Putting the Brakes on Temptation

In my single years, I had a situation with a potential suitor that was foggy, funky, and altogether non-descript (sound familiar?).  We’d  hang out every so often but he appeared to have no intentions of dating me seriously.  A wise, older woman who knew of this years-long saga asked me why I was still in communication with him – why didn’t I just ask him to stop calling me, even as occasionally as it was? I told her I felt weak to have to set up a boundary like that.  I mean, if I was a strong woman, surely I could handle his sporadic phone calls without drawing some definitive line between us.  She said to me, “You aren’t weak for putting up a boundary.  Boundaries can make you stronger.”

Fast forward to our Releasity graduation last week when Sarah Duncan, RN and Wellness Coach for Carolinas Healthcare System, spoke to our 2016 graduates. She gave us practical tips for dealing with temptation and mentioned a self-defense expert who was on TV years ago.  She learned a prominent lesson from this man (who shall  remain nameless because I sadly can’t remember his name at this point).  The self-defense expert would talk of putting “time and distance between you and your perpetrator”.  She said it’s the same with the trigger foods or trigger situations that tempt us to overeat and then she gave examples from her own life of how she puts time or distance between her and food or situations that tempt her.  A week later, I’ve recognized multiple opportunities to put time and distance between temptations and myself.  Here are a few:

  • Facebook: I log out when I’m finished.  I don’t even have a Facebook app on my phone (or heaven forbid, notifications…). That puts a little time between Mark Z’s invention and me the next time I want to “escape” to it and waste time.
  • My phone: Last night before bed, I put it inside a cabinet, trusting that my husband’s phone would be available in case we had midnight intruders (this “safety” excuse is why I keep it by my bed at night – and am consequently tempted to check it first thing in the morning).
  • Then there was the yummy banana bread that my overnight guest brought us last weekend. Sitting in mere tin foil on my kitchen counter leaves very little time and distance between us. Instead, I put the foil-wrapped bread inside a Ziploc bag (+time) and then put it BEHIND the snacks in my pantry (+distance). The next time I want to amble toward it for an unnecessary treat, the mere time and distance it takes to get to it might afford me a few minutes to reconsider my choice.
  • Lastly, there was Qdoba on Sunday.  I had eaten to my satisfaction/fullness level before my table mates.  Instead of continuing to graze/pick at my burrito and chips, I went to the counter and asked for a box AND A BAG (+time, +distance) so I could take it home and save it for later when I would surely feel hunger again.

What’s your temptation? Where do you want to consider putting some time and distance between you and the “perpetrator” so you will reconsider what is tempting you?  After all, boundaries can be signs of strength, not weakness!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 

James 4:7

Steven Mast