On Quest – The C-R-A-V-E Challenge
February 4, 2019
Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Our verse this week calls us to stand in a posture of freedom because as Christians we were built for freedom, not captivity. Yet all too often we find ourselves stuck in habits that hinder, anxieties that alienate, and addictions that destroy.
Do any of those struggles describe you at the moment?
Statistics don’t lie—7 in 10 Americans engage in life-shortening bad habits; 40 million over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety; and on average 24 million are currently addicted to food, alcohol, and/or drugs.*
With a background in wellness and life coaching, and an overwhelming amount of personal experience in this area, my spiritual mission in life is to help others find ways to get beyond the cravings that cripple, and the anxieties that keep us from living the lives we were designed to live.
With that in mind, we are going On QUEST—a journey of conquest because we are called to be conquerors in this life (Romans 8:37).
Some struggle with bad habits, anxiety, and addiction as a result of trauma. But for many of us, poor coping is often due to passivity, ignorance, and distraction. What once felt like a minor deviation can quickly become a well-worn path of captivity.
Consequently, tension or incongruence of the soul is a by-product of living. We are constantly seeking reward but in all the wrong places. We are unaware of deep-seated needs that are driving our behavior. As a result, we sense an internal discord with the heart of God creating a conflict of consciousness.
Truth be told, our life is a battlefield. Although it looks more like a playground than a minefield, don’t be fooled. It’s a minefield for certain. Each mine is tailor-made to trip you up. They are subtle at first but intentionally targeted to hit the weaknesses that eventually cripple and confine.
In response, soul integrity is the goal of our quest. Simply stated, soul integrity is the harmony of self and spirit. It is the space that aligns the physical to the spiritual, making what we think, believe, and do come into agreement. This is where we experience contentment and peace. Some of which we could all use more of!
With the goal of our QUEST—soul integrity—at the helm, we will embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal application using a simple tool of 5 choices. The acronym we will use to help us remember this tool spells C-R-A-V-E. It looks like this:
C-ommit To Pray
R-eplace Feelings With Faith
E-ngage New Behaviors
Everyone will have a unique C-R-A-V-E challenge. Each response will be different given the diversity of biology, environment, and experience because we all come to the table with different cards. Show them or not, they will be revealed by your behavior.
In order to teach this tool, and create your own unique C-R-A-V-E Challenge, I will walk you through one choice each week. You will learn the posture it requires and how to use it in the moment of temptation or tension.
Although the mechanics of this tool are simple, change is not. It rubs against our natural inclination for immediate gratification. The reality is, we only have split seconds to change our mind and our behavior when we are presented with a craving cue. If we don’t stop and reverse the process in that very critical moment, we will fall to old behaviors every time.
Even so, we sometimes make this harder than it is. My advice—just change something. If you are aware of your split-second when it presents itself, you have a chance to do something different. Making a different response will put an unexpected cog in the reward loop, and change the end result.
Initially, doing something different will create chaos and you might even experience sensations of pain—physical, mental, and emotional pain. This is the natural order of transformation. You will wear down, get distracted, let your guard down because you are just too tired to fight. The process can be very uncomfortable. Expect it.
But if you can stick it out and make it through those tough moments, you will find yourself on the other side of change and closer to transformation. This tool is about giving yourself a chance. A chance for change.
Please remember, this is not about willpower. This process is about HISpower. This journey is also not about perfection. It’s about progression. Our goal is to learn new patterns of coping by practicing targeted choices in the moments of temptation. And over time, these new patterns will become a beautiful new normal.
And that is our C-R-A-V-E challenge. I’m so excited to walk through this with you.
Lord God, I ask for your divine protection as we embark on this quest of personal discovery and transformation. Prepare us for this process. Give us wisdom, and the courage to follow you even when it’s uncomfortable. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
This week ask yourself some questions of discovery. Do you feel God is calling you higher in some area? Perhaps it’s a place that feels out of sync? Out of Balance?
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of bad habits, anxieties, and addictions each of us can benefit from making better choices that align with who we were created to be. If you are on board, pick one habit, anxiety, or addiction to target. Keep it in mind as we journey beyond our cravings.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed and ON QUEST. I see freedom in your future!
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50). Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/ data/;The United Health Foundation, “America’s Health Rankings Spotlight: Impact of Unhealthy Behaviors”-newsmax.com, January 14, 2019; 8 Facts About Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders By Sean P. Egen posted on January 10, 2015 in Mental Health; https://www.psychguides.com/guides/food-addiction/