Thursday, August 18, 2011
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie....
I don't know how many of you have kids, but my youngest two love the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" book along with the other titles in the series. The book starts out with a boy (wait for it) giving a mouse a cookie. Well, inevitably, if you give him a cookie....he wants milk. This starts an avalanche of events where he asks for a straw, a napkin, and a mirror to look at his milk moustache. He then notices that he needs a haircut so he needs scissors, then he needs a pillow and blanket to take a nap and on and on and on... I've been thinking about this book as it relates to my "living a disciplined life" mindset. I have been eating healthier and making better choices, but I haven't deprived myself of anything. If I want french fries, I eat some. If I want a cupcake, I eat one. A couple of months ago, I read Lysa Terkeurst's book, Made to Crave. Lysa talks about eliminating some foods from her diet completely. She's not saying forever, just for a time. At first glance, I thought this idea was totally insane. Why, oh why would you want to give up sugar totally? Can't you eat it in moderation? Lysa then takes it a step further and gives her reason for doing this..."because my brokenness with food runs deep, my new healthy habits have to have time to run even deeper".
So there I was....re-reading this sentence several months after reading it for the first time. This time it hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought about the times over the past 2 months where I had fallen short of my eating boundaries. Believe me, there were more than a few. But I noticed a common theme. When I decided it was okay to eat chips...I wanted something sweet...like a cookie...which made me want milk...which made me want ice cream. You get the point. Apparently, boundaries aren't meant to punish us, but to keep us safe. If my goal is to retrain my brain, maybe it IS best to eliminate all sweets for a time. It definitely worked for my Coke addiction (the soft drink, not the illegal drug). I cut them out completely for about 5 months and then one day I decided it was okay to have some at the movies with my husband. I can honestly say that I haven't had one since or even a craving for one. Maybe some people can eat all of their favorite comfort foods in moderation. Here's something I have learned....I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. There. I said it. When I cross the boundaries that I set up for myself, I don't just stick a toe in the water....I jump in with a cannonball and swim for the other shore. Tasting the "forbidden fruit" just makes me want more.
All of this being said, the one thing that is different this time is that I haven't given up. Normally at some point I would say, "Okay, I tried. I give up". Not this time. I'm in it for the long haul. I'm writing this blog partly for accountability. It's all about progress, not perfection. Cleaning out my car and keeping it that way, organizing my junk drawer, giving away older toys, making a meal plan and grocery list, eating carrots instead of chips...all of these are baby steps. My goal is to turn these baby steps into a full out run...all by relying on and giving the glory to Him.
"Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; its useless. Cultivate God-confidence. No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it." -----I Corinthians 10:12-13 The Message