A few days after I found out that I have a sensitivity to wheat and gluten, I had an appointment with my dear friend, acupuncturist, and Chinese medicine practitioner, Eric. We talked at length about how to cope with my new dietary restriction, and I remember he asked me what food I was going to miss the most now that gluten was my sworn enemy.
I grew up in the South where biscuits are almost as integral to the dining experience as a napkin or a spoon. Fluffy, buttery, hot, melt-in-your mouth biscuits. I can just taste ’em now…
But I learned I am gluten sensitive and suddenly, biscuits didn’t have a place in my kitchen. *sigh*
Because I know myself and know that I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl, I immediately knew that I could not halfway do it — eating an occasional bit of gluten as a treat. I had to banish gluten from my diet and my life completely. And for several months, that’s exactly what I did. I read every label. I researched every restaurant’s menu. As far as it was in my power to do, I was 100 percent gluten-free. Period.
I don’t remember what the first thing was. Probably something my coworkers brought into the office like pie or doughnuts. And I just had a bite! But then, the next time a coworker had a birthday, I had a tiny sliver of the cake. And the next time after that. And before too long, it became easy to convince myself that eating gluten was no big deal really. I mean, sure, my skin reaction is so bad that my fingers are splitting and bleeding, but it could be worse, right? At least I’m not going into anaphylactic shock or anything.
And then came the other physical consequences of eating gluten when you’re insensitive to it. Those led to a parade of trips to the naturopath and three rounds of expensive (and painful!) bloodwork. And then came the day that my doctor said, “Sarah, YOU CANNOT EAT GLUTEN. It’s not worth it.”
(Until my trip to North Carolina, where over the course of 9 days, I ate 5 biscuits. *sigh* I’m human, okay?!)
Long story, I know, but here’s the bottom line — when something is vital for our well-being, we can’t halfway commit to it. We have to go all in, or we might as well not go at all.
In this week’s chapter of Jerry Bridges’ Discipline of Grace, Bridges says:
“It is the INTENTION to please God in all our actions that is the key to commitment to a life of holiness. If we do not make such a commitment to obedience without exception, we will constantly find ourselves making exceptions. We will have a ‘just one more time’ syndrome in our lives. But the truth is, the ‘one more time’ manner of thinking undermines our commitment. Every time we give in to a temptation, even though it may seem small and insignificant to us, we make it easier to give in the next time. Sin has a tendency to exert an ever-increasing power on us if it is not resisted on EVERY occasion.” (Bridges, 153 emphasis mine)
The struggle is real, y’all. I want the dang biscuit! But it’s going to hurt me. I have to step away! And who has the power to do that? Not me! (When Heaven gave out willpower, I got confused and wandered out of line.) But I do have a choice to make a commitment and take a step, believing that hands are going to be there to help me do the heavy lifting.
This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Jerry Bridges’ book, “The Discipline of Grace.” Whether or not you’re reading the book, you’re welcome here! Make sure to go by and visit my co-facilitator, Jason. And if you have written a post about the chapter, you can link it up at the widget on his post.