No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins Mark 2:22
Today is day 5 for me on a 21 day challenge that I decided to take. Most of you would not know, but I have a problem with chocolate. I have been challenged with this issue for over a year. It started very subtle. I was dating someone new and something happened early in our relationship and when he apologized and asked for forgiveness, I responded yes to his apology, but said that he would have to keep me in a lifetime supply of Rolos. A year or so later, I am consuming about 10 ounces of chocolate daily – which totaled around 5 pounds of chocolate per week! I had many people around me tell me that I was eating way too much chocolate, but I, of course, did not want to hear that nor did I want to stop eating my chocolate. I once met with a personal trainer and I had shared the vice that I struggle with that hinders me from being more healthy, and he told me that it was addictive and would be like stopping a drug. Once I was a little under the weather and I had to go to the grocery store and I purchased some chocolate and opened them up in the store and ate some, I instantly felt better, not physically, but it was as if a depression lifted. It is not uncommon to be slightly depressed if you are physically ill. Finally, the Lord came to me in a vision and told me that I had too much sugar in my blood. I did a little research on chocolate: Substances found in chocolate, such as phenylethylamine, theobromine, anandamide and tryptophan trigger mood enhancing chemicals and neurotransmitters to be released in the brain. Phenylethylamine is a chemical found in the body that is similar to amphetamine. It helps mediate feelings of giddiness, attraction, euphoria and excitement. Researchers believe phenylethylamine causes the brain to release mesolimbic dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain.
This is what led me to my 21 day challenge. Science has proven that it takes 21 days to break a habit. Its too much to explain, but basically the brain produces dendrite(s) because of a particular thought whether negative or positive. You reinforce the dendrite growth of that specific issue with thoughts that back up the original thought. Based on that dendrite growth, then the dendrites begin to drip a fluid which then produces emotions subject to that thought or thoughts. When reversing a thought or action, we do the reciprical and then the brain begins to produce a hormone called oxitocin. The power of oxitocin is that it begins to melt those particular dendrites. This process takes 21 days if you stick with it. Its important that whatever habit you are trying to break, you must replace it with something positive. In my case, I don’t want to replace chocolate with any type of food. I may take a drink of water when I think about chocolate, or I may do something physical. Make sure its reciprical is something that is not addictive.
Why am I sharing this? I innocently became addicted to chocolate because of an emotional wound. I was triggered initially that men cannot be trusted. That wounds goes back to my childhood. The chocolate provided comfort initially, but after a short amount of time, it just became a habit. I refer to our habits as symptoms. When there is a symptom present, there is something that it is rooted in. Initially, I did not know the root of where this started for me, it was revealed once I decided to obey the Lord and take the challenge to stop. I will admit that I had chocolate yesterday because I spent the day with my grandparents who are both very close to death. It was a hard day and I ran to chocolate. I did not beat myself up, I understood what I was doing. The good thing is that in just 5 days, the craving is decreasing. I bought the chocolate, but I am not craving it all day as I did in the past.
What symptoms or habits do you need to challenge? food, sodas, chocolate, lying, workaholism, alcohol, perfectionism, laziness, profanity, sexual promescuity, procrastination, anger, over spending, stop smoking, unforgiveness, to name a few.
It is not an accident that this is coming up at this season. It is estimated that 45% of Americans make a new year’s resolution. So it’s time to take the challenge and start something new! Please feel free to write me with your praise reports and remember that I am praying and believing with you!