Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On Deprivation, Determination, and Victory


Regular readers of this blog may remember that I have gone on a sort of Sue-styled, Lentish sugar fast for the past three or so weeks in an effort to reverence and celebrate Easter with deepened intent this year. Not that I'm counting or anything, but I have 18 days to go before I can indulge in the sweet confection of my choice.

Delaying my personal gratification in this way has been more difficult than anticipated. The truth is, I don't eat much sugar anyway, certainly not on a daily basis, so I had mistakenly believed this would be a relatively easy thing for me to do. Contrary to my expectations, however, I am feeling the pain! This may have much to do with the fact that I've attended several special occasions and events where amazing desserts were served, desserts I would not have abstained from under any circumstances. Surprisingly, the desserts have not shattered my resolve (a blatant promise to the Lord is not one I care to break), but being deprived of such goodies...even voluntarily...has made me feel bad. When tasty treats are being passed around, I want to partake of them. It's human nature, isn't it? We all want our piece(s) of the pie, and not getting my piece seems unfair somehow, even when I have placed the temporary restriction on myself.

This interesting experience has put me firmly in touch with my feelings about unfairness in general...the kind life hands out with impunity and a certain randomness. We don't always get what we deserve, and we don't always deserve what we get. Injustice is a fact of life...and many of the restrictions we encounter are not ones we have placed upon ourselves. Sometimes we've done everything we could or should do, and our piece of the pie goes to someone else, or falls on the ground, or doesn't have any fruit in it. This result not only makes us feel bad, it makes us feel ill-used, powerless, even defeated...singled out for disappointment and frustration.

Here's where the good lessons learned from delayed gratification (voluntary or involuntary) come into play. We learn that change really does come to those who wait. We learn to redirect our focus from what we don't have now to what we may well have in the future. We even learn, if we are willing, to take action that will support the future we want...and to keep taking that action until the future we want becomes a reality. It's pretty simple, really. Disappointment can renew or undo us. The choice is ours.

When life doesn't hand us a piece of the pie, it's up to us to decide if we want it badly enough to go get it...to claim it and make it ours. Happily, we can use all of our God-given talents to make that happen. We can also petition the Lord's help, remembering all the while that the very best piece of pie is already ours, freely given. Death has no sting. The grave has no victory. And Somebody up there is more than looking out for us.

Which makes never, never, never giving up seem a whole lot easier.

=)

25 comments:

karen said...

We're back. Will post later about our adventures. Yes, it's amazing the hold sugar has on us - even just a small amount of it. Probably because its in EVERYTHING. But I detect undertones, so catch me up, my friend.

Amy said...

Beautiful sentiments! Waiting is hard, and deprivation even self inflicted is never an easy thing. But yes, there is always help, and yes, the biggest part has already been taken care of.

As Sistas in Zion said...

"Disappointment can renew or undo us." Love that thought! Sometimes it can be so hard to keep your head up in the face of unfairness, but you are right if we use it as a constant reminder of what our goal is and rely on God, we can do it. If no one will give us the pie, or they keep taking away the pie that was promised to us, we'll bake our own dang pie! Great post.

BEAR's Mom said...

Sue this is a great post...
I'm reading lots into it
it's more than sugar or pie
Renew or undo...our choice!
Great post...
~victoria~

jen said...

You've done much better than I have. Somehow, this has been so hard for me. Thanks for a little reminder.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

I'm battling with this right now!!!! The sugar thing, not so much the fairness thing! :)

Jess said...

That's one of the things I struggle with the most- I totally deserve my dang kid pie, and somehow a 17 year old ends up with it every time.

You always have the best advice on the 'how' part of being good, and learning from trials. Thanks for sharing it with me- so I can try to be as smart and cool as you.

Roger and LeAnn said...

Thanks for your post! What you wrote rings true. I admire you for going with out sweets. I went off chocolate for a week and I felt like I was going to die without it. I have chornic cough and my husband thinks it is an allergy to chocolate. I am still pondering on that thought.
Blessings to you! LeAnn

Grandma Honey said...

I think one of the biggest trials of our human nature is watching those who get what they don't deserve. or not get what they do deserve. I remember 26 years ago when I was going through a very difficult unexpected pregnancy and someone trying to comfort me said, "Well Heavenly Father must really think you are a good mother to keep sending you babies." Nice thought, but I knew it didn't work that way. One doesn't have to look far to see teenage unmarried girls getting pregnant. Yet, still, I know He is always there and ready to help us. My mother use to say to me, "If we all got what we deserved, there would be no point in testing us. We would just 'choose the right' to get rewarded."

Lisalulu said...

This was a wonderful read. Very personal for you and others. I found 3 Wisdom quotes! and I'm going to print it out for my taping them to my computer.

Stacy Crawford said...

What a great insite. I needed to hear this today. :)

Dixie Mom said...

I love the way you think. I think this type of abstinence would teach me a thing or two as well. We can do hard things! I don't think anyone realizes how much sugar they intake every day.
18 more days...you can make it!

Cherie said...

I find it very hard to deprive myself of the things I want, but I very much agree that delayed gratification helps us to learn how powerful we are. We can learn to do anything - we are in control!
Good luck with the no sugar - i think that is a super hard one.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. i like your lesson...dont usually eat much sugar myself...coffee would be the more painful fast...but fruit as well...love my fruit desserts...

Wendy said...

Great insights. Thanks for the perspective shift.

Stef said...

You are my hero. For sure. I need to do some giiving up...stretching to unstretch...

Alan Macfarlane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna M said...

looks like your dessert has been more than just sugar.

this was great.

Farmer's Wyfe said...

How true and helpful. I just need to remember this when I'm watching somebody else eat my piece of pie. :S My husband gets this feeling a lot at his job b/c he is such a hard worker and his co-workers...well, they aren't on the same level of diligence. I feel like I'm constantly listening to him and having to remind him that God sees his good work and will reward him in His own way and time.
My mom did a sweets fast for a whole year one time. I don't know that I could do that!! It sure made me have a lot of respect for her keeping a commitment though! Good for you for your sweets fast!! Even a week would be HARD for me!!

Joy For Your Journey said...

Beautiful post. I totally agree with you and your words of encouragement.

And good luck with your no sugar decision. I am not sure I could do that. I can go without sugar as long as I know I have a choice to eat it later if I want to. But one day my friend challenged me to not eat sugar for a week and I lasted about three hours and then ate 7 cookies. Once I removed myself from the challenge though, I easily went without the sugar. I guess I just don't like feeling I can't have something--which brings me back to your post. :-)

Lisa Loo said...

I found this absolutely fascinating. I have thought about lowering the sugar in my diet and never thought about it having those kind of repercussions!

I understand that this was about much more than that though and beautifully and thoughtfully said as usual.

yaya said...

I'm struggling with the no sugar..doing better some days than others, but not giving up..but I can tell that the no sugar post is just the frosting on what ever cake you're trying to get your head around. Beautifully written Sue. Hopefully Easter will bring us all the renewal we truly are looking for.

Jenny said...

Great post. I find the older I get, the more I can do without. You?

Darlene said...

Wow! I'm not sure I could go that long so I would never even try. I do limit myself to desserts and candy to only on Sunday, but for some reason the past two weeks have made me go off this. Probably because we have had a lot of company for dinners and I always have desert. I know we would all be better off without so much sugar, but life would be a bit too boring, I think. I will soon be 85 (well okay, not for a whole year) but I think that when I reach that age I will do like Sister Hinkley did when she decided that when she reached 85, she would never go on a diet and would eat whatever she wanted every day of the life left for her.

michelle said...

I can relate to this a little. Because of my health, the usual fast is not so feasible, so I fast from treats/snacks pretty much every Sunday. It's interesting how deprivation can make the heart grow stronger, as it were...that I want those treats more than day. There are also many family gatherings on that day, so it can be hard not to join in the dessert eating.

Thanks for your reflections.

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