One of the obstacles to changing bad habits into good is the length of time it takes to change it. I know all about this because I am trying to lose 30 pounds that do not want to go. I have been trying to lose this weight for 3 years. I have done everything I can to this point from monitoring my heart rate to adding extra protein to subtracting good foods. Nothing I have tried has worked up to this point. I weight trained for a year but gained more weight most likely because my heart rate monitor was lying to me. It was an expensive piece of equipment that counts steps and when I put the monitor on my chest it measures how many calories I have used during the work out. The monitor was telling me I was burning between 2,200 and 2,500 calories per day. As a result I increased my calorie intake to 1,800. 2,500 minus 1,800 still leaves 700 calories per day deficit. Each pound is 350 calories so that means at the very least I should have lost two pounds per week. O, my lovelies, how I wish that where so. This menopausal woman will not be beat though.
I have been tempted to throw in the towel. I have been tempted to eat everything my eyes behold. I have been tempted to stop exercising. I have been tempted to move on and just accept myself the way I am because I was made this way, was I not? No, I was not! I was made to be a conqueror. I was made to be free from every temptation. God has said to me, “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) This verse tells me I can conquer any temptation. It tells me through seeing and listening I can overcome. This verse gives me hope and it gives me my plan.
Our hope is twofold in this verse. First, it is that other people who live on this earth are tempted in the same way I am. I witness that daily. I go to the gym to witness many people who have begun the process of getting healthy and I see in the world those who have not started yet. The temptation to eat and sit is great for everyone. I have previously lost a lot of weight but have gained some back because I have not yet conquered this temptation. This is common to man so I am not alone in this struggle, my first hope. The second hope is God will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can handle. What a wonderful piece of knowledge to have. When we are tempted by humans and the devil God steps in at the right time, in the right way, to help us overcome the temptation. He will let it get to the limit to build our strength and our resolve. There are sweet chips at the end of my table now from Thanksgiving weekend. I look at them and am tempted. I think to myself, “Why don’t I hide these chips?” Then I say to myself, “If I hide them the temptation will go away and when I see them in the cupboard I will not be able to overcome the temptation and eat some.” I am working out my overcomer muscles. I pray that God will strengthen my muscles so I will be able to flex it in public places where I cannot hide the food but must be able to resist it. I have my plan.
The plan is to do what the Holy Spirit tells me to do. It is God’s plan to make an escape for me I just need to recognize it. My plan of escape before was to hide the sweets in the cupboard or at the back of the fridge but it did not work. I found them and ate them. I saw them and ate them. This time around I am relying on God for the plan of escape. He has been directing me to do what He wants me to do and I do it. Sometimes, it does not make sense in my limited mind but what He is doing is going to work because I have seen this work many times before. Leaving yummy chips on the table in full view did not make sense to me. I felt the purpose was being defeated but they have been there all week and I only picked them up once. When I did eat them guilt laid upon me like a fog. I could only eat five or six and my stomach began to ache. I thanked Jesus for the stomach ache, put the chips down and went to my Jesus Room to read the Life Skills Encyclopedia. The stomach ache was my escape on this day. His plan to build up my overcomer muscle worked on that day and every day since. I remember that ache every time I look at those chips. God used the same escape on me when He wanted me to quit drinking. When His plan works I allow it to deter me from future temptation.
The Life Skills Encyclopedia has plenty of information in it to help us escape from temptation yet we have to learn there is always hope and always a plan. Those people who do not have a hope continue in their sin for a lack of hope they will be free of it. Let that not be you because you have a hope and a plan for your future (Jeremiah 29:11). We need to learn to fall under that plan so we can see the escape. Would you have seen a painful stomach as an escape? What about a headache or a broken leg? There are plenty of stories on the net about how God has made an escape for someone in the oddest place at the oddest time. Sometimes, we don’t even know why the escape was made until one day God opens our eyes and viola, we see it. You see what could have been but wasn’t because God pushed you through the escape hatch. Test God this week. Ask Him what He wants you to do that you had previously been unable to overcome. Ask Him to open your eyes to your escape then take it. You must continue to take it because a habit is not formed in one day nor will a temptation be overcome in one day. My sore stomach deterred me from eating the chips to avoid the temptation of eating what I am not supposed to eat. I choose to not eat the food rather than eat through the sore stomach. The Lord has our back. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle and with any temptation He provides an escape hatch. Recognize the hatch and keep using it until the temptation is not a temptation any more.