I just ate an entire chocolate bar but it was fair trade so somehow in my mind that makes it break even. You know, the farmers being taken care of somehow nullifies the fat and sugar content. Except, of course it doesn’t!
What it actually proves is that my late night willpower is nonexistent and there’s probably a good reason why I go to bed early. If I stayed up late I’d eat more chocolate.
I kid you not, it astounds me every time I end up here. After the eating of the ridiculous amounts of sugar late at night I think, how did that happen?! And yet, time and time again I find myself in exactly the same place.
Kids are in bed.
House is quiet.
I tip toe to the kitchen and slide the step stool over from it’s usual spot to the cupboard that houses all the junk. Leftover Easter chocolates, random treats from someone or others birthday party, and the chocolate that I bought for the next time we have s’mores.
Let’s be honest here, I knew when I bought that chocolate for the s’mores that it would never meet the graham cracker. I knew it would never snuggle up all melty into the slightly burnt marshmellow. I told myself that’s why I was buying it. But it was a lie. And lo and behold, now there it is just sitting in the cupboard waiting for someone to have their way with it.
It’s a curse. The late night will power. I don’t know where it goes. How it fades. But alas, by 8:30 it’s all but gone.
My early morning will power, however, is fantastic! Every single morning I think that this is the day I’ll go strong to the end. I get up early, I eat the healthy stuff, I get outside in the sunshine, go for a run or play tennis with the kids. I pop my vitamins and down a kale-infused smoothie and I feel like a million bucks!
I quinoa my way through lunch and fruit and veggie it up through afternoon snacks and though the second cup of coffee sometimes beckons with it’s sultry ways, I never cave and I know I’m better off for it.
Dinner comes and goes and we eat our greens along with whatever and we walk the dog and we throw a frisbee in the yard and it doesn’t get any better than this as the sun starts dipping and casts the most magnificent glow across the littles sun kissed cheeks and dirty feet.
But once the sun sets and the world is calm and all the little’s are cozied up in bed, the muffled sound of an english narrator reading a Narnia book barely audible through the door and across the hall to wear I stack up the pillows and climb into my favourite place.
It’s then that the feeling comes. At first it’s just a small whisper in my ear but it crescendos to a full on nag that must be silenced. And of course the only way to silence it is to give in to it’s beckoning, right?
So I traipse to the kitchen to see what I can find.
And I eat the sugary things and it fills some part of my soul and then mere minutes later I think back on the day and on all the good and the effort and the crunches on the living room floor and part of me wishes I didn’t have a fear of vomiting so I could get it all back out.
The will power starts so strong but gets diminished throughout the day.
The longing for health and goodness fade as the hours tick by and the need for comfort and pleasure seep in.
There’s a good reason our parents told us to be in before dark and we’ll tell our kids just the same. Because what starts as good intention in the morning when we’re fresh and alert and at our prime, can fade to seeking comfort and pleasure by night.
Of course, comfort and pleasure can be the arms of your lover or the pages of a good book or a single glass of wine at the end of the day. But let’s not kid ourselves, they can also be text messages to someone else’s lover, or the flicker of a movie not entirely appropriate or too many drinks to wash away the events of the day.
Or they can be whole chocolate bars. Which may not seem the same as some of these others, but does it not come from the same heart? From the same place of feeling weak, vulnerable even, and wanting something badly enough to go and get it.
Because my kitchen is the furthest point from my bedroom so I actually have to put some effort in. And phones don’t just end up in hands with the name of someone who is not your husband at the top of the screen and bottle after bottle don’t just magically appear in your hand and the tv doesn’t automatically turn on or the web sites show up without you seeking them. The chocolate does not get in my belly without me willingly putting it there.
I’m weak when I’m weary but that’s no excuse for actions that are harmful.
I have a choice to make and so do you.
I can choose to not tip toe down the hall and slide that ladder over and climb up into the cupboard and feast on things I don’t want to put in my body.
We all have choices to turn the screen off, or put the phone down or close the computer or put the bottle back in the fridge.
Self-control is a fruit of the spirit. Something we’re told to cultivate in our lives. For if we walk by the Spirit we will not gratify the desires of our flesh. The desires of the flesh are things like sexual immorality, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions and divisions and so much more. More, like chocolate bars.
If I can’t hold fast in these small ways through the end of the day how can I hold fast to Him through a lifetime?
It might just seem like chocolate to you but when it becomes a normal and a normal that you don’t like it needs to be tossed to the curb. Sure, it may just be some sugar but it’s also a crutch and (dare I say) an addiction and (even more dareful) a sin and as such it needs to go.
Can sugar be sinful? Yes. Can a text message be sinful? Absolutely. Can something that isn’t real on a screen be sinful? Most definitely.
It comes down to our heart. The longings of it, the desires of it, and whether we’re communing with it to the Father. I’m not when I’m downing a whole chocolate bar. I’m looking for comfort outside of Him. Pleasure beyond what is good for me.
I know I can’t muscle my way through this. I know I can’t will power it on my own. So I’m looking to the one who can heal hearts and minds and bodies and I’ll operate on His strength when I don’t have enough to make it on my own. And history shows, I don’t have enough to make it on my own.