Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Seven Month Fast: Day Three

I'm three days into the seven-month fast and I'm learning that I get one of two reactions when I tell people what I'm doing:

1. Weird looks, awkward silences, and the word "oh."
2. "That is so cool! I want to do that!"

I originally asked four of my friends to be my "council" and just keep me sane while I did the fast.  All four of them are doing it along with me.  And so is one of our awesome youth from church, two more friends of mine from church, as well as most of our husbands (Jeff is a wimp and that's totally okay). And I think I have a friend who's going to catch up with us and start when we start the clothing month. That's eleven people, not counting me. Wow!

I think lots of people feel bogged down by all this excess in our lives; by how hard it can be to find Jesus through all the extra stuff we have going on.

And, three days in, I thought I'd update y'all on how it's going.  The first two days were HARD. I mean HARD.  Mainly because I was in serious caffeine withdrawal and honestly thought my brain was trying to pull itself away from my skull. I had to take a nap both Sunday and Monday because I couldn't handle life!

But today has been really pretty great. I went for a run, which I consider a victory because honestly, I think my brain had come loose and I was unable to run on Monday because it was rattling around inside my skull. Really.  And I made myself a crazy-delicious lunch and was able to make a crazy-delicious dinner for the whole family and EVERYONE ate the same thing. Well, except that Rob has cheese on his list so he & the kids got cheese on their dinner. It helps that I happen to like healthy food.

But I've been thinking... why is it so hard to give things up? This part of the fast is really only four weeks. I'm only eating seven foods for 28 days. It's really nothing.  But why is it hard for us to even consider doing something like this... why is it hard for me only three days in?

I think we get so used to our abundance that we take it for granted. And start to consider our abundance, our excess, a right. I should be overwhelmed with gratitude to God that I can go to the grocery store and pick out whatever I want or go to a restaurant, or order take-out, or delivery.  Instead, I have the audacity to look at my full pantry, full fridge and full deep freezer in the basement and utter the words "we have nothing to eat. I have no idea what we're going to have for dinner tonight."

Only getting to eat seven foods is a lesson in gratitude. The only fruit on my list is apples. I have three kids so I have a house full of blueberries, watermelon, pears, and grapes right now.  Trust me, I am so thankful that in four weeks I can eat whatever fruit I want.  At lunch today, I fed Amani this super-yummy natural sausage that I get when it goes on sale at the grocery store. I couldn't have any. I am so thankful that a day will come soon when I can eat some with him.  I'm thankful that I have the option to break the fast at any point if I wanted to. In my life, I don't have to worry about where my next meal will come from. That is something to be thankful for, yet I take it for granted every day, three times a day.

My prayer this morning on my run is that I will really be able to rid my life of a lot of excess. Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to go back to drinking coffee when this is all over, but I want to use each and every difficult moment to draw closer to Jesus. When I'm grouchy 'cause I miss coffee or I am really wanting some kind of a sweet snack, I can take a moment and draw closer to my Creator.  It creates a friction in my life that wouldn't be there otherwise and with that friction comes an opportunity to rely on Jesus.

So... what would you NOT be able to give up? What has a hold on you that you just can't shake? This month for me, it was coffee.  So I ditched it, at least temporarily. This isn't a hard month for me... but it's coming. The month we give up pretty much all media will be hardest, I think.  If there's anything that distracts me from Jesus, from my family, from myself, it's the internet.  So I'm willing to give it up for a month. To jar my life a little, shake things loose, in order for me to gain a better handle on things.

Today I'm grateful.

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog! It’s an intelligent and articulate description of a world that I would otherwise have a hard time understanding. Reading your posts reminds me of an article on why young “career-orientated people” (bad term, sorry!) love reading blogs written by young moms ( Your blogs rocks!

    Anyways, after reading about your fasting experiences its sounds like you’re learning more about how to handle uncertainty then dealing with excess. Excess is relative. No matter what socioeconomic rung of the latter you are on, you will always have an excess of resources needed to survive compared to the people lower on the SES ladder.

    To me, your post is more like a lesson on uncertainty then excess because you’ve limited your resources and are now forced to find creative/adaptive ways to face life’s challenges. It sounds like this “forced adaptation” is the friction that helps you relate better with Jesus. It makes me think of the old-skoool Calvinist that used to work themselves to death in order to have a better relationship with God. It’s the struggle of the work, not the final product that makes you a more spiritual person.

    As far as what I think I couldn’t give up; I don’t think I could give up my work. I’d like to think it’s because I’m making the world a better place (I’m not…), but it probably has more to do with what your hit on so well in your post. Through struggle you become a better person.

    Keep posting!


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