This week in our online Bible study, we were asked, "Is there something God is asking you to give up? What specific steps do you need to take to fulfill this obedience?"
While it feels and seems silly to me, I struggle immensely with sugar. Sweet, delicious, wonderful sugar. What is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable treat is something I am truly addicted to. As I tend to eat quite a bit of sugar on a regular basis, I do feel physically and mentally dependent on it. If it has been a few hours since consuming some sugar, I "crash" and feel irritable and jittery. This in turn makes me want more sugary substances, and I become consumed with acquiring it. Examples:
- Cookies brought to our office by a patient - My focus on the tasks at hand becomes disrupted as my brain shifts to an immense desire to go eat the cookies. Sadly, the desire is not to just have one, but all of them - even at the expense of not leaving any for others.
- Spending time with friends and family - Many people enjoy having treats around their home, as they have some level of self-control. When I go to visit, if I detect any sweets, my focus shifts from enjoying the company to getting some (ok, all!) of treats. After I eat all the treats, I am miserable and feel both mentally and physically ill, and my focus is still not on the great company!
Instead of appreciating the kindness of a patient, enjoying time with friends and family, or enjoying any other experiences, I lose out on this precious time because I am consumed with filling my body with a chemical that is destructive. I am also not being obedient to what God is asking me to do, as when I do not feel well I do not serve Him well.
The worst part, however is that this is a sin - gluttony.
All throughout grad school, we were taught all the negative effects processed sugars have on the body:
And yet I continue to consume this horrible substance in mass quantities. We also learned the physiology behind the effects of sugar and negative effects:
This chart reminds me of a chart of anything that can become an idol (defined by Priscilla Shirer as anything in the visible, created realm that begins to operate in a role that should be reserved for God) in our lives. We start with something in this world that gives us pleasure and happiness due to increased serotonin and endorphins. When we are without it for an amount of time, we begin to go through withdrawals. In order to combat the withdrawals, we seek out more of it to give ourselves that sense of satisfaction again. We may call them obsessions or bad habits; however, they are still idols! For me, sugary treats give me comfort and pleasure when I am stressed or lonely. Unfortunately, God should be the One we turn to when we are stressed, lonely, or struggling with temptation.
I have no doubt that giving up sugar is something God wants me to do for my health and for my happiness. While He may not require I give it up forever, I know He does want me to give it up for a season. I have felt this urging in my heart for a long time now, but while reading "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" I realized it is something I must do NOW, if I want to truly be obedient to Him! In order to become obedient, I have several "steps" I am taking:
- Surrounding myself with scripture - This is the best tool EVER! Some scriptures I have committed to memory and have posted all around my apartment and at the office include:
- 1 Thessalonians 4:4 - "Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God." (MSG)
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - "Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body." (MSG)
- Here are some other great self-control scriptures!
- Prayer - Praying for help and strength is crucial to any success in life. I have let God know I am ready for this mission, and will seek Him constantly for strength.
- Friends and family - I have let them know of my goals and my mission, and I am so blessed that they are more than happy to help!
- Food - I am only keeping healthy foods in my apartment, and I have enlisted the help of my mom to go to the grocery store with me so I am not tempted to purchase sugary treats.
- Practicing mindful eating - Taking the time to thank the Lord for the good food he has blessed me with, and slowing down to truly enjoy what I am eating.
- Sleep - I know adequate sleep is essential to feeling my best so I have the strength to make good choices. When I want to stay up late, I must remember my commitment to obedience and hit the hay!
- Exercise - Raising the endorphins without sugar! When I exercise, I feel better, and less prone to eating sugar.
- List of health benefits - I have a list (via Evernote, this is a great app that keeps me super organized, and you can access it via phone, computer, or tablet) that I reference when I am feeling a craving coming on. It is a list of the benefits of not eating sugar - strengthened immunity, better skin, more energy, hormonal balance, etc.
I truly hope I can combat this demon, and give all the glory to God. I know through His strength and help, I can do anything! :) I pray you have strength in whatever struggles you are facing too! Thank you for reading about my "silly" addiction, and God bless!!! :)