Several years ago, a dietitian friend who was helping me to lost weight gave me these words of wisdom:
Your body craves what you feed it.
That becomes one of the major challenges of changing eating habits, the cravings that you cannot seem to stop thinking about for the food you used to eat.
So, if you are like me and love chocolate, then when you deprive yourself of that treat you will crave just one tiny square of a Hershey bar.
Then that creates a spiral effect, where you keep thinking and thinking about what you are craving until you finally give in.
The point being, it takes time, awareness, and diligence to develop new patterns of eating and put the old ones to death.
I bring this up because it occurred to me that our Self is similar to our stomach.
The Self will crave more of what you feed it.
If I build up my false self by seeking validation and appreciation from others (see The Reflected Sense of Self), then the Self will crave more affirmation.
If my false self is supported by a role (like wife, father, pastor, or problem solver), then the Self will demand more and more from that role.
You get the picture. Example after example could be used for how we crave to sustain body image, sexuality, productivity, wealth, or anything that will support the false self and cover our sense of shame. (see The Solution for Shame)
Like changing eating patterns, changing the source of our identity from the things of the world to being in Christ takes time, awareness, diligence, and discipline. The more we dwell on the cravings of the false self – old, comfortable patterns of behavior, former sources of security, false sense of significance, or the kingdom we built apart from God – the more we will want to gratify that old nature.
The apostle Paul knew this when he wrote to the Colossian church to
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:2
Developing an identity in Christ requires that we continually – in every thought and word and deed – have our mind set on things above. So that our Self – the true self in Christ – will determine our craving. This requires diligence, discipline and someone with whom to partner. It also requires us to fully live in the grace and forgiveness of the Father as we make mistakes.
What obstacles keep you from having your mind set on things above? How can you minimize those obstacles?
I work with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.
Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.