Monday, July 2, 2012

Poop in the brownies

A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13.

The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family's church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it. The cons were that it contained ONLY 3 profane words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time they said), and act of intimacy was ONLY implied. The pros were that it was a popular movie - a blockbuster.  Everyone was seeing it.  If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. The movie's stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several awards.

Many of the members of their Christian church had even seen the movie and said it wasn't "very bad".  Therefore, since there were more pros than cons the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.

The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; "Now we've got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can't turn us down!"  So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.

The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat a brownie then he would let them go to the movie.  But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.

The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.

The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well - they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed.

Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a "little bit of poop" and not be affected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with "just a little bit of smut" and not be affected.
Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling smugly as they left the room.
Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to the father just asks, "Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?"

JT told this story many years ago to the students at our church. It has never left my mind. And, I find myself thinking about it now. What's a little extra dessert going to hurt? It's only a little. A few extra calories today won't undo all the work I've done so far. It's not a big deal. Do you hear my justifications? I do, and I KNOW that I cannot go down that road.

Let me be clear. There is nothing inherently wrong in sweets, but I have rules that govern when and what I can eat to keep me out of trouble.

1. I cannot eat alone. If I want a sweet, I need to be with someone who knows my struggles and can hold me accountable. It was definitely easier to eat a few sweets on our vacation in Cancun because JT was with me...he knew how much I had run that day and we shared only three times...a very small dessert.
2. I cannot eat a sweet after 7 at night. I have NO way (or no intention) of getting rid of those sweet calories before going to bed, so I'll just drink some green tea and go to sleep.
3. I will not eat on a whim. Just this week my girls were baking delicious cinnamon rolls for their business. The house smelled amazing. But, I posted my thoughts on Facebook, and my friends stepped in to encourage and challenge me!
4. I will seek accountability when I know that I'm tempted. If I have not planned to eat something, I will find something else to do or call a friend.

These rules are mine because I will spiral down a road that is ugly. Once I eat something sweet, I want MORE, MORE, MORE! I don't want to stop. So, these guidelines help me to honor Christ with my body.

What about you? Do you have any guidelines that help you to exercise self-control in regard to food/exercise? I would love to hear yours!


David said...

Was talking about this Saturday. For me, I have to guard against compulsion with food. If I crave chinese food all of a sudden, I don't order it. It is an automatic "no." I have found for me that giving in to that moment of what I am hungry for or craving leads to a sense of entitlement in the big picture, that if I want something then I should be able to have it. I am not saying chinese food is bad, I just have to schedule ahead of time what I am going to eat to put it in the category of planned versus impulse.

nelliew311 said...

A friend told me once that there is no substitute for paying attention and so it is true for me with food. Like you, I have guidelines I keep to and stay away from out of plan food. I love sweets, but if my spiritual and/or emotional condition is not good I will abuse it so the importance of paying attention to where I am at is important when making decisions to eat sweets or anything off plan.

Thank you, Sheryl, for always being true to yourself and taking me on your journey. I'm sure you are not talking directly to me, but it sometimes feels like you are and it recharges me every time. I'm so grateful for the work the Lord is doing in both of us!