“I believe you,” I said when my Dr. assured me he could help. “I also believe deep down,” I lowered my voice, “that I’ll be the one person you won’t be able to help.”
Pssst…What are you struggling with?
A nagging problem? A negative cycle? A secret habit?
Lord knows we all struggle with something. And with our struggle comes a benefit.
Yes, there is a benefit to every behavior, even negative ones. The reason you keep repeating the behavior is that at some level you are getting a benefit from it.
Think about it. What is the benefit you are getting out of the repeated behavior? Ask God for insight, wisdom and eyes to see it. Then ask for faith, humility and courage to defeat it.
The benefit we enjoy from the problem keeps us locked in a prison of repeated behavior.
What could the benefit be, do you think? If you make a change to fix the problem, what will it require of you? Is avoiding that requirement a benefit? Are you avoiding the pain or shame or overwhelm of facing the underlying issue? Are you trying to avoid the disappointment or consequences of addressing the problem? Are you avoiding stress, rejection or confrontation?
Einstein said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, for us to repeat the same behavior while expecting different results is insane. The problem is that we may understand Einstein’s idea cognitively, but fail to apply it in our lives because the habit involves going deeper than simple cognition. It requires dealing with emotion.
Emotion is where the rubber meets the road. In a room full of troubled people, when asked who will deal with their issues involving emotions, few will step up to the plate.
Years ago I trudged slowly down the road of recovery from an auto-immune disease, the result of improper amalgam removal, and had to eliminate, one at a time, foods that proved harmful to me. I was so tired of hearing, “Oh, don’t be so extreme…” and “Everything in moderation…” I was so tired of doctors telling me to take more pills. I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired.
All I wanted was to heal and feel good again. I knew God was in the healing business. And I was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. Once again, it was time for God to lead me down a road of discovery and recovery.
Of the foods I had to eliminate, the sugar monster gave me the most stringent run for my money. When I cannot defeat a foe, I can usually trace it back to a trauma. And that was the case in this instance. Defeating the sugar monster required me to do some private detective work on my personal history.
Through talking about my childhood with my mother and looking through her photos of me, I came to find my answer.
The sugar monster had taken hold of me early in life. At the tender age of 6 months, I was left with caregivers who regularly consoled me with…guess what? Sugar. Sugar, sugar-and more sugar! I actually found a photo of me eating one of those orange foam peanuts while sitting in the caregiver’s lap. I found another photo (left) of me eating birthday cake at my 2nd birthday party. By the look in my eyes, I seemed to have surrendered fully and gladly to the sugar monster.
So, I fast-forwarded to real-time and God revealed to me two terrifying facts:
Fact #1) All my life, sugar had been my primary attachment because I had never bonded with my mother.
Fact #2) All my life, sugar had been an addiction…because I was a slave to it (2 Peter 2:19b).
The sugar monster turned out a Goliath to defeat because the roots of its vicious hold had burrowed very deeply into my tender soul. And to boot, my emotions had wrapped their hungry little tentacles as tight as a rubber band around the monster, and were not planning on letting go…ever.
I knew that submission to God’s major soul surgery was the only chance I had in bringing down this formidable enemy.
“Okay, God,” I leveled with Him. “I want freedom. I unzip my soul before you. Do what you gotta do.”
Soon enough God led me to a doctor who specialized in healing the body with food. He was a mentee of Dr. Pompa. Amazing truths they teach and fascinating results they see in their cooperative patients.
But —the Dr.’s help would not have been as effective if I had not also gone deep with God to deal with the emotional elements involved in the addiction. I had to go deep to sever the roots of the addiction. Otherwise, no matter what other food changes I made, I would have stayed helplessly trapped in the clutch of the sugar monster, and unable to heal my body to the extent I desired. Or I would have traded the sugar addiction for another addiction.
As I studied the childhood photos, God showed me that I had attached to sugar instead of to my mother. Wow. What a knock-out realization. That insight gradually revealed the far-reaching implications of my bondage. The benefit of my addiction was avoidance of facing the pain, loss, and grief of abandonment.
So, I witnessed a sweet little girl held hostage by a big, scary monster. But how in the world could I help her?
God showed me that I was the only one who could rescue the tot from the monster. No one else but me in the whole world could access her because she was all alone trapped in that photo. And she was me! The only possible rescue mission involved me becoming the loving, available mother that the lonely child needed. If I could become that to her, she could actually consider letting go of the monster and bonding with me instead.
So, I did.
As a brave and caring adult, I went back and crashed that 2-year-old birthday party. With an invitation from God, I walked into that 1967 photo and approached her with kindness and sensitivity. I couldn’t believe it. She was waiting for me! She listened to my words. She understood my offer. And she trusted me.
I picked her up. She wrapped her arms around my neck. I felt her warm tears on my shoulder. I comforted her and promised her that I would always be available to take good care of her. That began the healing.
Over a period of about eighteen months off and on with God’s leading in 1) the Dr.’s nutritional guidance and 2) my grieving the loss of attachment to sugar instead of to my mother, I finally came to slay Goliath. The experience was painful and challenging, but I had no choice. Freedom was calling me, and I couldn’t deny it.
I can testify truthfully that the taste of freedom is sweeter than any sweet I ever ate.
I met the Dr. in July of 2011 and he has done wonders for me. And yes, he has taught me how to live…(happily!)…without sugar. The only source he allows me is VERY dark chocolate, and that’s because of the huge benefit from the high-fat content in it. So, I’m good with that.
As for the little girl, she has successfully bonded with me and I take good care of her every day.
I share this true story to encourage anyone who is dealing with any kind of undesirable behavior that there are answers and solutions. The only question you must ask yourself is this:
Do I want freedom bad enough to pass through a temporary painful valley of priceless learning and growing and healing?
Your answer to that question determines whether you will continue your miserable cycle for the rest of your life….
Figure out the benefit you’re enjoying in the problem that you’re facing. Then decide if you want to keep repeating it for the rest of your life. It’s your choice.
2 Peter 2:19b
For a man is a slave to whatever controls him.
1 Samuel 17:26b
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
1 Samuel 17:45
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.