Off of Sugar and Scared to Death

It was as clear as day. I heard the voice of God. It was a loud and strong voice. The Bible says that “He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep and the sheep know the sound of the Shepherd’s voice”. As one who has walked with God since 1973, I knew that it was Him.

I was on vacation in beautiful Sedona, Arizona with my family. It was Friday morning, July 22, 2005. I was walking from my villa to a morning Jazzercise class. We were checking out of the villa that morning after a wonderful weeklong vacation. The only down-side of the vacation was the massive amounts of sugar that I consumed while devouring my Aunt’s marvelous desserts. I indulge myself in these once a year, so it is o.k., I tell myself. I do have to battle that sick, groggy, hungover and bloated feeling the next day. But perhaps, I will exercise more and I can certainly begin my diet again tomorrow. Usually when I leave vacation, 6 pounds heavier, I am filled with self-contempt and self-loathing, but hey, I will start my diet tomorrow.

Back to the voice…. As I was walking up the hill, this is what I heard, “Jennifer, stop eating sugar. Stop now. I cannot take you to the next level if you do not stop.” That was all. I wondered why God had been so silent on this vacation. Maybe He needed to be so that I would hear Him when He finally did speak. I was taken aback. At first I was scared, then relieved because I figured that I COULD stop this time because God would never command me to do something that I didn’t have the ability to do. I was surprised at the difference between His voice and my own. I had told myself a million times before that I needed to stop eating sugar. We all know that it is a killer, that its consumption leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc. In fact in my home we have a mantra that we say almost every day. “Sugar is evil”. It has never had the power to make me stop. What would be different this time?

How would I respond to this external voice, not just me telling myself something, but the Creator of all things speaking to me from outside of myself? If I betrayed my own voice, “Oh well, no lives lost”, but what would be the consequence if I dared to disobey the voice of God? That thought frightened me. I knew that He meant NOW, not tomorrow when the vacation officially ended, not next week when I went back to work, but right this minute. YIKES, He was requiring instant obedience. I can’t remember being in that situation before. No excuses, no arguing, no procrastinating. NOW means NOW. Could I really do what God was asking me to do? And if so, how would I do it? What came to me was the Nike slogan, “Just so it!” So I began my journey of obedience to My Father. It has been 46 days and I am beginning to get it. In the beginning, I experienced the following:

  • Boredom, without the food drama that has been a focal point of my life for decades
  • Depression, nothing to look forward to, no fun way to celebrate
  • Anger at being deprived of the one substance that I love the most
  • Agitation and restlessness, not quite knowing what to do with myself, especially in the evenings
  • Anxiety that I would have to face my problems head on instead of medicating them away
  • Sadness at the loss of a life-long friend

And HOW exactly was this taking me to the “next level”?

I have concluded that it is about surrender, about “dying to self”, to what I want, about relinquishing control. Finally it is about what Elizabeth Elliot calls the “consolation of obedience”.

Stay tuned for part II next month….

 This article is by Jennifer Cecil, M.Ed., LPC