A lot of you know that I’m purposely taking September to pray for others in a more meaningful and intentional way than I usually do. And part of that was that I wanted to fast from sugar for the whole month (besides fruit) to help me remember to pray for people better. My thought was every time I felt preoccupied by wanting sugar I would redirect my thoughts to the needs presented before me. And for the first 6 days it went just like that.
Until last night. I was home alone and I opened the freezer for ice for my tea and there I saw it. Glimmering in its cozy frozen cave, the ice cream I’ve been dreaming about. And in a moment of weakness, without someone to talk me down from it, I ate some.
Was this a sin? I don’t really know, but it sure feels like it. I feel like I let God down and all the people who have trusted me to pray for them. So I decided after that that I would start right back up and not fall into temptation again.
And then I woke up this morning and found myself thinking some weird things. Thoughts of, “you already blew it, you might as well just give up” crept into my head. I found myself thinking that it was already over, I already ruined everything, I might as well just eat everything in the house that contains sugar. And then I had a truly scary thought, “Nobody would even have to know…”
Whoa whoa whoa stop right there. I knew then that I needed to share this because it’s such a good representation of the poisonous thoughts that accompany sin:
1. I wasn’t accountable in that moment and I didn’t want to be accountable. I have a friend doing this with me but when the situation presented itself I wanted to relish this gloriousness where I was cheating. I didn’t want in that moment to pray or seek the Bible or call my friend or any form of accountability, I just wanted the sugar. Sounds so silly, right? But if I had used the tools God has given me I’m certain I would not have slipped.
2. Sin makes us think illogically. All of the sudden I was trash. Unworthy. Not good enough to even go before God on behalf of those who I had said I’d pray for. I was believing the lies and had fallen into the trap of “well you’re already tarnished, might as well just go all the way”. I think all of us have felt this before, and after working with teens for many years I can say that this is the especially destructive thinking common to when we fall into sexual sin. It’s over. I’m done. I’m nothing. I’m ruined, might as well just keep going. But this overlooks the whole entire reason that we look to Jesus: grace. Go and sin no more. Stop it, turn the other way, and keep going in a direction towards God. You’re not ruined, you just messed up. Now go and sin no more.
3. Admitting that I failed sucks, and I’m truly sorry to those who trusted me to do this on their behalf, but I know I can regroup and finish this month out the best I can without reaching for the artificial comfort living within my freezer. But I want to be open and honest and I can’t stand the thought that someone may look at me and think that I act like I’m better than anyone else. In fact, you’re not even supposed to put it out there when you’re fasting because it makes you look like you’re bragging. And I know this but I made the decision to go ahead with letting people in on that part because I know how I felt when people were fasting and praying for me, my heart was in the right place I assure you.
Failure is a part of the process, but it’s up to us if we let it ruin us completely or if we let God get us back on track. I will do my best, with the Lord’s help, to get back on track!