My daughter is a hoarder by nature. Sadly, she has a mother who purges her extra clothing, toys, and other nonessential items when things start getting too cluttered. Despite my best efforts, she has way too much stuff. And this is no thanks to her grandmother who likes to help her sneak stuff in the house. It's a constant battle.
One of this little girl's strongest temptations lies in those little coin-operated junk-made-in-China machines near the exit of stores. She always begs and pleads for some "cents" to put into those dispensers of worthless plastic.
Tonight, I had to stop at Walmart to pick up a prescription (yes, I take them) and I was feeling awful, but the kids did not get that. They are little people with their own agendas. As I was waiting with my daughter at the pharmacy, she chattered about everything she wanted to look at and I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed. I finally told her that I just wasn't feeling up to walking around the store and she acquiesced to leaving all her unfulfilled shopping desires behind and heading home.
As we neared the front of the store, I saw those colorful, glimmering sentries and I sped up to get through the doors ahead of the kids. And that's when the magic happened. I got through both sets of doors and was standing outside Walmart when I turned and saw both kids standing silently behind me. I was thrilled and shocked.
I looked at my little girl and said, "I am so proud of you for walking out the door without asking for coins! Thank you for doing that."
She said, "I wanted to ask, but I just kept telling myself, 'keep walking. keep walking'."
"I bet you don't want those things now that you can't see them." I said.
It made for a good discussion with both kids. Because temptations will plague us throughout our lives. I have lived long enough to know that what is tempting to some people is not at all tempting to others. I am not tempted to eat pastries, drink soda, or use drugs. But those are very real temptations to millions of others. I am tempted to sin every single day though. Sometimes I keep walking and sometimes I fail.
But tonight was a good illustration and reminder: just keep walking. The farther away we get from our temptations, the farther we are from them. I'm no expert on addictions, but I'm going to remember this lesson for a long time. Just keep walking.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)