It was one of those rare days when I went to bed having accomplished all I wanted to accomplish during my day. I spent time with an old friend, played with my kids, read scripture, spent time in prayer, connected with my husband, cooked a healthy dinner and walked/jogged over three miles. I felt healthy, happy and connected to God and his purpose for me.
When I gave up sweets for Lent, I lost 9 lbs. After a few days of serious withdraws, it was smooth sailing. I didn’t crave sweets anymore, and I naturally started making healthier food choices. My head felt clearer, my body lighter and my spirit edified.
Yesterday I had a talk with Ava about spiritual growth. We discussed how once you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, it is our responsibility to nurture the spiritual man in order to experience spiritual growth. We talked about the fruit of the Spirit being evidence of that growth. We pulled out a list of the fruits of the Spirit and I asked her to mark the three she felt she needed to work on developing with the help of God. #1? Self-control.
Join the club, sister.
Last year I was talking with my pastor-brother about how I struggle with discipline. His response was basically something along these lines….. “Rachael, the root of the majority of our problems is lack of discipline and self-control. Join the club.”
I think of Paul’s words to the Romans…..
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate……. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members…..”
I highly recommend studying Romans chapter 7.
So, here I am, making a declaration. I know that my works do not save me, as I know that my righteousness is as filthy rags before a holy Savior. However, I also know that there is something powerful in denying the flesh and feeding the spiritual man.
I am cutting out sweets and soda for the remainder of the year as a small part of my plan to deny my flesh and feed my spirit.
I am doing this for many reasons. I am a sugar-addict. I want to be healthier and I want my family to be healthier. Cutting out sweets has proven to radically change my diet for the better. Cancer and heart disease run in my family. Diabetes runs in Jimmie’s family. I am reading more and more about the long-term dangers of drinking soda. My friend just had a baby and is attempting to lose the extra baby weight and I want to be supportive.
Mostly, I am doing this to deny my flesh, making room for my spiritual man to grow. Through prayer and fasting, I want to be an example to my daughter of what the fruit of self-control looks like when developed. I fear I have been a poor example to her.
So far I have five other adults joining me.
I am making a little wiggle room, in order to remain flexible. I will allow myself one day a month to eat sweets if I so desire, mainly for the purpose of enjoying holidays (4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas). I will occasionally use sugar in my coffee, I will allow myself to occasionally eat Nutella and syrup on my pancakes and I will use honey to sweeten smoothies and such on occasion. Otherwise, no soda, cookies, candy, cakes, shakes, pies, ice-cream (yikes!), cupcakes, and anything else obviously considered to be dessert.
Does anyone want to join me? Maybe for you giving up sweets wouldn’t be difficult or meaningful. Maybe it is television, social media time, potato chips, smoking, alcohol, inactivity, or something else entirely. But maybe you feel a nudge to deny the flesh and feed the spirit? I would love to have others on this journey with me.
Even if you don’t join, would you mind sharing what you would give up IF you participated? I think it would be a positive activity for me and all of my readers to identify some of the areas in our lives where we lack self-control.
And forgive me in advance if you cross my path in the next week or two. This fast starts tomorrow.