Before I explain why I am giving sugar up for 40 days, I need to back up to my childhood. Does the “fat-free craze” ring a bell? Do you remember thinking that as long as it was fat-free, then it certainly won’t make you fat? I have a vivid memory of loading up onto the church bus with my little green box of Fat-Free Snack-Well Chocolate Chip Cookies tucked by my side. I began to munch on these all the way to camp, without a care in the world, because after all, they were fat-free!
It wasn’t just the cookies though. I have always loved food, which is a normal, good thing.
Every good and perfect gift is from above.James 1:17
However, it’s a problem when our love for the gift becomes greater than our love for the Giver. It’s when food becomes a go-to for stressful situations. When I go to food instead of tackling a project I’ve been procrastinating. When my kids are fighting and I’m not really sure how to handle it, but this chunk of chocolate sure seems like it will help. When I’ve just finished a delicious, satisfying meal, and my tummy is full, but it tastes so good and I go back for more. It’s this quest for something to fully satisfy a longing we have, but we look in all the wrong places.
What we truly crave
Here’s a quote from a book I’ve read multiple times. There is so much good, practical, honest truth in it. It’s called, Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst.
God made us capable of craving so we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only one capable of satisfying them.Lysa Terkeurst
Don’t get me wrong. Food is a gift given to us to enjoy. There plenty of feasts that happen all throughout the bible. What I’m talking about is when we begin to crave food more than God, and it becomes an idol.
Feeding the hungry crowd
I have a large family, and they. are. always. hungry! The topic of food takes up a lot of space in my brain as I am always thinking of meal plans, food prep, grocery lists, lunch packing, etc. I love to cook. I love searching Pinterest for new recipes. I am also a little nuts about nutrition. So I love to figure out ways to incorporate healthier foods into our diet. I’m trying to find a balance of providing food for my family, and obsessing over it!
It becomes difficult to keep myself from craving food more than God. It is a quick fix. I can feel a little down or stressed and reach for the Costco sized-bag of chocolate chips to make it all better. The bag is put up high of course, so it’s not quite so easy to indulge. However, at almost 6 foot tall, there really is no place in my kitchen that is too high for me, so this theory has proven ineffective.
I have often gone on mini fasts. I’ve cut out sugar for a few days. I maybe made it 10-12 days before. I’ve cut chocolate out for longer periods of time. I feel great, but I am drawn back to it every time.
Justifying my behavior
I’ve been so good, I don’t need to be this strict with myself.
Just one cookie.
A little bite of that is not going to hurt.
She made it for me, I can’t hurt her feelings by not eating it!
Have you ever said one of these phrases? And then one cookie turns to 5. A little bite turns into the whole thing. And then, the downward spiral begins. I begin to want more and more and more. I feel stuffed, but something tells me that just one more bite or another perfect snack will be just what I need and then I will be satisfied.
Food addiction is socially acceptable. There is no shame in overeating at church functions or other social circles. Food is available everywhere, all the time.
The evangelical community loves God, yet so many of us treat his temple like a rented room in a run-down motel.Dennis Mansfield, Beautiful Nate
Finding a healthy balance
I’m on that road to finding a healthy balance. As with anything, it’s a journey. It’s a journey that’s easier when shared. Carrying a load of guilt because you feel like you are the only one who struggles is not necessary. We all have struggles. When I have found friends to confide in who help me, pray for me and hold me accountable, that’s when I have really felt strength to resist temptations.
I stumbled upon this book one day, the 40-Day Sugar Fast by Wendy Speake.
I read the review and some testimonies of people that had gone through the fast, and I knew I had to do it. I bought the book and I decided to find at least one other person to do it with me to keep me committed and accountable. God blessed me with an abundant group of women, and even my husband agreed to do it with me!! We are committing together to go the next 40 days eliminating sugar out of our diet. While sugar comes in many forms, my main focus is white sugar. So I’m cutting out all sweet treats from my life for the next 40-days.
While fasting is a very private thing, accountability increases when you invite others to come into the intimate space of your prayer closet with you.Wendy Speake, 40-day Sugar Fast
Perfect for Lent
When I came across the book and the idea of the fast, it was less than a week from Ash Wednesday, which is the start of the Lenten Season. I did not grow up recognizing Lent. I had friends at school that would give up a variety of things for Lent. I also knew the school always served fish on Fridays in observance of Lent. It seemed sort of ritualistic to me and just sort of shrugged off its importance.
I have come to learn that it is a very special tradition to prepare your heart for Easter. It is 40 days long in honor of Jesus’ 40-day fast in the dessert. I decided I would take it a little more serious this year, and this Sugar Fast seemed like a perfect fit. When I contemplate what Jesus did for me, his suffering, pain, agony and eventual death so that I could be set free from the bondage to sin, and yet I continue to allow myself to be in bondage to a sugar addiction, then it’s time to do something drastic.
We are commanded to die to self. To pick up our cross and follow Him. He did not say, when life gets hard – grab some chocolate, and it will all be ok. No, He said,
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.2 Corinthians 12:9
He also gave us this promise,
I can do all things through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
I’m excited to journey together with a group of women who are committed to
Denying ourselves something temporal and ordinary in order to experience the One who is eternally extraordinary.Wendy Speak, 40-day Sugar Fast
If you are interested in learning more about the fast, click here.
Here is another post related to fasting here.