Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't give up what you want most

Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now. WOW! What powerful words. This is something that I remind myself of on a daily basis because so many times, I have been tempted to satisfy the moment and have forgotten about the goal.  It’s a very common situation and I’m guessing that you have fallen into the same trap and have made a poor choice at one time or another. Maybe you do it on a daily basis.
For me, the best part of this quote is that the principle can be applied to almost every area of my life.  Spiritually, I want to grow in my walk with God and be more faithful, kind and loving, but sometimes, more often than I really want to admit, I let “other things” get in the way. There are days when I just don’t “feel like” praying, going to Mass, doing the “right” thing, helping others. There are days when I’d rather just sit in the lazy-boy in my pajamas, drink another cup of coffee, watch the morning news, and just SIT. There are days when I WANT to be selfish and do WHAT I WANT instead of considering the consequences. There are other days when I’d rather turn the radio on in the car on the drive to work, instead of have a conversation with God. There are days…like this past Sunday…when I’m tired and just “don’t want to” get dressed for church.  Sometimes, I even give in to “what I want” at that moment, and I forget what I really want most. But sometimes, like Sunday when I reluctantly got dressed and went to mass,  I discovered that I am especially blessed when we “do what we should rather than what we want.”
 In my job, I often see students that “give up what they want most” (namely, to graduate with good grades) because they decide that “going to the movies, partying with their friends, skipping class, procrastinating…..whatever” is what they want NOW. As a result, they fail a test, have to pull an all-nighter to write that paper, or worse, quit school.  I did that way back in the 80’s when I decided that “I wanted to work full-time” and decided to drop out of college. How many times have you wanted to just “call off work” and go shopping instead?
 In relationships, it happens way too often. Sometimes one or the other parties become “tempted” by the attention, flirtations, and advances of someone other than their spouse or significant other, and end up doing something that hurts their partner or destroys the relationship. All because they gave in to “what they wanted” at the moment, sometimes destroying the relationship in the process. Betrayal and broken trust is a very painful thing to deal with. I’ve been there and it’s no fun. These days, I fight temptations like this on a regular basis because now suddenly “people want to get to know Theresa”. Hmmm….new experience for me, but as flattering as it is, I know what I want most and don’t want to hurt others. We do this even with family and friends when we put “our own wants and desires,” “spend bill money on something we just couldn’t live without,” “choose to go out with our friends” several times a week, or allow “other things” to hurt the family dynamic.
 The biggest challenge for those of us on a journey to better health and wellness comes in the temptations we face each day regarding food, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, depression (whatever we battle). Sometimes, we don’t think we can resist that piece of cake, or we tell ourselves, “I’ll just have one cookie….or one drink…buy one lottery ticket….or smoke one cigarette” and before you know it, we’ve gone way too far off track. On a daily basis, actually SEVERAL TIMES A DAY, I have to remind myself that “what I want most” is to WALK…to keep my mobility for as long as possible…to keep my weight in check…to continue to bring hope to others….to continually get stronger in body and spirit, so that I can say “NO” to what I may want at the moment, aka that bag of potato chips and a bag of M & M’s.  Even though I know that I could….(probably)….eat a handful of chips or a cookie….and NOT gain weight overnight, I don’t trust myself, so I JUST WON’T/CAN’T do it! I don’t think that I would be able to stop at just one cookie. I don’t trust that I could control myself…..SO… I have to always WALK AWAY from what I might want….at that moment. 
SO?  How do I do it???? I don’t do it by my own power: GOD does it!  I ask Him for strength and I pray…lead me not into temptation…..BUT I HAVE TO DO MY PART TOO. How?  By avoiding situations where I might be “tempted.”  If I’m not feeling particularly strong, I’m not going to put myself in an environment where I will be surrounded by high-calorie food. If I know that I’m prone to depression or anxiety, I don’t hang around negative people or put myself in unnecessary  stressful situations; I don’t allow others to project their misery on me.  If I had a problem with alcohol, I’d stay away from situations where there is excessive drinking; I’d make new friends if I needed to.  If I were trying to quit smoking, I wouldn’t keep a pack of cigarettes in the glove box of the car…just in case, and I definitely….definitely….won’t buy sweets and junk food at the store or keep anything like that in my house.   God gives me strength…He will give you strength too….but i/we must do my/our part as well.
 So today….or the next time you are facing temptation…… ask yourself…. “What do I want MOST” and don’t give in to what you might THINK you want AT THE MOMENT.  Walk away my friends….YOU CAN DO IT!  We CAN and WE WILL change our lives!