, it instructs us to flee temptation.
There was my Aha! moment. I have been thinking all these years that if I cannot be in the same room with a pan of brownies without devouring at least half, then I am a complete failure.
I chewed on that for a while. Would it be fair to expect a recovering alcoholic to keep bottles of wine or liquor around their house for the rest of their life? Would we think that was wise? How about the traveling executive who has quit drinking? Would it be wise for him (or her) to continue to stay in hotel rooms with well-stocked minibars? I felt a huge sense of relief as I realized that I was trying to fight a battle that’s not mine to fight.
In my desire to dig a little deeper on what the Bible has to say about temptation, I found the following link today. After outlining several steps along with scriptures on dealing with temptation, there is a story about former Governor and U.S. Senator Harold Hughes and his battle with alcoholism before going into politics.
God helped him during a moment of intense battle by showing him a way out after he prayed. The same thing is available to us if we will ask Him.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
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[Image By Whitney (originally posted to Flickr as the BAKED brownie) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]