It is early in the morning and your expectations are high. The plan is set and your eye is on the prize. You have prepped, prioritized, promised, and made provisions. Whatever is lurking out there, it has nothing on you!
Even with that type of outlook, the world is filled with temptation; temptation lurking around every corner…so how do we deal?
You can’t do anything without being bombarded by food advertisements or TV channels dedicated purely to food and cooking. In our culture, we celebrate with food and reward ourselves with food. Your body is chemically designed to crave even more if you give into the temptations and the industry knows it. You are also pulled in many directions as a family member, employee, counselor, teacher, task master, and friend. Getting and staying healthy can be an uphill battle.
“Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.” ~Robert Orben
Perhaps you are tempted with lust, greed, materialism, pride, gossip, working too much, laziness, isolating yourself, addiction, cheating, lying, overeating… Do you ever feel like reacting with anger, resentment, sarcasm, negativity, or indifference?
We are constantly battling against temptation; an emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual war. No wonder we often struggle with exhaustion and defeat!
When I am honest with myself, I know I am tempted all of the time. If I think about my weaknesses and I can identify my temptations. Knowing or naming our temptations helps. Temptation has a hook! If we know that temptation has a hook, then why do we keep going back for more? Let’s take the example of choosing a healthy eating lifestyle despite our temptations:
It is Monday morning and you have decided to start a new healthy eating plan. You are completely prepped and ready to go. However, it is in your weakest moments, that the enemy comes to you…Cookies and Cream ice cream at 8:00 p.m. watching the Biggest Loser weigh in on Tuesday night.
How to Overcome Temptation:
These tips are adapted from a recent Chapel service in Grayslake Illinois. I believe these tips are adaptable for overcoming temptations in any area of our lives!
1. Remove the temptation:
If the ice cream is not there, you cannot eat it. (I realize that the store is just 3 minutes away, or even on your way home from work or the gym – so let’s continue!)
2. Renounce the temptation:
“Ice cream has no power over me!” Let the image of ice cream exit your mind as quickly as it entered your mind. You may have to say this many times or come up with your own inner mantra. Begin to feel the freedom, and begin to believe this!
3. Resist the temptation:
‘”Cookies and Cream ice cream is not a healthy decision and this is not the way I desire to take care of my body. I want better for me and my future, and I truly do not want to make this decision that I know I will later regret. The real deprivation is the success I will lose by giving into the temptation.”
4. Share your struggles with a friend:
I call these people my truth tellers. Choose people whom you can trust and share your temptations with openly. I appreciate when these people can listen to what I am going through, empathize with me, and then sound off with some great advice. For our ice cream example, perhaps you tell your spouse to no longer purchase the ice cream because you just cannot have it is the house without giving in. Perhaps you meet a friend at the gym in the evening and try a new workout class together and then grab a healthy salad together after to debrief on how life is going. Having people and community in our life is key in overcoming temptation. We could never expect to keep everything to ourselves and win our battles.
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Be bold. Be confident. Be courageous! We are all tempted each and every day; but know you are not alone out there! The plan is set and your eye is on the prize. You have prepped, prioritized, promised, and made provisions. This is the day, the hour; this is your time to conquer. Whatever is lurking out there, it has nothing on you!
Above is the teaching from The Chapel that inspired this post. Consider watching a few minutes or the entire segment if you have time.