Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Week Thirty-Five - Mints and Chips

Beside the Well

            When I was in High School, I became addicted to breath mints.  Now don’t laugh so loudly!  It became a real problem for me!  I found myself unable to stop popping one after another into my mouth. I feared bad breath and rejection from my classmates.  I know now it was an immature fear, but keeping fresh breath seemed like a sure way to keep from losing friends.
            By the time I noticed it as an addition, I was eating three or four packets per day.  Needless to say, they did a destructive job on my teeth!  I knew nothing about addictions, but I knew I needed to break this cycle.  I simply quit buying them.  And that was the end of that.
            A few years ago, I caught myself in another addiction.  We were home on furlough, and I began to love American potato chips – Lays specifically!  I was gaining weight, but not too much, so I accommodated my enjoyment and munched away a bag at a time!  I think it was mostly a release of anxiety, but I had begun to notice I was eating them so fast the chip flakes were flying out the corners of my mouth as a crammed them in.
            One day, while at the home of my in-laws, my brother-in-law also noticed my frenzied eating and made comment.  Immediately, conviction hit my heart. I was shoving down potato chips as fast as I could go with no hesitation or consideration.  Again, I had to stop my obsession.  So, right there I said to myself, “That’s it.  No more potato chips.  Not even one.”  I went cold turkey.  I didn’t eat a single chip for five years.  Now, I can eat a few and enjoy them without becoming a potato-chip maniac!
            While reading Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book, The Perfect You,I came across this statement about addictions, “…addictive substances, (cocaine, alcohol, the American diet, cigarettes) [did you catch that?  the American diet?] make a person temporarily feel good and entice the person to use the drug and addictive substance more often.  Yet this enticement is the desire to hide pain; it is not merely because the substance has ‘hijacked’ the brain.  This means the CHOICE to overcome an addiction is the most powerful and effective factor to overcome addictive behaviour.” (P 53)
            And there you have it…the choice is the core.  I chose to eat breath mints to hide the pain of my immature fear of relationships.  I chose to eat potato chips to hide my anxiety.  When I decided to face the source, it was easy to give up the activity. That’s all good!  But then, she went on to qualify a bit more of her statement.
            “We are wired to be addicted to and consumed by God.  Nothing else will satisfy this need to pray continually and set up a constant internal dialogue with the Holy Spirit, so that we stay addicted to Him, offering up our minds and bodies as a living sacrifice every day. (Romans 12:2).”
            Addicted to God?  What a wonderful thing!  She gave a list of verses – Psalm 42:2, 63:1, 73:25, 119:20, Isaiah 26:9, John 4:13-14, 6:35, Revelation 21:6-all of them pointing to our soul’s desire and longing to be with God.
            I thought of the verse in Acts 17:28,  “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.”  He is our all in all.
            The day I was saved, the following song became my testimony, and it still is today.

​"Only Jesus Can Satisfy Your Soul" by Lanny Wolfe

The world will try to satisfy that longing in your soul,
You may search the wide world over but you'll be just as before.
You'll never find true satisfaction until you've found the Lord,
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul
And only He can change your heart
And make you whole;
He'll give you peace you never knew
Sweet love and joy and Heaven too,
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

            Isn’t that what we are looking for in addictions?  Satisfaction?  Something that will bring peace to our souls?  I think that desire is God-given.  It is the thing that draws us to Him.
            “Oh, Lord, may You become the thing to which we are obsessed.  May we once and for all settle our minds that You are our heart’s desire.  Only You can satisfy. May we become addicted to You.” 



  1. Oh, Gail, how I can relate. I smother my stress and anxiety in chocolate and then drown them in sodas and energy drinks. I first realized the severity of my addiction when I discovered that my “treats” had become my source of joy in my day. I looked forward to having them like a junkie eagerly awaiting his next fix. I was moody and blue when I couldn’t have them and elated when I could. My thoughts revolved around my lovely little comforts. In short, they became an idol in my life, and I ran to them for peace and comfort instead of into the arms of my Heavenly Father. A while back, with God’s help, I was finally able to kick the habit, but recent stressors have caused me to introduce them back into my life. It began with a single taste and quickly escalated into a daily affair. Who would imagine the lust of the flesh could be so strong and that something as innocent as food could become such a stumblingblock in our lives? I’m amazed, humbled, and embarrassed. Praise the Lord, I am back on track to kicking the habit and being done with those things that masquerade as happiness, comfort, and stress relievers. The Lord is my portion, and I don’t need anything else—especially all those empty calories! Thanks for the reminder this morning. It was just what I needed to face the grocery store today!

    1. Dana, the first sin was all about food... Things never change. We only can cling to God for our strength against the temptation.

  2. Aren't we simple and vulnerable? So easily led away. Thank you for commenting and sharing, Dana. Looking forward to you joining the missionary force here in the UK!