Back in 2014, I was ministering to a group of overwhelmed moms in a private Facebook group. They were self-professed “angry-moms”, struggling with unkind words, exasperated sighs, and deep shame. It was in that group that Amber Lia and I wrote a series of daily posts that eventually became our parenting book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses.
One day, in that estrogen-charged virtual-space, I casually tossed out this invitation before I even prayed it through: “What would happen if we spent the next 40 days fasting from sugar?”
Within hours, thousands of moms signed up to join me. Physically, they knew they needed it. They were addicted to the sweet surge of energy that sugar provided, getting them over the hump each long day. They didn’t need me to convince them that it was affecting their emotional stability either. They saw what happened to their kids each time they slurped down a slurpy… high octane happiness followed by an emotional crash.
Just like our kids, we ride that same metaphorical teeter-totter on a merry-go-round! Up and down and all around. Happy then sad, excited then worn out, committed to good parenting only to fail suddenly and crash emotionally. Our body and our relationships are exhausted from the frenzied pace, in desperate need of a sabbatical — in this case a sugar sabbatical.
Spiritually we need this break too. You see, a fast should never be simply a physical detox. We need a spiritual breakup from our unhealthy relationships, so that we can cultivate the most important relationship of all. Instead of running from sugar high to sugar high, we need to learn to run to the Most High!
Sweet friend, could it be that your emotional instability and daily tears have less to do with your little people and more to do with your not-so-little, highly-sugared latte followed by a left-over brownie?
Though you’re amazing at limiting your children’s sugar intake, you’re a candy-eating-ninja when it comes to sneaking it into your own mouth. Naptime peanut M&M’s, a handful of chocolate chips from the back of the pantry at 3pm, and a bowl of ice cream once the kids are down for the night, not to mention all the highly-sugared coffee creamer and sweet tea to sweeten the moments that need sweetening. Unfortunately, all the sugar in the world hasn’t worked to make you sweet. Truth be told, it can you into a Momster!
Sure, it makes you feel happy for a hot minute, but it can leave you a hot mess. Confectionary therapy isn’t what you need. Amidst sibling rivalry, the terrible-twos, “no-no-no”, and potty training, turning to sugar only intensifies the struggle to stay calm and kind and in control. When they melt-down… you melt-down because you’re on that metaphorical teeter-totter with them.
Self-medicating with sugar isn’t what you need… you need the help of the Great Physician. That’s why this isn’t merely a physical detox, but a Spiritual fast. We all need more of Him and less of the things that have never worked to make us more like Him! It’s not sugar’s job to make us sweet, calm or kind. It’s not sugar’s job to help us grow God’s Spiritual fruit on the laurels of our lives. Only God, ingesting His sweet, satisfying, and stabilizing presence can do it! It’s His job when we’re bored, when we’re weary and heavy laden. That’s why He invited, “Come to Me!” He never told us to run to Starbucks or our pantries to get us through. Simply, “Come to Me.”
That’s why a humble, rag-tag group of exasperated moms decided to fast from sugar for 40 days back in 2014. It was a desperate attempt to turn to Jesus in order to become more like Jesus in our homes. Those sweet ladies in that overwhelmed Facebook group, had been crying and praying and asking for help, but it was only when they decided to fast and pray that the help finally came.
I’m reminded of the disciples when they tried, unsuccessfully, to call a demon out of a young man who had been plagued for years. The man had been brought to them by his father, a parent just like you, desperate for help. When the disciples couldn’t get the job done, the father took his son straight to Jesus. After Jesus healed the young man, His disciples asked Him, “Why could we not call it out?” Jesus responded, “…this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:19-21, NASB)
Is your sugar addiction and emotional mothering a mountain that needs moving? Sugar doesn’t give us what we need to mother well. But God can. Parenting is a long distance run, not a short sprint. You don’t need a quick energy source, empty calories can’t get the job done. Real fuel is what you need to carry you the distance — real fuel and a real Savior.
Have you grown weary? Have you found that sugar doesn’t give you the endurance you need? God charges us clearly in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” No mom wants to give into her weariness, but a steady diet of sugar coupled with a steady stream of kiddos asking questions and pushing back on boundaries can plumb-tucker a mother out. If you’ve been combating your weariness with sugar or caffeine (or anything else) let me encourage you to consider this invitation again:
Have you been running to your pantry rather than running to Him? Turning into Starbucks instead of turning to the Word? Do you hide behind your screen when you’re stressed, munching on chocolate covered almonds because they give you a quick pick-me-up? There’s only One whose job it is to pick us up and carry us when we’re not able to go the distance. The one who carried our cross can carry us across the finish line each day.
Do you run to sugar to carry you through until bedtime? Maybe you need a physical detox. But more than that… perhaps you need a spiritual fast. If you are sugar dependent but long to be Christ dependent, I have good news: Not only is The 40 Day Sugar Fast is an annual fast (the next one starts January 6, 2020) but now we have a book to journey through together, one sweet chapter a day! And the good news gets even better for moms… when you buy the book you get a bunch of free bonuses INCLUDING THE EBOOK “Sugar Doesn’t Make a Mom Sweet!” (this blog post is an excerpt from the opening chapter.
Hop on over to 40daysugarfast.com to order the book and sign up for your free bonuses, including the ebook, “Sugar Doesn’t Make a Mom Sweet.”
While there are many other companion resources you’ll receive, here’s another one that’s especially for the busy moms in our midst. When you pre-order The 40 Day Sugar Fast, you’ll receive a free copy of the audio book. The book releases November 5th, and you’ll receive an email with your promo-code for your free audio download.
Don’t wait, sweet Mama… let’s fast from sugar in order to feast on the sweetness of Christ in our lives — spending time with Him will sweeten us right up. Guaranteed!
Find out more at 40daysugarfast.com