Temptation can be a nearly irresistible thrill that creates a lifestyle like a rollercoaster. One minute we’re “up,” with the excitement that comes with being tempted and taking in temptation, and the next minute we are at the bottom of that sick feeling in our gut and the regret in our heart for having done what we “knew we shouldn’t.” It’s precisely when we’re down, that we might begin to doubt that “the good life” is possible. In today’s article, we’ll look at the vital role that doubt plays in being tempted, and ways we can (no joke), eliminate temptation altogether.
Temptation requires doubt
As an expert in willpower and empowerment, clients have come to me with (almost) every temptation known to man. Regardless of whether they’ve been tempted to break their promise of a diet or their promise of monogamy, there is one key element present in their heart and mind: doubt. Do you doubt this? 😀 Think on it—if every ounce of you knew, without a doubt, that you wanted to keep your promises, would you really have problems keeping them?
Nagging doubt opens the door
Whether or not we believe that doubt is a prerequisite of temptation, let’s ask ourselves, “What are we tempted by right now?” Is it food? Sex? Money? Power? Greed to get stuff? Whatever it may be, take a moment to peel back the layer of temptation to reveal what it is we REALLY want—because it isn’t any of those things. What’s nagging at us? Do we doubt that we are really capable of succeeding at the diet, marriage, job or life that we hoped? Does that nagging doubt make us feel worthless, like we might as well give in to temptation—because we’re going to fail anyway, because it’s easier, and because life doesn’t get any better? Could that nagging doubt be so strong that we might just give in to temptation to “shut (the doubt) up?”
What is doubt anyway?
Doubt is the opposite of faith. We experience doubt when we lack faith: in our own ability and in Life’s/God’s ability to care for us in healthy ways that are also FUN, sexy and joy-filled.
Doubt, when manifested, turns us into a double-minded “angel” and “devil.” Part of us wants to do what’s best and part of us doesn’t. When we doubt, we are split—not unified. We are unclear, unsure, unsettled, uncomfortable and aren’t fully aware of what choice is best for us. A double-minded person’s life is filled with temptations and behaviors that oppose each other. The result of this is brokenness—broken promises in all areas of life: spirituality, relationships, home and career. As a good book says, “A double-minded man is miserable in all his ways.”
My bout with doubt and temptation
After the end of a tumultuous relationship that included broken lifelong promises, I lost hope that any man would choose to be honorable. At that moment, I shut the door on hope and became filled with doubt. I questioned everything. Before he had even left the room, I was asking myself, “What have I done wrong? What changes should I make? Should I move to a more desirable location? Seek another partner? What do I do with my sex drive? How do I protect myself from the pain of an untrustworthy partner and the loss of hope? How can I assure that I follow what’s best (aka God’s will) while I am feeling all these emotions? Is celibacy the true or better route for me? Is it best for me to save myself from ever experiencing this type of pain again so I can focus on empowering people through my work and not lose energy to the “relationship vortex?”
Following all those doubtful thoughts, temptation flooded in. Over the following weeks, life presented me all the world’s treasures and an opportunity for every question I stated to be answered. I faced temptations on every front. Would I accept an offer to make a beautiful move to an ocean-side home? Would I accept a relationship with a wealthy man who would fulfill earthly desires? Would I go back to one of the two paupers whom I had loved for years? Would I accept offers from others for a sexual relationship? Would I close my business and head for a hideout somewhere to finish my book? Would I just go on holiday for a few months and say “to hell with it!?”
The temptations were strong—strong enough that I was having trouble concentrating, breathing, eating, speaking in complete sentences, working and living without stress. Tormented not just by day but also during nightmares, I suffered through insomnia, sicknesses, overeating, under eating and depression. I was not strong enough to “fight” the temptations. As weak and hopeless as I felt, I was overwhelmed by the bombardment of temptations. I couldn’t even go to the gas station without being tempted by people who approached me. I felt drained and confused.
What I did
Instead of choosing the distraction and temporary pleasure of any of the temptations I was presented, I chose to admit that I was filled with doubt—and address that. I chose to spend time alone, really getting to know what was tempting me and why. Then I asked myself, “Will this temptation take me where I want to go? None of them did. Then, I discovered that since I had lost all hope, I did not know where I wanted to go! So, I chose to do the one thing that I DID KNOW was best—I chose to commit my ALL to growing in faith. I thought, “Hey—what’ve I got to lose? I’ve already lost hope. Why not give this way a whirl? Maybe I can grow in faith. If so, anything I do will be better.”
To grow in faith, I chose to put every minute that I was not working or exercising into rest, prayer and meditation. I learned some things. I learned that I had a deep-seated lack of faith that the good Life/God was alive and well in men. And, I learned to trust the minute-to-minute guidance I received and act on it immediately—regardless of fear.
With faith, life got better
Right away, I felt better. The anxiety melted away—and I felt peace. I breathed a sigh of relief. I gave up worrying or caring about what was coming or how to protect myself from it. Sounds dangerous, right? Well, maybe it is dangerous—to the part of us that wants to control situations out of doubt and fear! That part of us has to die to live in faith. And when it does, it is replaced with peace.
After I committed to choosing to be faith-filled, every single temptation evaporated. G-O-N-E! Like figments of my imagination. Gone with it was the worrisome anxiety and depression. I was revitalized through faith. As you can see, although these choices were “challenging” and not much “fun” at the time, they ended up giving me an enormous payoff.
How to be faith-filled
To learn more about how to resurrect yourself from doubt and temptation and live in faith, click to read last week’s article http://www.willyou.guru/ressurect_yourself/
I challenge/encourage you. Are you willing to walk in faith and die to doubt? Please share your thoughts and feelings so we may grow in strength and willpower together …
Always with love,
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