The Sweet Spot: Confessions of a Sugar Addict

An addict. That’s probably the most fitting word for me in describing my relationship with sugar. As a sugar addict, sugar has been at every celebration of my life. I’ve run to sugar for comfort more times than I can ever hope to count. Sugar has been a “reward” for surviving the week and an incentive for my kiddos in achieving their potty training victories.

Sugar

Photo Source Uwe Hermann via Flickr

Yet, I’ve read countless articles about how sugar feeds cancer cells, depletes your energy and causes a host of other problems. I’ve read because I’ve wanted something to so intellectually compel me to sever my deep-seeded addiction to sugar that it would cease to be a problem and I could actually eat it “in moderation” without compromising my heart.

But what I needed was not yet another intellectual argument. What I needed was freedom: spoken from the lips of my Savior directly to the dark places in my heart that dared to lean on anything aside from Him.

So, when God whispered to me (again), “Fast from sugar for 40 days”, I (finally) listened. I’d heard it before, but I wasn’t ready then to tear down altars and strongholds and high places in my heart. This time, I felt desperate to obey, desperate to no longer depend on this addictive thing and, instead, only depend on the One whose death paved the way for my abundant life.

Enter radical change: 40 days, no refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. Only natural sweeteners in small amounts (for me that has been stevia, honey and pure maple syrup). And my strength has been tested…and temptation abounds…and learning has flourished. (Did you know there’s sugar in bread, pasta sauce, most chips, dipping sauces and salad dressings, dried fruit and almost every pre-packaged anything?)

A very sweet friend encouraged me when I was about 8 or 9 days in, saying, “The cravings will go away soon…in just another week or so.” She spoke from her own sugar-fasting experience. I definitely appreciated her words that pushed me forward with hope. But, my experience has been different. I’m over two weeks beyond completing my official 40 days. I am still avoiding sugar, and my cravings for it are still there. (Um…addiction at its finest.) I would still love to pound down a vat of ice cream. But I haven’t.

The craving is still there. But my resolve has not wavered. Thank God! (quite literally!)

Along with cutting out sugar, God also prompted me to study the significant events in the Bible that coincide with the number “40”, which tends to be associated with times of preparation, testing and judgment. Because, ultimately, this isn’t about a physical issue. This is a spiritual issue because this is a matter of what I have elevated in my heart.

In my “40” study throughout the Bible, I’ve spent the most time camping out with the Israelites in the 40-year wilderness. They grumbled, they rebelled, they craved what they knew, they complained and distrusted. But God provided for their needs and guided them towards a land of promise and abundance. He rained down bread from heaven. They wondered what it was because it looked so different from their familiar things.

You see, it was those familiar things with which they identified. The comfort was found in the familiar. Even if the familiar involved enslavement.

But the Lord had more for them than what they knew. He didn’t want to bring slaves into a new land to continue in their slave-mindset. He wanted to bring His children to their new home to live freely and fully.

For me the sugar addict, sugar has equated to comfort, celebration and fun. But all of that has been a lie. When the comfort has passed and the last morsel has been tasted, guilt has followed. The exhilaration of the tasty moment leaves in its wake a very real crash, both physical and spiritual. The Lord asked me, “Who will be your source?” Who, or what, is my source? Is it a thing, or is it my God? Because whoever or whatever I go to as my source is what will define who I am.

For me, I will likely continue on in these 40-day stints until God tells me otherwise, until the addiction is broken and the cravings cease.

What about you…Do you struggle with an addiction? Is there something you run to, defend and justify? Ask God what He has to say about that. This is only a glimpse of my journey. But He has a journey towards a more abundant life for you. He longs to redefine you and be your only Source. And He is more than enough.

refining identity cover no grad

Imagine yourself walking in the identity God has designed for you, and helping your children discover their identities for themselves! Courtney’s book, Refining Identity, dives deeply into the topic of discovering our true identity. Check out Refining Identity here!

5 Tips for Spring Sports Survival

Spring sports season is here! And for our family, that means soccer season.

Mud, rain, wet soccer bags, make for a dirty car, cranky kids, and lots of meals and snacks on the go. That’s what spring sports season looks like in our world.

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My soccer mom career began 8 years ago.  Life was easy then.  One kid, one practice and one game a week.  Fast forward to now–four kids, 7 practices a week with a minimum of 4 games each weekend…and my husband is the coach for my youngest.  (This past weekend we had 6 games and a 2 day tournament 60 miles from home.)  I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many shoes we have bought!

I’ve eased into this role as soccer mom and have learned some valuable tips for surviving spring sports along the way.

1. Designate one sturdy bag for spectators

The bag should include:

  • an umbrella
  • a first aid kit
  • sun block
  • nut or dried fruit snack (something that can last all season)
  • a waterproof blanket
  • hand sanitizer
  • tissues

2. A well stocked soccer (or other sports) bag

This bag is for your athlete and should include:

  • hand sanitizer
  • extra shin guards
  • extra socks
  • sun block
  • band-aids that are pre-loaded with antibiotic
  • a garbage bag–if it rains the kids can put the soccer bag in the garbage bag to keep it dry
  • a long-sleeved shirt–we use different brands of the insulated shirts and like the thinner variety
  • the extra uniform in a ziplock bag–so it “lives” in the soccer bag all season

3. A comfy chair

My husband and I have different opinions on what we like in a chair!  He likes his chair that has a canopy.  I will admit his chair is awesome not only for sun but for rain!  We have one to three kids with us at any given time, and they all love “daddy’s covered chair”.

I have two favorites–one is a tiny fold up seat, it was a giveaway at Eddie Bauer a million years ago–BS (before soccer). I like that it has a zippered pouch for my knitting and is so small the little kids can carry it.  The other chair that I really like is a mesh chair with two cup holders for hot weekends. Oh wait…I guess I have three favorite chairs! (No wonder our garage looks like a chair graveyard.)  My other chair is a really sturdy wind proof fabric that is great for colder games.

4. The proper coat

This year, I bought a maxi down coat for soccer.  I kept putting it off because I wanted to lose weight–so I froze out of vanity!  Shame on me.  I love my new very warm coat.  Yeah, I’m still trying to lose weight but I won’t be “freezing my butt off” anymore.  My husband has a 3:1 jacket that transforms from snow to rain to a vest.  A few moms take sleeping bags and stand in them!  Anything goes when kids are playing in 38 degree weather for an hour or longer on windy soccer fields.

5. Planning/Scheduling

  • Put soccer games, practices, snack schedule all on the FAMILY calendar.
  • For away games: check with seasoned parents on where to park, the quickest way to get to the field, find out if it is stroller friendly if you need that info
  • Take a photo of the contact list–finding a photo is much easier than searching for a email during a stressful situation!
  • Try carpooling–it is a great way to meet other parents
  • Think about meal planning for busy soccer days–I have dinner planned in advance.  In spring, games may be delayed because of weather so having a meal plan eases stress.  (Frozen pizza is my back up!)
  • Designate a “bin” for soccer clothes.  This keeps the soccer laundry centrally located. (As I write this, we have two pairs of game shorts that are missing. The system isn’t flawless but it helps).

Having the kids participate in sports takes work, but what a blessing it is to watch our children grow and learn new skills through sports.  May we (parents) be a wonderful example of compassion and sportsmanship for our children.  I hope you have an awesome spring season!

Question for you fellow sports moms…What do you do with extra shoes?  I’m trying to figure out a place or organization that could benefit from having almost new soccer shoes.  Any ideas?

spring soccer

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