As many of you know, I am in the process of giving up Diet Dr. Pepper…well, specifically aspartame…but what that means is that I am giving up my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. Also, as many of you know, I was poisoned a few years ago. How are these two things related? Well, I’m glad you asked!
When we were poisoned 6 years ago,one of the major side-effects was that I became allergic to 90% of my diet. Eating became an ordeal. I couldn’t eat out anywhere, it isolated me socially, and I was bitter. REALLY bitter. As in Naomi in the book of Ruth…you may call me “Mara” bitter…I was so very bitter…with a side of anger…and a good dose of righteous indignation also. It was a dark place. I felt at the time like I was losing everything: my health, my relationships, food, social interactions to any degree, my family, my mind…it was all-consuming. So, being the control-freak that I was, I determined that there was going to be something that was off-limits…something that nobody would take from me…and, it couldn’t be made of real food because I was allergic to real food: broccoli, cherries, nuts, green beans, pears, cranberries, oranges, spinach, wheat, oats, soy, yeast, sugar…yeah…everything that is real food that people eat…I was allergic to it…for years…and had to take 9 shots in my stomach every 4 days for over 2 years to get those foods back…did I mention that I was bitter? So, I decided that Diet Dr. Pepper, which has no real ingredients in it, was going to be my thing…my thing that nobody could take from me. It was a crutch for me…it gave me a sense of power…much like an eating disorder…it wasn’t about what I was consuming…it was about how I had something that only I could control. Nobody else was allowed an opinion about it. It was MINE!
Slowly though, I was healing and getting back different foods. Even after I quit praying about it, God continued to heal me. Even where my faith in him stopped, he continued to work in me. Today, I have back every single food item except for cherries…not so coincidently, it was the only food item that I didn’t take antigen injections for. But I have remained emotionally and physically addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. I have certainly had a physical dependency where aspartame is concerned but…more than that…it was my crutch…my control…it was MINE! I felt comfort through having it because I controlled my world through this. The man who poisoned me didn’t get to dictate everything about my existence. However, I am ashamed to say that I was not letting Jesus have this part of me. Through gentle proddings from the Holy Spirit as well as some extremely gentle prodding from wonderful friends (Stephanie, Lisa, Stan, Nic, Carrie, Susan, and several others) I gave up all aspartame 4 days ago. Not on my own power, but because God has brought me to a point where I don’t still need the crutch. I am stronger now physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have support from people around me who, for some reason, are invested in me even though I don’t see some of them face-to-face EVER!
So, I’m wondering…do you have a crutch? Is there something that you have made off-limits to God? Is there an area where you need encouragement and prayer? I’m here and understand the value of encouragement if you need it.