Posted by: JennyRain | November 11, 2006

AfterEve 2: Dealing with Temptation

Am I supposed to be drinking, drugging, sleeping around (etc) as a follower of Christ? What do I do with the temptation I feel in all of these areas?

Temptation is a natural part of life whether you believe in Jesus or not. We all have areas where we struggle to know if we “should” or “shouldn’t” and if we decide to “how much” we should partake. The “should’s and shouldn’t’s” of life bang around in our brains like an outdated Maytag washer clanging for attention. We continue to answer them rather than simply throw them out. Its not about “shoulds” and “shouldn’t’s.”

Its also not about “right” and “wrong.” Whenever I hear women talk about the “right” and ”wrong” answers I immediately feel myself cringe. Schools teach right and wrong. Churches teach right and wrong. Families teach right and wrong. It’s a wonderful, simplistic way of looking at life. The only problem is, life is not always a matter of right or wrong. And when we relegate our answers to neat little categories of “right” and “wrong,” we remove any element of thought, feeling, and prayer from the equation and cease to be human.

So what IS the answer?

One of my counseling professors, Dr. Wickes, emphasizes the concept of “figure and ground” or “content and context.” Every tree has been grown from a specific type of soil just as every behavior has been birthed from a specific growth context. We always want to look at our behaviors, without first examining the motivation behind the behavior. That is like expecting the fruit of a tree to change without first examining the root! It will continue to produce bad fruit if you do not heal the root.

What, or who, made you the way you are today? What needs have been left unmet that you are struggling to have met with your behavior? What is crying out for attention in your hearts? What is the ROOT of your behavior?

It took you twenty years to get where you are, can you really expect “problematic” behaviors to change overnight? Healing and change take time, patience, and a lot of grace. They also take asking the right questions that lead to significant time and reflection as well as a motivation to change that is from a healthy self-esteem and self-concept.

Finding the Roots

Perhaps asking some of the following questions will take you farther down the road to behavioral change than simply trying to “get rid of” the behavior.

Ask yourself:

  1. What do you want and how is the behavior getting you closer to what you want?
  2. What feels like it is missing in your life? Is the behavior helping to fulfill something that is missing?
  3. Do you have a healthy support system who is willing to walk with you as you seek your answers? If not, I encourage you to find one. A safe community that will walk with you, and help you seek heart-level restoration for what you are struggling with (Gal 6:1 Amplified version)
  4. Are you trying to live your life by standards someone else has set for you?

    Example
    : Susie has decided not to drink because she has come from a long line of alcoholics. She has prayed through her decision and knows it is the best one for her spiritually, psychologically, and physically. Janie sees Susie’s behavior and decides that she will quit drinking too because it must be that Godly women do not drink. Besides, she really wants to be friends with Susie. Susie has made a Godly decision, Janie has made a decision because she wants to keep a friend.
  5. Are you continually fixing one “problematic” area of your life that seems to morph or rotate? When you fix your eating problem, does it show up as a drinking problem? When you fix your drinking problem, does it show up in a shopping-addiction? Often multiple “fruits” have a similar “root” – are you attempting to anesthetize or self-soothe? If so, why?

It has taken me a long time to begin healing from self-destructive actions not because I did not know the right “behaviors” but because I was not asking the right questions that led me to the source. My hope is that you will begin asking the right questions, and thus learn about yourself and your motivations, and perhaps find yourself one step closer to the abundant life you desire.


All writings copyrighted by author 11.11.2006 (c)

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Responses

  1. Jenny,
    This article reminds me of Heb.12:15…if we can figure out the “root” of our area of difficulty we perhaps can prevent bitterness from attaching itself to that area…when you’ve taken the Gk. let me know if this is a “command” rather than a suggestion. Love reading your work! Auntie E


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