Wednesday, July 11, 2012
As I mentioned before, we're fasting this week.
Our church is being moved in some awesome directions. The pastor's new son-in-law, Moses, is taking over leadership of the previously poorly organized connect groups (otherwise known as cell groups or home groups) and uniting them under a common purpose, lesson plan, and set of guidelines. Our pastor's oldest son, Caleb (yes, I know, Moses and Caleb. It's hilarious!) is getting more organized and aggressive with his training of the youth and young adult groups; working under the belief that trials don't just come to the Christians in their 30s, and neither do the opportunities to reach into someone else's life and make a difference.
Two of the major outreach programs in our church, Serve1 and Won by One, are going full force, bringing the gospel into places it doesn't normally go here in the Northwest and encouraging everyone to just reach one person a year. If each person in our church were to reach one person every year for Jesus, within 8 years the Northwest would go from the most unchurched region of the united states to the most faith-filled.
All of that to say that something awesome is happening in our church and in response to the obvious outpouring Pastor has called for a week of churchwide prayer and fasting to usher in a time of spiritual breakthrough. According to the veterans in our church he has never done anything like this before, it's quite unprecedented in his 30 years as pastor, but I think everyone is excited about it anyway. At least, everyone who's participating in the fasting and prayer is. I can't speak for anyone who doesn't feel led to participate.
Dearest and I, for some reason that is still beyond my understanding, felt led to participate.
Now, here's one of the times when I look up at the heavens and go "really, God? Really? I certainly hope I can see the point of all this when it's over!" My first fast ever, and we feel led to make it a "complete fast" - meaning that we don't eat anything. We're drinking gatorade and one protein shake every day, a glass of milk before bed so we can fall asleep, and that's it. No food, no meal replacement shakes or bars or pills, no candy, nothing solid, nothing that can actually satisfy the hunger of an entire day. As a dear, trusted, wise friend of ours told us on Sunday "It's about getting hungry enough to remember to pray."
This is all going jolly well for Dearest. He feels better right now than he has in ages, to hear him say it. He's focused, emotionally and mentally uncluttered, physically rested and at ease. He's even lost a whole 7 pounds!
Which, I might add, I feel rather ridiculous for in the morning. Especially considering that we're only now beginning the 3rd day of this.
This morning, though, I did experience something interesting that I think may be in correlation with the whole fasting thing. I was sitting in dead-stopped traffic, and not even worried or upset at all.
Those who know me well know that this doesn't happen. I have a thinly veiled version of road rage that comes out in snarky and sarcastic comments aimed at other drivers who I know can't hear me.
I don't like being late, I don't like being stopped when I want to be moving, and I don't like not having any idea why there's a problem. But today, quite uncharacteristically, I wasn't worried. Sure, I was about 45 minutes behind my usual schedule. Sure, I'd been almost hit several times while people tried to escape the deadlock. Sure, I'd sat behind the same four cars at the same intersection in the exact same spot for five whole light cycles. But for some reason, none of it bothered me. I had this peace, this sense of "Okay, whatever, I've got time. This is no big deal. And if I'm late, then I'm late. Oh well."
If more peace in life is what I get out of fasting then I think that's worth going hungry. I certainly spend too much time freaking out about things that don't warrant a freak out.
I have decided that I'm going to go through with the whole 7 days for a few reasons. For starters I feel like I need to prove to myself that I can do it, that I don't quit everything I start, that I don't give up when it gets difficult, that I can handle a little bit of pain even though I don't know what the benefit is because with something like this there will be benefit.
It's only 7 days, after all, and there's only 4 and a half left in any case. I just need to stop thinking about it as "Oh my gosh, 7 whole days!" and take it a day at a time. Maybe that's another reason God wants me to do this, maybe he's trying to teach me that "tomorrow has enough worries of its own" lesson. In any case, I realized yesterday that if I just make it through today, I'll have gone three days. Then, one more isn't a big deal so I can go four. After that I'm more than halfway done with the week. If I can go for four days without food then there's no reason I can't just stick it out for three more.
I think if I live this way, this day-by-day way, a lot of the things in my life that I can't seem to balance out and make work will just fall into place. I'll realize - at a level deep enough to get me to actually do something about it - that it really does make more sense for me to just fold the laundry now, just do the dishes as I cook, just pick up the messes as they happen; and I'll end up developing all those habits that I'm so frustrated with myself for not having right now.
So maybe there's more benefits to this fast than I can realize, because I'm just not there yet. And sure, it's frustrating to just not be there yet. But for some reason, today I don't mind.
Plus, I've decided that I'm having Panda Express for dinner on Monday, so that's something to look forward to in those moments when I just can't see the benefit enough to want to stick it out.