It's two weeks in to the seven-month fast. That means two more weeks of sweet potatoes, quinoa, black beans, spinach, apples, eggs and bread for me. Then we take a little two-week break and head into clothing month: seven articles of clothing for a month!
I wish I could tell you that I just rest in the peace of Jesus in the moments when this is hard. But that's just not always true. I still struggle; I had an incredibly terrible day one day this week and I cheated and drank some lemonade (although now I'm thinking if I was going to cheat, I wish it had been with a milkshake). I half-jokingly repeated "Jesus-is-better-than-hot dogs.
Jesus-is-better-than-hot dogs. Jesus-is-better-than-hot dogs." over and over while at a cookout tonight. I did have a giant victory earlier today when I found sweet potato chips at the grocery store that had nothing but sweet potatoes and salt on them. HALLELUJAH! Rob and I ate the entire bag this afternoon. I promise I won't let that happen again. :)
What I've realized, though, is how much food is tied to emotions for me. And how crazy it is that I live in a country where we have the luxury of tying food to emotions. I would have told you before that I'm a stress-eater, but I honestly had NO idea how much that was true. It makes absolutely no sense to me that there are places in this world where people would be falling to their knees in gratitude for full bellies, yet I choose to eat junk food when I'm just stressed out and not-at-all hungry.
Something is wrong here.
And I know it's not that there are too many people in those countries. There is plenty of food on our planet to feed everyone... it's just not all distributed evenly. And so we wind up with countries like mine where we have childhood obesity and laws are being made about limiting the giant-ness of our cokes at the same time that parents are mixing dirt in with their children's dinners in order to help them feel fuller because they don't have enough food. All of these things happen on the same planet.
As a mother, I cannot imagine the horror of having to send a child to bed hungry. Or abandoning a child because I knew I'd have no way to feed him and truly believing that was my child's best hope to survive.
My teacher friends tell me about students who show up to school on Mondays having eaten pretty much nothing all weekend. That's not only on this planet but it's in my county.
Why is this okay?
This makes no sense to me. I mean, one of the more well-known passages in the Bible tells us that Jesus talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned and states " Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." (Matt 25:40, ESV).
Let me tell you how often I've been feeding the hungry: until recently, hardly at all. And I don't mean donating money to someone else so that they can feed the hungry. While I think that's a wonderful thing - to donate to good causes - it doesn't tell us to do that in the Bible. I think that's because God knows how humans work. He knows we need to see faces, get to know people, in order to really be able to help them. Poverty is not a money problem, it's a relational problem. But that's a whole nother blog post.
I think the largest complaint about Christians is that we're hypocritical. I want to apologize personally for the hypocrisy in my life. I am sorry. I am falling short of the life Christ has called me to live. But I am trying. Not because I want to follow all the right rules, but because I pray every day that God will make my heart more like His.
And it's working.