The sweetest attraction
I began to feel I could break free of the hypnotic attraction to sweets.
I was famous for having a “sweet tooth.” Friendly jokes and stories about my unwavering aim to capitalize on treats whenever possible were funny and made me feel a little special. I never saw it as a problem and was proud that I could eat whatever I wanted without any detriment to my health or appearance.
Over the years, though, I became more interested in putting the teachings of Christian Science into practice—teachings that focus on increased understanding and expression of Spirit, God, rather than on material goals and attainments. And as my desire for God grew, I became more alert to the mentally and physically unhealthful nature of a passion for sweets. It felt addictive. And even though many people face far more damaging addictions, I began to see how the distraction of this persistent pull hampered my peace and freedom. When I saw others turn down dessert, ice cream, or dishes full of candy, I began to feel I could break free of the hypnotic attraction to sweets.
At first, I was tempted to blame various factors from childhood that linked candy to happiness, and to blame myself or my parents (my dad was a candy distributor) for my carrying this appetite forward into adulthood. But then I remembered that Christ Jesus said of a man blind from birth, “Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). Jesus showed that it wasn’t about blame but about our right to express our real purpose of demonstrating the works of God.
By resisting regret and blame, I was freer to focus on what I’ve learned in Christian Science about not accepting thoughts about ourselves or others that are negative and harmful: “Mental malpractice is a bland denial of Truth, and is the antipode of Christian Science” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 31). Mrs. Eddy’s use of the word bland here is interesting. “Pleasantly gentle or agreeable,” one dictionary definition states. This helped me reason and see through the pleasant disguise of a love for sweets.
What I truly desired in my heart was the goodness that leaves us feeling content and at peace.
First, I stopped allowing myself to identify with the “sweet tooth” habit. God, Truth, is not attracted to matter in any form, so man (the true identity of each of us), as the likeness of God, cannot be. Christian Science teaches that God is the loving, merciful, and only Father-Mother, who beautifully designed all of creation—spiritually, not materially.
I grew to love the healthy rebellion of refusing to cooperate with appetite, and I continued reasoning: Because Spirit includes infinite joy and comfort, I could only know myself by and identify with spiritual qualities, not material wants, temptations, and beliefs. If I am in fact God’s child and inseparable from God, then I am complete, good, joyous, and perfectly satisfied right now. God’s provision for us is abundant—always enriching and satisfying.
This progress wasn’t gained without a struggle, but once I was alert to this inordinate appetite, I never relented on identifying and uncovering it. I “talked back” to temptation, which strengthened my focus on living according to God’s wisdom and the spiritual quality of temperance, rather than indulging either a mindless or a willful attitude of constant want and consumption. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy discusses willfulness in this way: “Will—blind, stubborn, and headlong—cooperates with appetite and passion. From this cooperation arises its evil. From this also comes its powerlessness, since all power belongs to God, good” (p. 490). This understanding naturally steered my attention by degrees away from willfulness and materialism and toward Spirit.
I was also encouraged by a directive from the Christian Science textbook regarding the need to “set aside even the most cherished beliefs and practices, to leave all for Christ” (Science and Health, p. 141). So, even though this desire for sweets appeared to be a part of me, I knew that it couldn’t be and that I could set it aside. It lacked the natural spiritual qualities of balance, peacefulness, and satisfaction, and kept me constantly struggling with material cravings, rather than desiring the spiritual goodness that leaves us feeling content and at peace. That’s what I truly desired in my heart.
I will always be unspeakably grateful that this mental turmoil moved me to forgo unhealthful desires. I can joyfully and gratefully affirm that this false appetite no longer governs me or has my attention. I feel less drawn to superficial wants and more balanced. And my general appetite for food is less willful. I still enjoy the occasional treat, of course, but not out of craving or longing to satisfy a want. It’s just a simple, joyful partaking of hospitality. This spiritual growth has also given me more discipline and self-control in other areas of my life. The “You just have to have this!” demand no longer grabs my attention. I’m simply not tempted. This freedom is beyond words—it gives me true peace.