Soul Cravings (or…why Lent is rocking my world)

We are only a week and a half away from Easter – the celebration of the eternity-altering moment where Christ rose and defeated death, won this wicked Gentile back to Himself, created a place for me in His family. What an incredibly joyous day.

But there are still 11 days until the sun rises on Easter morning.

Do you observe Lent? It’s a hallowed and rich church tradition – forty days of choosing to walk a solemn road, choosing to sacrifice, choosing to be exposed in our weakness. When Lent began this year, I had a thought that I should give up sugar. I fought it. I ignored it.
But three days into the Lenten journey, the Holy Spirit showed me with such utter conviction that this thought was God’s thought for me. The past several weeks have been astounding. I have realized that food (and specifically sugar) has a strong hold on my heart. I have also realized how much my sugar addiction has been hurting this temple that Christ dwells in. Since stopping sugar, and without changing a single other thing, I have lost almost 10 lbs.

The first few weeks weren’t that difficult. My body rather quickly adjusted to all the foods I love sans sugar. Coffee being one of the most paramount. I had the fleeting thought that I might get through Lent without much of a challenge.
Did I say fleeting?

The last week I have found myself utterly craving. I want sugar so bad I find myself pacing in front of the pantry, or opening the fridge several times – looking for the thing I so desperately want. Over and over again I am reminded of my weakness – of the sinful man being put to death daily. I am sent running back to the cross of Christ, back to the arms of a Savior who understands me and has compassion on me.

More than a simple craving for sugar, however, I have been surprised to find myself craving worldliness…sin. Almost a year ago I came out of a very dark place. My escape in those darkest months was found in reading – voracious, all-consuming reading. There wasn’t a moment of the day that you couldn’t find me without a Kindle in hand. I started out with what are (for me) “gateway drugs” – sweet Christian romance novels. Running out of those fairly quickly, I started reading non-Christian, but still (fairly) clean romance novels. But over time that slippery slope led me into erotica. I devoured hundreds of these books. I am so grateful that God rescued me.

But recently? The cravings to escape into easy, cheap words has been strong.
I am not sure why. Perhaps it is because I am feeling the stress of the changes happening in my little world. I think at least a part of it is spiritual backlash from writing this blog.
I hear that siren song often throughout my day, but especially right as the children go down for their afternoon naps. Alone in the house – it would take 10 minutes to download a library book onto my Kindle. My husband would never have to know. I would only read one. I could stop whenever I wanted to. Besides, I deserve a break.

And then, I look over at my dining table, and I see this –

Picture credit

I see a daily reminder of the sacrifice Christ made – of the cross He has called me to bear along with Him.

And so I take dirty dishes to the sink and begin to wash. I sit and compose a card to a dear friend far away. I began to busy myself with the work of following Christ – by serving my family, loving those He sends my way. I fight sin with work – I fight it with busy hands and a busy heart. I fight it with prayer – prayer for you.

I am praying for you today, ladies. I have started a journal filled with the names of all the women that have written on this blog – and I plan on letting you know when God brings you to mind. I plan on sending out a message to you via Twitter when I pray (and I promise I will never give away your name, I will only use the alias you have written under). Feel free to follow me if you would like.

And please keep me in prayer also. Some days the fight is very hard. I cannot tell you how much I rely on the prayers of the Body of Christ.

What about you? What sings a siren song to you? How do you fight the good fight?

Kept in Him,
Annabel

21 thoughts on “Soul Cravings (or…why Lent is rocking my world)

  1. In reading your sincere testimony with temptation, this verse from my reading yesterday came to mind, “Everyone will be salted with fire,” Mark 9:49. Writing for Him in the powerful topic of sexuality may bring you to the Prince of this worlds notice. Never doubt that you are gleaming white to the creator because of Christ. Always know you are imparting HIS encouragement in your blog, not just your own, because of your fervent prayers. You are also in my prayer journal, sweet friend. I pray over those who visit me, too. Keep marching forth, sister soldier!

  2. Praying for strength for you! When Satan attacks I always know I’m doing something right. Thank you for sharing your struggles and reminding me that I am not alone.

  3. Thanks for the insight about your struggles. I understand the one with romance books. I think I use it as an escape because I have a higher drive than my husband and I don’t want to fight with him about fulfilling needs that I have. Satan uses lots of lies to justify sin. I would appreciate your prayers concerning this and will be praying for you as well!

  4. Thank you so much for this!! It really spoke to my heart today. I smoke and have wanted to quite for quite some time. Your words have helped me realize I can do this and who I need to trust to get me through this!!! I am praying for you as well. Thanks for your heart and words!

    Mandi

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Man, I’m sad I missed celebrating Lent with you now. I honored that tradition for years before we joined a different denomination. I struggle with both of the addictions that you mentioned. The reading on I’m good on unless I read anything scandalous. The second I fight every second of every day, losing at least once a day. Thanks for sharing. I am setting myself a goal of stopping when my husband leaves on deployment. We’ll see how it goes.

  6. Wow! I too have been convicted about what my eyes read – knowing full well my soul absorbs… Thank you for your bravery here and for your words – they have encouraged me to the next step – cleaning off my book shelves!

  7. Very interesting and vulnerable, Annabel. I’m so glad you shared this and I pray that it helps others, but also helps you to break-through this stronghold in your life. I’m convinced confession brings healing!

    So many of us have areas that we “idolize.” Yours just happens to be one that is perhaps less socially acceptable (at least among Christians). But it’s a burgeoning area where Satan is running rampant in lives and marriages all over our country and world. Thanks for sharing so openly and redemptively. I’d love for you to link it up at Wedded Wednesday at my blog – Messy Marriage, if you’re interested. 🙂

  8. Thanks for your encouragement! As an author I know the lure of words and erotica can be very tempting when well-written. I pray for you as you pray for others sister. God bless you for your service!

    Ersula

  9. I didn’t give up anything this Lent because I was pregnant… but I should’ve given up sugar. Now that I’ve had the baby, all my old cravings are coming back – hard. When I’m having a hard day, I want something sweet to fill me up but I should be turning to God instead. Thanks for sharing this post, and blessings on the last 11 days of Lent!

  10. This may be a bit off topic, but for over 2 years now, my husband and I have yet to find a home church. It’s a long story, but just know that your blogs are the best sources of “church” community that I have. They convict me, reveal me, and strengthen me. You are very much appreciated in my heart.

    God bless.

  11. Thank you for being brave enough to share this. It’s tough to talk about our temptations. But it’s encouraging when we know we’re not alone. God’s love is stronger! His grace is bigger! His power is MORE! ❤ A blessed Holy Week to you. 🙂

  12. I started giving up sweets for Lent as a child & over the years I started to notice that Lent was emotionally my best time of year–I was less irritable/moody/stressed. So I started cutting back on sweets the rest of the year too–cutting the sugar in recipes in half when I did use it & limiting sweets to once a week (or less). Now Lent is no longer emotionally my best time of year because the whole year has gotten better :).

  13. Wow. Just wow. Thank you for becoming vulnerable to help others today. The Lord has been showing me various shortcomings in my life lately as well. Yikes! They hurt, because that is where I find my comfort. I am so thankful that the Lord has mercy on us, and his compassions are new every morning. There are many rough edges to smooth, but Praise the Lord, He is willing to do it! Great post 🙂

  14. My husband and I have been moving more in a direction where we’re recognizing God’s call, becoming obedient, and taking the steps to follow where God’s leading. Of course, the enemy isn’t thrilled about this, and he’s stepped up his game–the spiritual warfare is getting more obvious. As my husband says, “We must be doing something right!” Otherwise, Satan wouldn’t be so worried about fighting against us. As you’re growing in your marriage and faith, Satan will use whatever means he can to get you to slip up, especially in “small” ways–sweets, romance novels, etc. Keep fighting! You’re obviously doing something right. ; )

  15. Wow, thank you for sharing your struggles. I struggled with something very similar shortly before getting married. It is always nice to know that you are not alone, and of Christ’s sacrifice. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Sugar also weakens the immune system, so there are some very real health benefits that going without it for Lent can bring. May God give you the strength to honor Him in this way.

    Am still praying for you and each of the ladies here, that God would renew (or see a beginning!) intimacy with your spouses in your marriages.

  17. While this is not something I am giving up for Lent, I am in a process of letting go of frustration when the two little people in my life are hard to deal with. It’s a pattern I’ve learned, one I watched excused in so many families, this idea that it’s okay to lose my patience with my kids, especially when they don’t do what I want them to do. But it’s not okay. It’s not God’s design based on the sheer fact that patience IS a fruit of the spirit. So, I am in the process of learning how to parent from a place of peace. I am learning how to have my spirit rule over my emotions when things are getting crazy. I fail. And I apologize to my kids. And I ask Jesus to cover my shortcomings with His blood, transform me, and heal my kiddos’ hearts. I have hope that He can make me new because of the sacrifice He has made to transfer me from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.

  18. Oh thank you for this! They area is my weakness as well. I have tried to control it by limiting what I read, but it’s just too easy to get. I’ve put my kindle down for the rest of Lent after slipping last week. This beast is bigger than I am and I definitely cannot take in on under my own strength…thank you for the prayers. Found your blog via To Love Honor and Vacuum.

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