On Giving Things Up

By: Alex Blackwell, Student Ministry Pastor

Alli and I started a diet 19 days ago that lasts for 30 days. It’s hard. But I’m a fan. I’m not a proponent of dieting for everyone – some people eat healthy all the time. I am, however, a proponent of every single person finding something in their lives to give up – even if just for a season every once in a while. Each person should give up something different that is relevant to themselves. It should be something that is felt. It could be something that maybe even hurts a little – like this diet I’m doing. It should not, however, be something that is unwise (don’t give up water, please). So what is it for you? Not convinced that you should give something up? Here’s why I’ve found it to be life-altering:

Self-control. How can I expect to have self-control over anything in my life if I don’t have self-control over one thing in my life? Occasional dieting has forced me to think about what I put into my body and what I can’t anymore. All the gross things that are good for me that I eat and the wonderful things that are bad for me that I take a break from eating are all instances of self-control. And what I have noticed is that when I diet I open up a space in my life where I have self-control, and then that self-control bleeds into other areas of my life. We live in an indulgent society. The process of wanting something and not having it is first of all unheard of, but also incredibly rewarding.

Reminders. Every time I feel hunger or a longing for ice cream, it reminds me of… whatever I want it to remind me of. I choose for it to remind me to pray. You can assign any reminder you want to those feelings, but they’re some of the best reminders in life.

Freedom. It’s only when I started dieting that I realized that not only did I lack self-control over my eating habits, but I was controlled by them. Giving into our every desire leaves us at the mercy of whatever we desire. That’s a dangerous place to be.

Hopefully you’re convinced that there is a necessity for interrupting regular rhythms and giving stuff up every once in a while. They don’t even have to be bad things (let’s be honest, ice cream is heavenly). They just have to be things that are felt, but wise to give up, and only for a season, to regain self-control, become a reminder, and free us from our desires.

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