Posted by: ritagone | June 17, 2014

Will Power? What Will Power?


Will power.

I have none.

This was proven to me yet again recently when I foolishly bought one of those containers of red licorice at the market. I thought, “Well, this will make a nice snack over an extended period of time. I can eat two or three of these a day and that way I’ll satisfy my sweet tooth.”

“Cut to”…as we say in our home. I don’t think anyone else had more than one or two sticks of the red licorice. I went back again and again, grabbing three or four sticks, wolving them down, justifying my consumption this way: “They’re only 40 calories each. Better than ice cream. And the sooner I eat them, the sooner they’ll be out of the house and done away with.” Now, if there’s a poorer justification for something in this world, I don’t know of it.

As a result, three days later, I had gained five pounds. Did I mention that licorice helps you to retain fluids? Licorice in exhorbitant amounts gives you a tummy ache? Acts as a laxative? Does all kinds of things to your systems? None of that mattered. All I cared about was that they were there, waiting to be eaten.

Paul was right: what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do (Romans 7:15). He must have been thinking of me and the licorice sticks when he wrote that.

Or maybe he was thinking of you.

Because, when it comes right down to it, we all struggle with will power in some or several areas of our lives. I’m not tempted at all by liquor; I don’t like the taste of it, so it’s not a problem for me. So I have trouble understanding why anyone would feel a pull into a bar or liquor store, why alcohol would have such a hold on them. But put Haagen Daz java chip ice cream or red licorice sticks in front of me, I’m an animal. Get out of my way! Don’t interfere, and certainly don’t tell me (as my husband has tried many times to do) that “I don’t need it,” “I should walk away from it,” or “I can live without it.” I may punch you in the face before I grab a spoon or another licorice stick. I will not be thwarted. I want what I want.

You’ve heard the expression “The heart wants what the heart wants.” Well, I’m here to tell you that the will wants what the will wants, and the stomach also wants what it wants. In short, we are all at times victims of our lack of will power, of our inability to say a resounding “no!” to temptation and those things in our lives that cause us to stumble and sin.

Nothing new, certainly. This has been mankind’s dilemma since Eve succumbed to a bite of an apple and Adam willingly followed suit. Satan knew the Achilles’ heels of these two even before Achilles came along with his own weak heel. And he knows your weaknesses and mine today. Or, if you choose to put the blame elsewhere, if you don’t like “The Devil made me do it” excuse, just say, along with Paul, “I keep shooting myself in the foot. I keep doing over and over again those stupid things that I know I shouldn’t. I can’t help myself. I have no will power.”

The red licorice is gone now. I did indeed eat it all. I have vowed never to buy another canister of those evil candies. I know where they are in the supermarket, and I will cut a wide swath to avoid walking near that aisle.

But, you know, that might take me closer to the ice cream freezer. Or the pastry shelf. Or the potato chip section.

In other words, temptation is all around. Our will power gets tested all the time, everywhere we go, each day of our lives. In our own strength we stumble and fall incessantly. It is only when we turn to Jesus and ask Him to give us the strength to ward off temptation that we have any hope or chance of overcoming these temptations that buffet us. The sooner I learn to rely on Him instead of myself, the better off I’ll be.

I’m almost 70 years old. Why haven’t I learned that important lesson yet?


  1. Then I guess I won’t mention that one of your friends, Betty Moore, loves licorice and used to always have them in her house. she loved them, probably still does. 😉 I will tell you that I’m just like you.. My splurge I never feel guilt about and eat large quantities of is frozen yogurt. I love it and could do a commercial for it. But if it’s at the house, it’s more difficult. I eat almonds and chocolate chips at home. Great snack!! Plus, aren’t almonds the like the perfect food? You feel a satisfaction. Popcorn, is also something that I’ve learned how to make healthy and it’s better than any microwave popcorn out there. I eat tons of that, too. Just don’t feel guilt about it.
    When convenient, I DO enjoy healthy foods. Carrots are a great nervous food. Celery is, so is popcorn. So, I just eat all that PLUS sweets.Sometimes it’s OK to forget the meals and indulge in sweets for that meal. Problem solved. jk
    Actually, I know that was not the point but I just had to share what’s worked for someone similar. On a serious note, you likely know you that you are not alone on this same exact problem. And actually you look better than ever, but, again, it’s not about how you (we all) look it’s more about the discipline. You wrote some great thoughts to ponder on. To know that one of the greatest men of God had these regular everyday struggles is a huge comfort (to me, at least)
    Oh, and being that I look up to you, I expect you to find that answer soon so I can learn from it. Again, kidding. It’s also what we do with feelings about ourselves when we DON’T do the things we want. God doesn’t want us to feel shame or guilt, but we hope that His grace inspires and encourages us to give it another shot.
    Problems like these are what brings me, humbly, to the Lord, because I just can’t get it right in SOOO many areas.
    I’ve been in TX for over a month, with my mom (over the loss of my father) I’ve never in my life seen so much food brought. Seriously. I’ve eaten so many things I’d normally NEVER eat.And yes, they were good. So instead of feeling horrible about myself right now, I’m trying to let it go and me as God see’.s me (and us) So, I’m actively allowing myself grace. Not easy to do, but grace is an amazing to fully embrace. It’s out of our control and in His.
    Didn’t mean to be so long winded but sometimes I just AM. The end. xoxox
    PS Light ice cream helps…

    • Michelle, I love hearing from you. Thanks for taking the time to reply. Isn’t it interesting how almost everyone struggles with will power in one form or another? I’m loving keeping tabs of you and Steve either through your in-laws, whom I love, or on Facebook with Steve’s postings (or yours). It makes me feel like we’re still hanging out, like we used to on Wednesdays. It sounds like your life is full and rich. I’m so very happy for you.

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