As a gift on my birthday, mom dropped by to give me a little treat- lemon cookies. They were not homemade. They were cheap, generic brand sandwich cookies — a favorite kind when I was a kid. Mom and I used to love to dip those cheap cookies milk and then later in our coffee. She brought them as a reminder that mother and daughter are so much alike.
I had forgotten how much I loved them, and every dunk was a little nostalgic. In no time, I replaced eating my fat-free vanilla wafers with my morning coffee with the yummy lemon ones. They were so yummy, I was soon eating lemon cookies with my nighttime tea as well.
Then one morning I went to the pantry and the cookies were gone. My taste buds were sorely disappointed. Vanilla wafers were no longer satisfying. On the next trip to the store, I bought myself two big packages on lemon cookies. A couple of weeks later, we were out again so I asked my husband to pick up a package on his way home.
As he put them in the pantry, the inquisition started.
“Honey, what happened to the other two packages? Have the kids been home?”
“I know. It’s weird,” I said with genuine confusion. “I don’t know how they could already be gone.”
To help solve the mystery, he asked how many cookies I eat each day.
“I only have three with my coffee in the morning and three with my tea at night.” I said defensively.
“So,” he said almost apologetically, “that’s 42 cookies a week.”
The math was undeniable math. Forty-two cookies a week!
In shock I confessed, “I guess I also eat 3 or 4 after lunch. So that’s ...”
“70 cookies a week,” he concluded helpfully.
It couldn’t be true. But my calculator confirmed it. My husband wisely said no more. He just put the cookies away and left me to digest the reality that all my salads and smoothies had profited me nothing.
Later than night with my cup of tea in hand, habit led me to opened the pantry for a treat. I was greeted by a large and ominous sign hanging on the shelf over the open package of lemon cookies. It read: “Danger—beware.”
They didn’t look dangerous. They looked delicious. They were delicious. And I knew I was going to eat four of them.
“He whose spirit is without restraint is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28) Or in my case, without pants that fit.
The problem wasn’t the cookies. It was me. I finished the package in a matter of days — but it was truly self-defense. I was purposefully getting rid of them and did not replace them. Lemon cookies are one part of my past that is best left there.
Self-control is certainly a virtue, but the truth is that all of us have past vulnerabilities where dabbling is courting danger. A former affection can weaken walls of resolve and nullify every good intention. Rather than proving our powers of restraint, the better part of Christian valor is leaving such past attractions behind.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the (sweet) prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Kim Wier is an author and speaker, and hosts a weekly radio talk program on KSBJ in Houston.