Yesterday I talked about living with purpose – and the importance in making sure each step, each bite and each decision leads you to where you want to go. Taking the RIGHT steps also means avoiding the WRONG ones.
My pastor just was talking about Eve being tempted in the garden. As many times as I have read that and heard that story, I never realized 2 very powerful life-changing points. One, she was CLOSE to the one thing she was supposed to avoid. Why was she even hanging out around the tree that she was forbidden to eat from? Stupid right? Yet, we hang out with friends who are a horrible influence on us, and visit restaurants we have no business being around while dieting too.
Two, she was TALKING ABOUT the forbidden fruit. How ridiculous is that?! If we have issues with sweets, let’s say, should we go down the cookie and candy aisle? Should we really put our brain, and taste buds, through the torture of talking about it? The same way Eve should not have allowed herself to have a long conversation with Satan about whether she should eat the forbidden fruit or not, we too should avoid tempting conversation (EVEN WITH OURSELF) about things that are off limits. Trust me, just like Eve did, you can easily begin to doubt your beliefs, justify your actions, and before you know it, you have messed up.
Anything that is standing in the way of you being your best, and becoming the person God called you to be, has no place in your life – not now, maybe not ever.
Here are 4 Tips to Protecting Yourself From Your Greatest Temptations:
1. Know your weakness. Charles Stanley said, “One of the important things about temptation is, if I’m going to deal with it I’m going to have to recognize, this is an area of weakness in my life. I have been tempted here before and before and before.” You can’t possibly protect yourself from something you think is not an issue for you. Ironically, one of the hardest steps for addicts is to admit they are powerless over their addiction. They think they are making the choice, or there is a reason they do it. It’s not until they completely surrender and admit they are powerLESS, that they can become powerFUL!
2. Be willing to let go (for good). Some people can eat pizza occasionally and keep their weight off. Others can’t. If you are truly obsessed with food, you may need to treat it as a true addiction. Your whole thought process may not just need to change for a period (like while you are dieting), but forever. There are plenty of people who do cocaine and never get addicted. In the same way, you must know what you can and cannot handle. If you have dieted before, but gained the weight back, it’s likely that you simply set aside your addiction for later, instead of laying it down for good.
Be willing to let go of the things that are ruining you – not just for a period, but be WILLING to let go of them for life (if that’s what it takes). Anything that is standing in the way of you being your best, and becoming the person God called you to be, has no place in your life – not now, maybe not ever. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can never have it again, but letting go completely (and being OK if you never have it again , knowing you are trading it for SO MUCH MORE) is the first step toward a permanent change. Letting it go doesn’t just set it free, it sets YOU free.
3. Focus on what you are gaining, not what you are losing. So many people are SO busy focusing on what they are giving up, that they never truly realize what they are trading it in for. Is the freedom to order whatever you want at your favorite restaurant REALLY that much more important than losing weight, being fit and healthy, and feeling good about yourself? Your issue may not be the food itself, but giving up the “right” or “freedom” of doing what you want. Either way, the reality is most people are miserable when they are overweight and out of shape. They are insecure, depressed, restricted, physically uncomfortable, unattractive feeling, weak, out of shape, sick and tired. That is what poor decisions cost us. Personally, I can’t even think about what I want, or what I’m giving up. I just have to focus on what I’m GETTING – and it trumps my favorite treat any day.
4. Run from temptation. Not only should we not be around it, we have to physically and mentally work on getting the obsession of food out of our mind. I believe a lot of us struggle with things more than we should because we LET ourself fixate on it. We think about it, dream about it, talk about it and make future plans with it. When we diet, we even SEARCH for ways to still get it. Whether we look for the newest latest low-fat, gluten-free, paleo version of it, or whatever, we are still allowing our obsession to live with us.
Let’s think of it this way. Pretend it’s something that is SERIOUSLY WAY off limits – like another man or woman, an illegal drug, or breaking the law. We know to run from those things. We know not to focus on them. We know to push those thoughts out of our head as soon as they pop up. However, food can be just as dangerous if we LET those thoughts stay and take residence in our mind. They set up camp, they bring all their friends and, before you know it, they are ruling your body. If you want to really cut ties with your “drug of choice”, then you need to go to extreme measures to sever ties completely. With a drug addict, that means changing phones, blocking calls, deleting phone numbers, joining a support group, arranging people to hold you accountable daily, ending unhealthy friendships, changing your circle of friends, avoiding certain places, etc. AND, even if you do most of those things, if you don’t do it all you are still leaving an opening for failure. Are you running from temptation, only to leave a forwarding address so it can find you later?
- What is your weakness? Let’s get specific today. What is the one thing (or things) you could not imagine giving up forever?
- Would you be willing to live without ______________ for the rest of your life if you knew in your heart you could reach your goals and succeed? You must be happy and whole with just you and God alone. If you panic at the thought of never having _____________ again, then you have an obsession. Surrender that obsession and realize how important it is to not rely on certain things to make you happy. Truthfully, it’s often those very things that are destroying us.
- Make a list of the things that are most important to you (that you are gaining) by pursuing your fitness journey. Compare those benefits to the item(s) you listed in question #1.
- Look for the cracks in your plan. Have you closed every door, or are you leaving a door cracked somewhere? Commit today to close all doors and FULLY 100% commit to changing your life forever.
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