What to do with Temptation


mom, baby, and dogIt’s a universal truth that women have spiritual moments in the shower. I made that up, but still I bet it’s mostly true. She can think she’s about to take another regular shower, though they be rare, and then she finds herself weeping or having major life-changing epiphanies. It has to be something to do the water coming down, how things wash off, how we’re finally alone there, where tears aren’t an embarrassment. It all just goes down the drain, and then we get out, put on makeup, big-girl panties, clothes, and dangly earrings, and we move on. Sometimes we don’t have the quiet again until the next shower.

This hasn’t happened for me in a while because my youngest is at the age where he’s standing outside the shower screaming, “Mama, hold you!”  Even still, once again, this cute little dog, Lucy, has afforded me a few unexpected quiet moments, because she needs to walk. It’s the perfect excuse to slip out of the chaos. The few minutes it takes to walk the block and listen to the birds is apparently a healthy thing to do. I’m learning to not take my phone on these walks, too, and that helps increase my likelihood of gaining a little peace.

This past weekend I worked very hard on writing and rewriting some things, and by virtue of writing, I spent a lot of time in my own head. I always get a hangover from that. The next day I feel like I had spent 15 hours straight in a tiny car with no air conditioner. I need a full day of nothingness to recover. Nevertheless, the newly formed habit to pray the Lord’s Prayer has sneaked up from first thing in the morning and into the middle of the day, and at night. Maybe it’s prayer intwined with meditation.

I was walking this dog and wishing I wasn’t wearing skinny jeans, when my mind slipped into “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver.” I say it again and again.This makes me sound super spiritual, I know, and I might be, but just know that my mind has a bouncy ball in it. I’m all “Squirrel!” about fifty times a minute, especially while I’m praying. There must be a prayer muscle.

One of the brain squirrels I had on that walk was a pleasing vision of my life, some very enjoyable things I have coming up that might lead to other very enjoyable things. I imagined how it would all go, and I slipped into imagining all the ways I would benefit in the future. In my lovely daydream, people from all over the world began to know my name  and my words became more and more powerful. I was on my way to a throne, my glory. I wasn’t doing this on purpose, mind you, and immediately I jerked my thoughts back and hated myself for them. I called myself a terrible friend, selfish, unworthy, so many names. I walked  along a row of creep myrtles and nearly into a vortex of fatalism, leading straight to the belief that I will never be holy. I almost decided to become invisible.

I was tempted, and in it, I began to feel paralyzed in the lie that I am not transforming, and when you believe that you aren’t transforming, you are so much more likely to give in. My temptations (and they are many) stacked up like a great list, condemning.

But then the bouncy ball – “for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.” I literally stopped in the road. I felt the power of God, and I knew Him to say, “There you go, girl. Get it.” I had not sinned.

So I fought. I do not want the kingdom. It is not mine. Thank goodness. Nor the glory. Nor the power. I filled with gratitude and praise, too. I felt it like the weight of a thousand generations of lies lifting. It was more than an epiphany. It was freedom. It was releasing the fear that I will become the worst version of myself if I am successful. It seems I fear doing well more than I fear being a flop.

The guilt of temptation can be just as heavy as the guilt of acting things out, if we don’t take action against the temptation. There’s no neutral answer in the desert when the snake is offering the divine. Remember what we know. Kingdom Come.

Let’s chat about temptation over here on Facebook!

amberhaines
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