The Reason I Gave Up Gum

I should have known the morning of my 7th grade in-school detention.  I had a problem.

There I sat, confined by glass, in the main hallway of my small-town middle school, writing this sentence all day long:

“The gum chewing student and the cud chewing cow both look-alike somehow.  But there is a difference.  Oh, I see it now.  It’s the intelligent look on the face of the cow.”

Over and over and over….This could scar a 13-year-old.

But after multiple “warnings” for breaking his classroom rule of NO CHEWING GUM, I gave Mr. Evans no choice but to send me to in-school detention.  And write that awful sentence all day long.

Chewing gum.  We go way back, don’t we?

I reflect on every season of my little life.  High school.  College.  Babies.  Now. And that blue pack of peppermint has been there – thick and thin.  I stashed packs in the front pockets of my L.L. Bean bag in college and zipped packs in my honeymoon suitcase.  A chewed a piece as I nursed my babies. Placing that silver wrapper beside my ginormous water cup on the bedside table.  Knowing my blue friend would help me stay awake in the rocker.

I rarely have taught a spin or boot camp class without a piece tucked in the backside of my jaw.   If I found myself out of gum at the YMCA, I would scurry around the gym until I found one.  Even leaving a class full waiting and wondering where their instructor had disappeared.  I’ve run marathons with extra sticks tucked in my sock, changing old wads for fresh ones every few miles as a reward for my accomplishment.

This relationship between gum and I runs deeps.  And honestly, has become a problem.  One of addictive measure.

I’ve researched chewing gum and its negative effects on the body, but nothing is very conclusive.  Some avid chewers suffer from locked jaw or TMJ. Or irritable bowel syndrome . Then, of course, there is the fear of aspartame. Or too much mercury in my diet. Etc.

Still, evidence is not hard enough to scare me out of buying more.

You see, chewing gum isn’t bad.  But I have become a slave to it.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Slavery to chewing gum, you ask!?  Yes.

I know.  It sounds ridiculous.  And Galatians 5:1 is NOT referring to gum, but rather  living enslaved to the law, but Lord help me – I do not want to be bound to anything in this life… other than Christ.

This is a small area of obedience.  A strengthening, if you will, of the “dying to myself” muscle.  Christ died to set me free of any and everything that would bind me.  Sin, death, addiction…. every nook and cranny.

I was a chain chewer.  Pulling one piece out and putting another piece in.  Like a smoker.  Only with gum.

And I know I am a slave to gum because there are days I TRIED to chew less but continued my chain-chewing habit.

But here is the announcement.  Ahem… drum roll.

I have gone TWO ENTIRE WEEKS and TWO DAYS without ONE piece of gum.

If you know me, your jaw just dropped.  I know, right!

The Lord has nudged me for years.  Years.  To stop my habit.  And two weeks ago I finally obeyed.

So, what does the long-term look like?  I don’t know.  But I know that today I walk in obedience…. to this little thing.  And I draw nearer to Christ for strength to overcome the desire.  And isn’t that what the Christian life is about?  Relying on Him for every single thing?  Trusting Him with every detail – even a chewing gum habit.

So what is the big deal and why would I bother you with this silly post?  Well, I believe you can relate.  Everyone can.  It may not be chewing gum, but I believe we all have a “chewing gum habit” in our lives, that holds us captive…. a little bit.

Today I ask you – Are you enslaved?  If yes, then to what?

Maybe your enslavement is to something “bigger” – Alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Food.

Maybe it is not so big.  Like peppermint chewing gum.

But whatever it is – you know enslavement when you’re in it.


Are you a slave to anything other than Christ this morning?

Are you willing to throw it out. Set it down. Give it up?

It is for FREEDOM that Christ died.  TO SET YOU FREE.  Today.

{Disclaimer:  I am not saying that chewing gum in itself if bad, but my use of it was excessive and unhealthy.  If I can pray for you in anyway today, please email me.  I would love to lift you up.}

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.… Hebrews 12:1-2

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