You know the phrase, “If I had a dollar for every time”? Well, I have been feeling like that about something recently. I am and have been struggling with a sugar binge and haven’t stopped talking about it. I started working at Floris UMC, and I now have firsthand working knowledge of the “Floris 15” instead of the freshman version. It seems that every day I approach the staff kitchen there is a sinful temptationcake, muffins, chocolate, cookiesyou name it, and I eat it. Of course eating sweets does lead to a rush of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals. Yes, that is happening, but in reality I’m caught up in my story of either talking about how I’ve got to stop eating sugar or talking about how much I’ve eaten and how I have to do something about it.
My story involves talking instead of acting. Clearly if it were such a priority for me I would do it, right? Well maybe. Some people it seems can just decide to do something and boomdone! I dislike these individuals just on principal alone, feeling jealous, contrasted by my weakness in self-sufficiency. Maybe somewhere in my psyche I think that if I tell the story enough I will either will it into being or all those people I tell will hold me accountable. Neither of these two options is working for me. Maybe if I just gorge myself on ice cream, I won’t want it anymore. Not working. In fact, I find myself thinking of what flavors are better for binge consumption. Then I think maybe I’ll switch to low-fat versions or sugar-free versions. No, that won’t work either. Now I read that these low-calorie and low-fat treats actually work against me and do the opposite of what I thought they did. Diet soda? Bad! And so my story goes on and on.
I want my cake, and I want to eat it, too. Two slices please! I want change without doing anything to get there. I’m fascinated by all the diet trends and have actually succumbed to some of them. At the root is an irrefutable truth that says what goes in minus what is expended equals what you’ll get. Surely, I think to myself, in this day and age of scientific enlightenment I can do better than that: a pill, a drink, special smelling powder, something to allow me to do what I want with no consequences. Therein lays the rub; it is impossible because there is a consequence for everything. Even nothing has a consequence of nothing.
The key to ending this story of inaction is like Nike says, “Just do it.” But I can’t do it alone. I’ve been trying, and all I’ve been able to do is to construct a self-absorbed story of how I need to change me by relying on me. It doesn’t work. But, scripture says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” The Holy Spirit, being God’s active presence in the world, can indeed empower. My action can be the result of that encounter. It isn’t any different than responding to God’s grace by loving. A new identity is formed through the interaction with the risen Christ. The outcome of that interaction is to be changed while still needing change. I mean that is what it’s all about. It isn’t about replacement. It is something totally different and new. Being healthy generally requires a lifestyle change. A total package of moving parts that are helping to move you to a new you. That’s what this Christian path ischanges large and small, different focus, new regimen. I’m not going to get it right but still want something deeper. A new creation is where my success will come from. Christ offers this tirelessly, day in and day out. How can I seriously not respond to that? End of story.