Denial is a wonderful thing…until you have to pay the consequences.
I’m working at losing five pounds. Yesterday I was grabbing lunch and I saw a small bag of potato chips. Kettle chips. I love Kettle chips. I grabbed them too. The “conversation” immediately started in my brain. “You can’t afford the calories. You are trying to lose weight.” “It’s not a big deal. It’s only 150 calories. And besides, I LIKE Kettle chips. It’ll be fine.”
But then I had a moment of clarity and I put the chips back. I knew that either I was working at losing weight or I was kidding myself. I was just rationalizing, justifying, excusing, denying, minimizing, and all that other stuff I wrote about in Healing the Hurts of Your Past.
Denial is for Fools
There is a proverb that explains what was going in my brain:
The wise see danger ahead and avoid it, but fools keep going and get into trouble. Proverbs 27:12
Wise people understand cause and effect. Wise people know that when you eat too many calories, you gain weight. The funny thing is, foolish people do too. Read the verse above; it’s not that fools don’t see danger. They both see it. But fools keep going, hoping that in their imaginary world, THIS TIME, consequence won’t follow their actions. Either that or they just don’t care. They like Kettle chips too much to care, or whatever it is they like…you fill in the blank.
Denial Mishandles Reality
Foolish people disconnect truth from reality and suspend it in air, thinking that it will no longer impact their lives. At least that’s their hope and they only need that hope long enough to eat the potato chips. They don’t have to live in their illusion very long. That’s key.
That’s why my little Kettle chip episode was so tempting: it caught me by surprise and only lasted a few seconds. If I would have eaten them it would have only lasted a minute. Most of us allow ourselves that much denial because it’s not that long, but long enough to do us damage.
Denial Lasts Seconds While Consequences Last for Years
Here’s the lie/question in the moment of temptation: how can anything that takes so little time cause me much harm? Hmmm. Think about that. Most things that get us into trouble DON’T take that much time. But undoing the consequences can take years, maybe a life time. That’s why it’s so important to be mentally and spiritually prepared for temptation BEFORE it strikes.
This post was inspired by Kettle chips and chapter four of The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley.
Question: What is your Kettle chip? What could you do to better prepare to face temptation and not suffer the consequences of the fool? Leave your comment below.