My victory over the thumb-sucker

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by Kari Patterson
The Sacred Mundane

Attention, attention: We’ve had a victory! There is now one fewer thumb-sucker in the world.

That’s right. Thanks to a friend supplying us with some no-bite gel for Heidi’s thumbs, she is now weaned off the thumb. In fact, even though it’s supposed to be applied for 30 days in order to break the habit, it was so effective she quit sucking her thumb after one day and hasn’t used the gel since.

If only it were that easy for us, right? (A friend of mine commented, “I need to put some of that stuff on the chocolate in my house!”)

The day we took the no-thumb plunge was such a picture for me. I applied the bitter liquid and laid down with Heidi for her nap. After a few tries she realized it was not going to be a pleasant experience. She cried. She sweated (it was 100-degrees that day). She kept raising her thumb to her mouth then remembering and pulling it away. She was miserable. She couldn’t get to sleep. I must admit, it was a little heart-breaking, watching her struggle so. But eventually, after about an hour of tears, she fell asleep on her own.

She woke up a new girl.

It was like a detox in so many ways. She was miserable, trying to get comfortable, unable to find that same relaxing self-sooth method she’d relied on her entire life. (She even sucked her thumb in the womb!) But once the habit was broken, she woke up a new girl. Stronger. Calmer. More mature.

That’s what happens when we quit sucking our thumbs as well.

I must admit, my girl has inspired me. I’m asking God to show me all the areas where I still suck my thumb. I know there are many. He’s so gracious and He lets us tackle one area at a time. But it does take drastic measures in order to break free–disgusting, bitter gel on the thumbnails. We must figure out ways to make our sinful and/or self-soothing methods become distasteful in our lives. Perhaps a friend can hold you accountable? The truth is, Heidi wouldn’t have broken the habit on her own. She needed someone a little older and wiser to help her along the way.

We do too.

Only God knows what habits in our lives need to go. What is ok for some might not be for others. Don’t compare, just let God decide. And once He highlights an area, take immediate and decisive action to let go of that thumb-sucking habit. Find a stronger friend and ask for help.

You’ll wake up better for it. Stronger. Calmer. More mature.

{If it’s appropriate, would you share what thumb-sucking habit you are leaving behind? I am choosing to eat when I’m hungry, not just when I’m stressed or tired. I’m also “checking in” online only once a day. I’d love to pray for you as you make this step in growing up. Thanks so much for reading.}