Fasting Lessons.

So, how did the food thing go?
.     Did you make it all week?
.           Did you really only eat those few things all week?
.                Did you learn anything or grow spiritually?

These are some of the questions I’ve been getting. Especially since I’ve been so busy preparing for a garage sale and dealing with sick kids, sick husband, and everything else on my mommy-do list, I haven’t had a chance to update since we finished the fast. Plus I’ve really thought about this post a lot. What I would say. What I learned, etc.  So, in a nutshell, here’s how it went down.

So, how did the food thing go?  Great. And surprisingly, I haven’t sworn off chicken and spinach and sweet potatoes at all. In fact, I bought more at the grocery store last week. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy and we certainly had some difficult moments. Day three was by far the most challenging. I think because we didn’t start off the day remembering the reason for the fast, but just feeling deprived and annoyed. And grumpy. We were grumpy.  And we forgot about God. Seriously, by the end of the day, I realized I had not once stopped to pray. It turned into something we were doing, and not something God was doing. Once I realized that, we got back on track. Not to say it was easy the remaining days, but it was a good reminder to stay focused.

Did you make it all week?  Yes, yes we did.  We almost went for Mexican on the last night, but then thought, no, we should finish what we started and came home and made one last dish of chicken, spinach and sweet potato. Amen.

Did you really only eat those few things all week?   Yep. And I didn’t feel deprived either. Not even when we went to a party and there was chocolate cake. I almost didn’t even notice the cake. Well, I noticed it, but I didn’t give it much thought. Normally, I would’ve made a bee-line for it. But you know what my friend did? She brought me grapes. Because she’s awesome. I learned some new tricks, too. Like smearing a ripe avocado on bread is a decent substitute for mayo. Slap a piece of grilled chicken on that bad boy and you’ve got a pretty tasty sandwich. Plain yogurt goes well in a lot of things and makes a yummy chicken salad. Refrigerator oatmeal is a great nutritious start to the day and was essential to helping stave off the munchies. EVOO is not good in steamed spinach. Grilled sweet potato slices are yummy. Grilled avocado, not so much.

Did you learn anything or grow spiritually?  This one is tough to answer. This is the question I’ve been asking myself since the whole thing started and why it’s taken so long to write this post. Because here’s the deal, yes, we learned a lot. And while it wasn’t a super spiritual experience, I do believe we grew spiritually.

The main lesson I took from this week, was that what has been lacking in my life is self control. Every time I made PB&J for my kid or anything that was not what we were eating, I had to exercise self control (sometimes more than others). For example, it took actual thought and effort not to lick the peanut butter off my fingers, or take a nugget or french fry off the baking sheet. And I realized just how much I do this. Like every time I make him something to eat, mealtime or otherwise. It forced me to become very thoughtful about my snacking and not eat mindlessly.

As this whole concept started forming in my mind, I was gently reminded that self control is a fruit of the Spirit. So I’ve been quashing the Spirit’s place in that area of my life. Eating is a self control issue.

Related to self control is self discipline.  I have made excuses for not exercising or taking care of myself for a really long time now. Exercising takes discipline. Eating right takes discipline. Bible study takes discipline. And discipline is GIVEN TO ME through the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve just been lazy. So can I lose 20, 30 or 60 pounds on sheer determination? Probably. But doing it with power from above is a much better proposition.

So God showed me through this fasting week, that I’ve already got what I need to make positive changes in my life and my family’s lives that will manifest into us all being healthier, physically and spiritually.

Incidentally, we weighed before and after the fast, just to see if it would make a difference. The result: I lost 5 pounds and Marcus lost 14. We did not set out intending to lose weight, but saw how possible it was with a bit of self control.  And during the week, we educated ourselves on healthier eating and have decided to eat a little cleaner. Less processed food, more real, actual food. And we joined a gym. And I’ve been 4 times in the last week and even jogged a couple minutes on the treadmill. Go me! I haven’t done that in years.

And I learned about the 925 million.  Nearly 1 billion. The hungry people of this world. And while I was fasting, or shortly after we finished, Facebook announced it had 1 billion users which meant that 1 in 7 people in the world has a Facebook account. Which also means that roughly 1 in 7 people in the world are hungry. They go to bed at night with rumbles in their tummies.  And this makes me sad. I wish I could invite them over and feed them even one meal.

I thank God for my blessings. For food in my pantry and my fridge(s). And I pray that I’ll not forget the 925 million. And that God will show me who they are. Because they are not all in Cambodia or Congo. Many are here in America. The land of plenty.  But many of our own countrymen, women and children go to bed at night with rumbles in their tummies, too. I pray that God helps me see the needs of those around me and that I will be bold enough to take the opportunity to meet that need. Face to face.

Like Jesus.

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