The Cycle of Deprivation...

Isaiah 64:6
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

You've done it, I've done it. There's a food, habit, or thing you know needs to come out of your life and so you vow to try to remove it. You do well the first few days, but then something bad happens....your car breaks down, family drama arises, or you just have a bad day and (you know what I'm going to say next...) you fail. Again. And you feel horrible.

It's a really nasty that keeps us feeling that perpetuates guilt, shame, and a feeling of failure. The thing about cycles is that they are, well, cyclical...they can go on forever.

  • It starts with restricting something. The problem isn't in the act of restricting's the root issues behind it. Ex. If I love cupcakes and I run to them everytime I have a bad day...and I tell myself "I'll never do that again, no more cupcakes!" I'm really avoiding the true issue here. The issue isn't the cupcakes at all. Cupcakes are neither good nor's that I've run to them for comfort instead of God. If I continue to avoid the true issue I've set myself up for failure because when you use the law to restrict something, human nature tends to want it all the more.
  • When we restrict something, we're declaring that we can do this all on our own strength..and so we grit our teeth and say triumphantly we're going to change. Since we've already glossed over the real issue....gritting our teeth works for a bit. But then, oh then, the siren call of the cupcake (insert your kryptonite here) calls and...
  • Because we've done it in our own strength and we've felt deprived, and we don't just give in to our "temptation," we gorge.
  • Guilt and Shame are right there to comfort us as we fall and with that, an extreme sense of failure. This sense of failure leaves us empty and bereft, causing us to seek comfort yet again in the very thing we've promised ourselves we'd give up.
Nasty right? Frustrating, definitely! So how do we get out of this cycle? The answer is three little letters: G-O-D.

There are few points we must consider about whatever it is that needs to change:
  1. Is the thing that I'm restricting something that's inherently bad in itself...or is there a deeper issue?
  2. If you find the answer to question 1 is that there is an underlying issue, this is the time to seek counsel and God about what that may be.
Doing these things and posing these questions breaks the cyclical nature of deprivation. Paul said that the Law was death. Living our lives based on "this is good, or this is bad" without investigating the core issues that drive us will leave us feeling deprived, guilty, and full of frustration.

So maybe now you're thinking, alright, how do I about finding the root?

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.
Daniel 2: 22

God is faithful. There are things hidden deep within our own hearts that even we may be unaware of, but it is not His heart to keep us in the dark about them. Journal, pray, or seek someone who can help you get to a place where you hear God for yourself. He has the answers, and He's still speaking today. Getting to the root of our issues will break the nasty cycle that is deprivation and replace it with grace, enjoyment, and the power to walk in freedom.

Continue below to see a testimony of God once again breaking the nasty cycle of deprivation and giving someone freedom!

"Since I was diagnosed with PCOS/insulin resistance in 2007, in order for me to lose weight, I have had to drastically cut down the sugar I ingest to almost nothing (which is healthy for me, anyhow!). This has caused me to look at sugar as "bad". Every time I try to lose weight, as soon as I give my self permission to eat anything with sugar again, I feel as though I cheated and then eventually go back to my poor eating habits again.

As I was spending time with God this morning (and drinking coffee with French Vanilla creamer...sugar!), I felt like I was cheating again. God then spoke something to me that I'll never forget. He told me that it's not a sin for me to drink this in the morning, and it's not wrong to enjoy it. This may sound over-simplified and strange to someone else, but this was a HUGE revelation for me. God gave me permission to drink coffee with my favorite creamer in the morning! When He spoke that to me, it showed me that I keep failing in this area, because I have looked at sugar as a sinful. It's not. Now, I can enjoy a little here and there and know it's not a sin - which will enable me to live in freedom without feeling like I've failed (thus giving up again).

Praise God for showing me that it's not wrong to enjoy things. It sounds so simple, but this has been such a huge revelation for me!"


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