I did something crazy last month—I decided to start my annual health kick one month early. Cutting sugar from my diet was my health decision du jour.
I passed up holiday cookie exchanges and even pumpkin cheesecake, a minor miracle in itself. I kicked my sweets habit pretty quickly. In a week or so the cravings vanished.
I lost a few pounds, but what I learned about worry and how it relates to sugar addiction proved more important.
A 2013 study showed Oreos more addictive than heroine or cocaine. I’ve never experimented with drugs, but I do have a 30-year sugar addiction.
Maybe I should blame Little Debbie snacks in my lunchbox, but I once lived for that sugary fix. It satisfied in the moment, but gut-punched me with a new craving once the sugar wore off.
While driving one morning, I saw the similarity between sugar addiction and the destructive habit of worry. If I give in to the temptation to fret in one area of my life, it’s not long before fretting becomes an hourly fixation.
I wondered if I could stop the cycle of worry the same way I had broken the sugar cycle?
While my car engine idled at a stoplight, I imagined Jesus sitting in the passenger seat. Somehow the holiday hustle that prods the joy right out of my heart began to cease.
Backseat arguments over toys couldn’t invade my peace. In that moment, I shared exhaustion with him. I somehow knew Jesus sat beside me sharing in my anxieties and daily frustrations.
He sat with me. Or maybe better said, I sat with him, united with him.
This picture of him wanting to be with me during all my unlovely moments changed my mood and allowed his love to flow through me.
I’ve enjoyed Brother-Lawrence style prayer before. Practicing the presence of God while peeling potatoes or cleaning my house has never been difficult.
The real challenge is dwelling with the Lord during the chaos.
How do I unite my worried mind to Peace in the middle of toddler tantrums? These days, friends, I don’t have Brother Lawrence’s solitude or a quiet monastery to hide away in seeking God.
But I do have Someone to run to. Or better said, I have Someone who runs to me.
When I stopped consuming sugar this month, I marveled at how much better food tasted. Vegetables opened on my palate in a new way. Sweet red peppers tasted like candy.
New flavors and nuances in coffee and wine popped on my taste buds. I couldn’t believe what I had missed.
The same rings true when we stop the cycle of worry. Life opens up as a feast for us to enjoy. When fear addles our minds, we miss the opportunity to see God everywhere.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s words sum up the reality of abiding in Christ.
“Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes – The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”
As the new year begins, would you consider joining me to break the cycle of fear and worry in your life? Would you consider focusing your attention in a new way upon Christ and his finished work?
I’m looking forward to posting more about this journey. I hope you join me as we “turn our eyes upon Jesus.” And if I could sing on key, I would belt the rest of that old song to you.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”