You’ve heard about the little engine that could. He was new, shiny and blue. He had a black little smokestack and all the willpower in the world to get up that dang hill.
His chugging resunded from the neighboring hill, echoing off in the distance.
I think I can, I thinkIcanithinkicaniknowicaniknowican. And he made it over the hill. All the engines and people cheered for his little triumphant butt.
Enough about him.
There was another little engine. One who tried and tried and tried but just couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He refused.
See, this little engine was a beautiful candy apple red one, top of the line. He had shiny chrome wheels and the station master ADORED him.
One day, an engine from another station came by and talked to the little Engine. She was long, shiny and black. She started telling the little engine tantalizing tales about all the things the Station master had forbidden the little red engine to do.
The little red engine became entranced with these things and the rebelliousness of it all enticed him. Before he knew it, he’d become addicted to them. He did these acts in secret, but the station master knew EVERYTHING that his trains did.
Soon, he realized that his problem had gotten out of control and he wanted to stop. He wanted to quit. He refused to live this life, bogged down by his problems, his addictions. He was the little engine that couldn’t do this anymore.
Unfortunately for him, and us, beating addiction is easier said than done.
Like in my case, anyone I know can attest to the fact that I used to be SUPER addicted to coffee and I’ve now moved on to another problem. We’ll say it’s chocolate problem (chocolate is kinda becoming a problem anyway.). Both of these things aren’t inherently SIN, but gluttony is a sin, and eating THIS much chocolate is gluttony. So, there ya go. I’m sinning. It’s a sin that people know of, but don’t consider a “big sin”, even though it is one of the deadlies.
Anyway. So, this is my sin. I eat candy bars every day, at least 2. In addition to the guilt I feel for over indulging, I am also gaining weight, wrecking my teeth, screwing my poor digestive system over, hurting my focus and wasting my money. Actions have consequences and mine have some big ones! I’m aware of them, but I keep doing it. I’m currently disgusted with myself. I spent the first 4 months of this year dropping 35 pounds and I’ve probably gained back 8 of them. Urf!
I’ve tried the whole “Flee temptation” thing. Being the kinesthetic learner that I am, I tried to actually run away from candy bars and looked like a total idiot. It’s kind of hard to literally FLEE something that’s RIGHT THERE.
I tried “In the name of Jesus, candy temptation be gone! I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ!” Hah. I’m not saying that Jesus can’t overpower that temptation, but sugar cravings are deeper than a lot of others. I know they psychologically/physiologically affect the body in many ways and are often tied in with other behaviors, memories, emotions, etc. It’s hard to beat! If I look at candy too long, I’ll buy it. and it never tastes as good as I think it will.
Other sins like stealing, porn or drunkenness release mood altering hormones that the body gets addicted to, which makes them hard to crack. It isn’t always the behaviors someone is addicted to, but the body’s response to them. Therein lies the rub. If sin merely affected the soul, it might be easier to break. Since the body is involved too, everything becomes more complex.
So, I decided to try something. One day, I resolved that I would just not buy chocolate for a week. Just, nope, none, I’d quit cold turkey, yes I would. Thoughts of Reese’s swirled in my head all day long. By lunchtime I wanted that “forbidden fruit” so bad I physically salivating.
3 hours in, guess what I was eating?
Determined to shake this, I said “THAT IS IT. NO MORE CHOCOLATE FOR A MONTH.”
I’m female. I lasted 3 days. Maybe four.
This battle raged on for a while. Earlier this week I decided to try something.
“You know what? I will not eat any candy or chocolate today. I will not think about yesterday or tomorrow. I just won’t eat it today.” Today is doable. “God, I give this to you today.”
There’s an old song that goes “Strength everlasting and grace for today.” Lamentations 3 says that God’s mercy is renewed each morning. These things are resonating with me. His mercy is new each morning and every day I’m getting the strength to fight the cravings and not give in to temptation.
Those “todays” are slowly but surely adding up. I’ve lost track of the last time I caved. Was it last week? Two days ago? I don’t care any longer. What keeps me focused is not thinking about yesterday’s failures, and not focusing on the future. Every morning I give this sin up to my wonderful heavenly father. He takes it from me and in return for this vile goop, gives me grace and strength to carry through and press into him.
No matter what your “chocolate” is. If you’re the little engine who can’t take this crap anymore, guess what? You don’t have to! It doesn’t matter if your chocolate is actually chocolate, if it’s drugs, drinking, smoking, porn, swearing, whatever your poison is,the fact is you don’t HAVE to be addicted any longer. If you need it, get help, counseling. As you quit, give your cravings and temptations over to God. Say it, out loud.
“God, with your help, I will NOT be doing (insert behavior here) today. Please give me the strength and grace to make it through today.”.
Take baby steps in the process of building newer better habits and don’t freak out when you fall. Just pick yourself up, don’t look back. Don’t look forward either. Just look at him.
…and thus the little engine who refused to take it anymore, confessed his problems to the station master. The station master helped the little guy get back on the right track. Now the little engine that couldn’t and refused to be stuck in his addiction is free.