Breaking the Bondage of Addiction {A 40-Day Sugar Fast}

Sugar addiction is a real thing and it's effects are both physical and spiritual. When we rely on sugar to comfort us, we never leave satisfied and always go back for more. Be free and fulfilled by giving your burdens to God instead.

Health and exercise isn't something I talk about on this blog and don't plan to make it a regular topic {at this point}, but there is something to be said about the link between eating well and exercising and living a full life, which definitely affects the life of a Christian spiritually and physically.

I have always gone back and forth with exercising and eating better. While I don't eat bad meals, my vice is sugar. While we were going through our adoption process, especially throughout 2013 and half of 2014, sugar was used as a comfort mechanism. I couldn't control the adoption process and it was a very difficult thing for me mentally. So I comforted myself in eating cookies most every single night. 

My husband and I would buy those break n bake's from the store and eat about 6 of them each. Then when we got bored of those, we switched to ice cream. (My favorite is mint chocolate chip--so the above picture is very personal). Every night. Now at night, I get these awful sugar cravings. The sugar has made me feel sluggish, forgetful, and moody. The vice is both physical and spiritual, as are the the effects. 

I realized that instead of running to God in my need, I run to sugar. It's a real addiction for me and I go through nasty withdraws when I don't have it. 

This is one of the most practical actions anyone can do as a child of God, a wife, a mother, a woman trying to draw closer to God and take good care of her body and spiritual walk. But success can only come for one who is willing. If you're not ready yet, that's OK! God works with us in different stages and in different ways. This won't be for everyone.

I no longer want this vice in my life. When I have a struggle, I want to rely on the only One who can shoulder my burdens and even lift them rather than escape them through eating sugar. 

I've decided to join my friend Wendy Speake who started this sugar fast last year for similar reasons. 

I think we all know sugar is bad for our bodies, but it also effects everything else...our focus, clarity, moods, energy, and is simply no substitute as god for the greatest God; the only True God. In all the years I've been eating sugar as emotional comfort, the comfort is always temporary, requiring I go back again and again...just like any drug or alcohol addiction. And I'm only left feeling empty, guilty as well as convicted, and with little (albeit temporary) satisfaction.

I no longer want to depend on sugar to make me happy, bring me comfort, or be a god in my life. I've wanted to kick the habit for a long time but truly lacked the support to do it. And believe me, breaking an addiction shouldn't be done alone. Support is vital.

If you are like me and struggle with this, I want to invite you to join us on this journey. Wendy has opened up a Facebook group for those interested in taking part and let me just say: you are not alone. There are hundreds of women who want to break the addiction as well. 

This all starts Monday, April 4th, 2016 and goes 40 days, through May 13th, 2016. 

The rules are personal for you and your needs. While the physical health benefits are obvious and will naturally occur, for me this is a spiritual sickness that must be treated. I no longer want to live in this bondage and I'm making it public because I know I'll need the support and accountability. 

The challenge is for 40 days, but I expect I will go beyond that as I don't ever want sugar to rule my life again and if that means, for me, avoiding permanently, than I will pray for God's strength to do just that.

My biggest challenges: coffee creamer (French Vanilla) and evening sugar cravings (ice cream).

While I have an alternative for my coffee (though as tasty), I will need a plan for the evenings so I do not regress out of desperation. Obviously not buying ice cream will be a start. These will be some of the things discussed within the Facebook group. If you're interested in joining, I encourage you to join the group here.

I will be posting here once a week with my progress. 

We are not selling anything here. No products. No promises. No pressure. This is simply an invitation to give your own sugar addiction (if you have one) over to God. I don't know about you, but I want to be free of it and fulfilled with His Spirit. 

If you'd like to join me on the journey, please feel free to sign up below. You don't need to do it alone. 

Fervent Prayer: Your Passion and Your Focus

Fervent prayer is fueled by passion and relies on focus. -Priscilla Shirer

Welcome to the first week of Fervent. The act of a deeper prayer time has been prodding at me for a while now. I've learned that my spirit will not rest until it complies with the promptings of His Spirit.

As Priscilla shares throughout the introduction of Fervent, we have a real enemy and we need to make sure we recognize that so we know where to aim. Actually, we have several enemies. One is quite obvious and that's Satan. The other one is our own flesh. I don't know about you but I am constantly battling my own fleshly desires. The third enemy is the world -- not the world as people, but the world as principal. 

The world tugs at us to compromise Truth through such avenues as media, false doctrine, and societal pressure. As we enter in and continue with this study, we need to remember who the real enemies are. We need to remember, 

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. -Ephesians 6:12

What we wrestle is spiritual and the only way we can do battle is on our knees. Wishing, hoping, ignoring, pretending...none of that will make it go away. We are all in a battle and we need to fight through prayer. 

Priscilla says, 

We pray because our own solutions don’t work and because prayer deploys, activates, and fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy.

But make no mistake, this enemy will seek to discourage you from doing it. Dissuade you. Disarm you by putting a distaste for prayer in your mouth.

Right there...right there is one battle we have to fight and in order to fight it, we need to neglect our flesh for the needs of our spirit. 

Passion

Having a passion for prayer is a good springboard, but let's be honest. Not all of us have a passion to sit down when there are a thousand things to do and try to focus on praying. I get it!! It's a challenge! 

But prayer is a necessity, not an accessory, in the life of a believer of Jesus.  

Think about what may have happened to your passion. I know mine has dwindled significantly and for the longest time I couldn't understand why. I have an enemy.

When you can’t seem to respond to spiritual stimuli with the same optimism and obedience as you once did, why do you think it could only be attributable to your bad character? Instead of convicting you for the purpose of restoration, as God’s Spirit does, he condemns you for the purpose of destroying, humiliating.
— Priscilla Shirer

We definitely need to recognize and understand the difference between conviction and condemnation. Condemnation is riddled with guilt while conviction corrects and invites us to try again. One is self-focused while the other is Christ-focused. 

In order to get our passion back, we need to recognize our need for God's grace. We also need to recognize where our passion comes from. It's not from ourself, but it is a gift from God. 

Let's go to Him and ask Him to rekindle that flame of passion and use it! 

Priscilla mentions also, that passion doesn't mean you have to be energetically charged in prayer and get all sweaty doing it. Passion comes through quiet prayers just as much. 

I'll admit that for me, prayer is very difficult because I have a hard time staying still and staying focused. It's also an act that must be done in the early morning, while my children are still asleep. Once the day begins, there's no stopping it. So being disciplined to get up and make my appointment with God a priority is an act of passion by itself.

Which leads to the next strategy.

Focus

Let's be real here. Focus is not something that comes easily in today's culture. There are so many things that distract, not only from focusing in prayer, but what we're praying for. This is the place we need to remember who the real enemy is. As Priscilla points out, it's not our husbands or our church or our hurt or finances. 

The real enemy here is Satan and we need to keep that in our focus as we deal with things in the supernatural. We have to do more than stem off the symptoms. We need to get to the root and fight our battles in the right place with weapons that will be effective against the enemy.

What does focus do? Focus minimizes distractions which lowers our risk of being blindsided and it protects our goals and dreams from being consumed in small bites, stolen right out from under us. It clears away clutter and works as an antenna to keep us alert. 

It's important to note, Priscilla says this several times throughout the book so far:

I’m not saying, now, that every bad, uncomfortable thing that enters your life is automatically oozing up from the pit of hell. Sometimes simply the nature of the world in which we live can bring “tribulation” out of the woodwork (John 16:33), and sometimes the reap-what-we-sow consequences of our own actions can put us in challenging, arduous positions (Galatians 6:7).

So this week, let's focus on praying for that passion to grow and let's remember where to keep our focus --- on the real enemy.

To continue the conversation, join us at the Facebook group

We pray because our own solutions don't work and because prayer deploys, activates, and fortifies us against the attacks of the enemy. -Priscilla Shirer

What we're reading...

A Woman Must Tend to Her Heart

A woman’s heart should be so lost in God, that a man needs to seek Him in order to find her.
— Unknown
It takes work to counter the our natural bent toward the desires of the flesh. There is a battle raging in the spiritual realm we need to recognize. We need to be striving for more of Jesus and striving toward righteousness.

The Bible has much to say about the wickedness of the hearts of men (and women). Unfortunately, it's a natural bent to lean toward sin. I wish it weren't but it's the reason we simply cannot save ourselves from ourselves. 

It takes work to counter the our natural bent toward the desires of the flesh. There is a battle raging in the spiritual realm we need to recognize. We need to be striving for more of Jesus and striving toward righteousness.

Desires of the Flesh

It's so easy to get caught up in our own wants and fleshly desires. So easy. Doing anything against what we want to do will almost always be a battle. 

But the Bible still tells us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ so we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Romans 13:14). When we are walking in the Spirit, we will not give into the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). This is why we must let Him lead us. When we feel our conscience prick, that is the Spirit! That is conviction.

Are we walking with the Spirit when we give in to our own desires? What do these desires entail? Is it shopping for yet another thing we don't need? Is it indulging in a TV show we claim is our "guilty pleasure"? Is it being lazy? Is it giving into anger?

There's a Battle Waging War 

In places we cannot see with our physical eyes is a war for deeper intimacy with Jesus. The enemy nor can man pluck us from the hand of God. But we can make the conscience decision to turn away from Him based on what we consistently feed our mind and spirit.

The fleshly desires are contrary to the Spirit. They are literally in conflict with one another because the Spirit fights for our good, so we don't just do whatever we want or whatever we feel is right (Galatians 5:17).

We must learn the Spirit's voice by reading God's Word. The more we read the Bible, the more we learn who God is. 

Practice Righteousness

The Bible tells us we need to practice righteousness.If we are not practicing righteousness, we are not of the Lord. (1 John 3:10).  It is not something that comes automatically simply because we are walking with the Lord. It is something we must practice doing.

But it's not something we should flaunt doing, so we must be careful. We must be humble in this area. We should not practice righteousness in order to be seen or admired by men. (Matthew 6:1).

Restoration Through Conviction

God convicts us for the purpose of restoring us to Himself. When we consistently engage in the same sinful practices, and get that uneasiness, but ignore it, eventually our hearts will become hardened to His promptings. We separate ourselves by giving into the flesh over the things of the Spirit.

It's very difficult to walk with the Lord when we've shut Him out continuously. There are times we don't even realize we're doing it and it becomes more and more evident as we push and push Him away through disobedience. 

How do we know when we're hearing God's voice? Because it will reiterate what is already in the Bible. God's voice will always lead us to what is better--to what is best.

Tend to your heart by filling it with God's word and avoiding what is not good. Abstain from what is evil.