Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Chocolate Chips and Self Control

Went to vespers. Heard about self control (for the 173rd time). Came home. Made chocolate souffle in the microwave. With lots of chocolate chips. Ate souffle.

That seems to be the story of my life. I filter every spiritual exhortation I hear through the first years of our lives here. Extended prayer time for academy kids from 6:30 pm to midnight? Why is there a need to pray til midnight? It's neither healthy nor necessary. Praising someone because they didn't eat supper at a restaurant that didn't serve vegan food and then became vegan because of it? Being vegan won't bring you into heaven any faster. And what kind of restaurant doesn't have at least one dish that is vegan? Directing everyone to share in groups of two their experiences with self control and to ask for prayer for needed self control? Those kinds of prayer sessions tend to encourage people to share things that should be shared only with a counselor or to elaborate on their sins so their struggles sound more impressive.

I work with a health education program. I have lost count of the number of times I think in my head, "I bet they're looking at me and wondering how come she works with this program when she's overweight. They probably think I have no self control." I guess the beginning paragraph would justify their reasoning. On the other hand, I'm not alone. The difference lies in how we approach it.

Some of our graduates leave and continue on their personal healthy journey. Others find themselves back where they first started and struggle to recapture the excitement of building endurance and losing pounds. The story returns, however, to "I stopped eating this food" and "I started doing that exercise" and the Originator of self control is forgotten. It becomes a contest to see who can produce the best results while the heart change goes unnoticed.

This is where I am encouraged. Twelve years ago I attended a Stephen Arterburn seminar on emotional healing. I came home and inscribed on a rock a symbolic "I choose to heal." As I reflect back on where I was then and who I am today, I believe that I have been true to the process. I am not perfect. I feel that I may be more aware of my flaws now at 34 than I was then at 22. Perhaps that is how it goes. Regardless, I am thankful to God for His persistent love and determination to show me Grace.

I haven't got a handle of self control yet. I'm learning how to surrender and allow the Holy Spirit to fight my battles (a very difficult thing to learn). I am not disheartened though. To struggle is a sign of life. I take courage in the promise in 2 Timothy 1:7 that "God has. .given us a spirit. . .of power, love, and self-discipline." Self control is not within me; God gives it to me. The spirit of self-discipline comes with power; it is effective. The spirit of self-discipline also comes with love; God is reflected in its action.

I wonder if Jesus would have shared that souffle with me, like my mom did tonight, savouring every bite while treasuring the connection in time as I worked through my confusion and she patiently listened. Or would He have stood there, finger pointing, telling me that it was too late to eat, I'd already had supper, chocolate has caffeine in it, and white sugar/oil/white flour are bad for my arteries. I don't know. I don't want to presume upon His presence or disrespect Him in anyway. I do want to know, though, that He is a God of unfathomable understanding, deep compassion, and expansive love. Somehow it seems that I would sense that most if He was sitting across from me, spoon in hand, slowly eating souffle stuffed with melting chocolate chips while I reached out. And my heart melted. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share a thought or two. . .