Candy is my weakness. If you know me, you know I love sweets, especially candy. Before there were gas stations on every corner with candy aisles, there was this one store on the way to school that we called “Childer’s”. When I was growing up, my mother would occasionally stop on the way to school and allow us to buy a little candy. The big Sweet Tarts were my favorite.
Today at 52, I have a big bowl of almond M&Ms that sits in my kitchen and there is a big candy bucket right outside my pantry on a shelf. Friends and family all know the “big blue bucket!” Yes, I have a Type 1 diabetic in our house. And yes, maybe at times he has visited the bucket when he shouldn’t. Thankfully, he has self-control and manages his blood sugar well, so it really hasn’t been a big issue for him. Since we didn’t make sugar so taboo and forbidden for him, he seems to have managed it well. He realizes he can have it, but in moderation.
Today…the candy bucket is a tradition in our house. As kids congregated at our house over the holidays….the bucket emptied many times and I had to fill it weekly. I smile often to myself knowing the kids count on getting a handful of candy at my house. It might even be a lure?
As a young girl I remember my father keeping candy in his pocket. Kids would flock to him knowing they would get a piece of candy or gum! Those memories make me smile to this day. If he was out of candy, there was always some change in his pocket for kids to go buy some candy. Maybe the candy bucket is some kind of subconscious thing that I took from my dad. I just know….I enjoy having it and our house guests do too!
I did have an adult(a dentist) ask me at our Sunday school party…why do you have all that candy…Halloween is over? It was his first time at my house and he had no history to understand the tradition!
Why talk about the candy bucket? “Temptation!”
People have asked me…”Aren’t you tempted to eat too much candy?” The answer is no, not really. On occasion, I may have some when I shouldn’t. But on a monthly basis, I can go days without ever eating a piece of candy. How? I realize temptation happens in the mind…..first, and I have learned my “way of escape.”
Yep…all actions are preceded by a thought. Funny thing, the way of escape or the way to say NO to temptation…happens in the same place, your mind. Recognizing that “all decisions” we make start with our thoughts. I have learned that instead of listening to myself….I have to talk to myself. Engage myself with my “thoughts.”
If I listened to every temptation, which is a thought first, I would be in trouble. This is where “self talk” comes in. In my own strength, I am powerless to resist temptation. Paul instructs in Scripture “to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5). I have found the first step in escaping temptation is to apprehend every thought before it steps through the doorway of my mind. I do this by “talking to myself” and using Scripture. It has taken some discipline on my part, with the help of the Holy Spirit of course.
You see, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and failing miserably by giving in to “temptation” repeatedly. I finally recognized it takes an act of my will. God will meet me and give me a way out, but it starts with my thoughts…and me talking to myself. I ask myself a series of questions based on the passage found in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
I have learned to ask myself…..is this honorable, pure, right? In regards to the candy…I stop and evaluate before reaching into the bucket. I ask questions like, “What has been my food intake today?” And, “A little sweets won’t hurt, but do I need this?” “Did I exercise today?” STOPPING and talking to myself, asking myself appropriate questions, has been the most amazing thing. It has saved me countless times! Of course, I realize if I couldn’t express self-control and say no to the candy bucket at times, it would have to go!
Seriously…I find myself in conversations….with myself…”Do I need to say anything? Or, do I just need to listen?” I find myself praying and asking God in my heart…”What is the response you want me to have?” Learning to engage my mind….taking the time to recognize my thoughts. They are not pure all the time.
Using a filter of self-talk, Scripture and quick prayers….has given me MY OUT….to temptation. I fail sometimes…sin…but I find myself having more victory in temptation than ever.
POINT: Learn…temptation starts in your mind and so does the way of escape…they originate in the same place.
So learn to think about what you are thinking about….pay attention to your thoughts. God prompts and Satan tempts. Learn to win the battle in your mind. You will find you will win more in your actions thus, winning more in life!