I love chips.
I love to inhale chips.
It is completely dangerous for me to be around a bag of chips, because I will eat it all, by myself.
The big problem is that chips make my tongue very, very happy, and my digestive system very, very unhappy. I’m on a fairly strict diet for health reasons, and if I stick to it, I feel great.
If I inhale a bag of chips, I do not feel great. It takes me a day or two to recover.
But, oh, when those chips are being shoved rapidly into my mouth, I don’t really care how many days it will take to get back to normal. It seems worth it all.
Until the second after I’m done inhaling the bag of chips. Then, I am usually overcome with guilt and remorse, and it does NOT seem worth it AT ALL.
Obviously, I have issues with chips.
I was thinking about all of this awhile ago when I was leading a session on resisting temptation. Eating chips is not usually considered sinful behaviour, but for somebody like me, sometimes I wonder….
Those moments of pure indulgence do not do good things for self-control, and they also don’t do good things for my family. My mood is affected by what I eat, and if I feel sick and crabby for a day after an encounter with some chips, it really doesn’t seem fair for everyone involved.
But what happens so often is that we focus on the actual act of wrong-doing, and feel bad about what we’ve done, but we don’t see the big picture. We don’t recognize all the little steps that led us up to the big moment when we caved.
For example….My moment of weakness did not happen when that bag of chips happened to be sitting there in front of me in all its salty, greasy glory. It happened already when I was at the store, and I was pushing my cart past the chip aisle. When I paused there, and started to imagine how delicious a bag of chips would taste…THAT was my moment of temptation.
And resisting in that moment would be a lot easier than later on. At my first point of temptation, all I would have to do is keep my cart rolling straight, instead of turning down the chip aisle.
(Totally outdated picture, but it’s the only grocery shopping picture I have! And I find it funny that although it’s taken two years ago, there’s a bag of ripple chips in the cart!)
Later on, I would have to resist that bag of chips in many other more difficult situations – like when I see it sitting in my pantry repeatedly, day after day, until I break down and eat it. Or I would have to resist it at a party, when the bag is sitting open on the counter. Or I’d have to stop myself in the moment when my hand was in the bag, reaching for another handful, after already consuming half the chips.
But it’s soooo hard to stop then! I want to keep eating until they are gone! (I realize that at this point, you might be thinking I’m completely crazy, and needing some serious help. I would just like to point out that people are either moderators or abstainers – they can do things in moderation, like eat only one cookie, or they are the “all or nothing” type, meaning they would eat the entire bag of Oreos. I would eat the entire bag of cookies.)
I once read a fantastic article about bad habits and how to break them. When you have a problem area in your life, it helps to identify not just what the area of temptation is, but also what leads up to it.
When specifically do I crave chips? Can I stay away from the chip aisle completely when I shop? Can I make sure not to shop when I’m hungry?
When am I most likely to be led into temptation, and how can I avoid those situations in my life?
Today I had to explain to Anika what it meant to “flee from the devil”. After clearing up the difference between “flee” and “flea”, I explained that when we feel tempted, God tells us to RUN. As fast as we can, in the opposite direction.
I must flee from Ripple Chips, as fast as my legs will take me.
I also need to recognize the little choices I make, and be aware of what direction they are taking me.
Okay, confession time! What’s your weakness? And what leads you to the point of giving in?