Idea for dealing with temptation

I have put all the concrete details in the first section below on “the object”.

** the object

I found a website called Little Women that sells bras (and matching panties) for ladies with smaller busts. Cup sizes go down to AAA, even for larger band sizes.

(I found this linked from a blog post called “How to wear bras when you don’t have breasts” — aimed not just and even not mainly at crossdressers.)

It is clearly a sensible site aimed at sensible ladies. The designs are nice: similar to the kinds of designs I look for at Marks & Spencers.

So this raised the exciting prospect of finding a bra that would really fit me, really support my tiny breasts. There is a page full of (about 30) bras in “my size” (I would be a 38AAA). A few are nice but my favourite is the “Sheer Lace” bra (and I would get matching briefs in size 12).

** the yearning

The “object” of temptation, then, is the thing I want, together with what I want to do with it: e.g., a bar of chocolate, and eating the bar of chocolate.

I would go back to this website again and again, in bored moments, or when my work suddenly felt a bit hard. I would imagine over and over the whole process: choosing my favourites, making an order, having, enjoying. I would plot how to time an order to co-incide with my wife being away. I would think about the money and start to feel guilty, …

So each visit to the website would end up fairly emotional and I would end up fairly keyed up. It was a kind of pulling in both directions.

I realised that eventually I would succumb: an opportunity would arise suddenly, and I would plunge, grab the opportunity before it disappered.

** the temptation

The last time this happened, I noticed it start, noticed that shift of attention. I managed to focus my attention on that “shifting”, before “it” had managed to attach my attention onto the yearning (it seemed to me that the shifting attention “wakes up” the yearning, which then goes and seeks out the object).

This new “thing” that un-snicked my attention from whatever I was doing and took it to wake up the yearning, this thing I thought was the “temptation”.

I imagined it as a bluey-greeny glassy sheen. Now that I’d noticed it, it seemed to stand between me and the yearning and the object; first as a kind of sentinel, then I thought of them wrapping like layers — ( temptation ( yearning ( object ))).

Now that I’d pulled the temptation into the field, in its own right, I felt “protected” in a way from the yearning. It also occurred to me that the yearning was protected from me: I could think about being tempted (and about resisting temptation) without getting into the emotional maelstrom.

I could hold the bluey-greeny glassy sheen itself up to investigation: why have you popped up now? Instead of letting you lead me where you will — perhaps you are a sign or a symptom of something else. Perhaps I should have an apple or go for a walk, park this work and do something else.

** effects

So that is what I have been doing. Sometimes just noticing it tug on my attention is enough. Sometimes I can sense its pull is stronger. I am starting to think about “managing” temptation — have a bar of chocolate now so I don’t end up gorging myself tomorrow.

I like the idea that it can protect the object of temptation from me — especially if the thing I’m tempted to do is something like a sharp remark or a lustful look.

A “bluey-greeny glassy sheen” is definitely how I imagined it, and it has a kind of presence of its own. I’ll use it as a kind of internal alarm signal: am I hungry? Tired? Do I need some fresh air? A clear head? Perhaps it will turn out to be down to just sensual rhythms like these.

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  1. You are so analytical in a deeply profound way, David, that I often lose my way in the intricacies of your thought processes. I’m a fairly simple gal, so what I’m really saying is that your thoughts are too deep for me sometimes! ;) But I appreciate how you are trying to unravel the actual awareness of the temptation from the sensation that soon follows when you attach your attention a bit too long on the temptation. Those are the moments when prayer is my “go to.” And believe me, my temptations can be just as strong, I believe, though are different in mode or material. We are all idolators at heart. :(

    On a more encouraging note, I actually have a new ritual in my life that I began last month when I was working on my house. I would go for a walk–power walk–at a nearby park in the evening around sunset time. At first is was just a way to add to my usual exercise routine and burn a few extra calories, but then it became this incredible time of communing with God in the midst of the sights, smells and sensations of His beautiful world. I took (and take) EVERYTHING in as I walk–drinking it in like a fine wine! But it’s because I am worshiping God at those times. I am “walking” with Him! And it’s become a treasured part of my day that I dread will have to end when it gets too cold. But my point is, turning to God in those vulnerable moments can be powerful–especially as you begin to develop the habit, ritual and discipline. It will transform from a “dreaded power walk to a walk with the powerful God who loves you deeply!”

  2. Btw, the photo I used for my graphic on “Purging Pride” was from an evening spent at that park. It was just gorgeous how the water reflected the sky full of clouds.

    • Dear Beth

      I’m glad I don’t scare you off with my hi-falutin’ talk! :D

      Reaching for prayer during the day, at moments of temptation is something I am gradually starting to do — partly by learning psalms and bits of scripture, writing them down in a little book that I keep with me. Knowing that I am vulnerable to temptation and knowing that Jesus is with me to help seem to go together somehow.

      That is a very good idea about going for a walk. My office is in a park so it is very convenient to take a stroll round. Going for a walk when I feel the doldrums about to set in — and look for God in the park? — could be very effective.

      (Just looked at your photo: impressive park! Pretty good photo too — do you use an actual camera?)



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