Day 214: Fasting 101

Day 11 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

Well, I should have worked on my post during nap but I really just wanted to play dress up… and that turned into a little closet kriya… which turned into a big closet kriya.

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But it feels good to have done it! Although most of the stuff came from my top tier of clothes (like they are my winter clothes and my don’t-fits, so they are up extra high and I have to use a ladder to get up there) so the main part of my itty bitty closet doesn’t look that different!

What I really wanted to write about were some thoughts that I was having this afternoon right after lunch. I was super craving something… decadent. I think it is because I saw the tupperware of leftover chocolate no-bake cookie bars that I made the other night for my book club. They were apparently really, reallllly good. And well, they have peanut butter and chocolate in them. That combo is like flipping kryptonite to me!

And I just kept thinking about them. and thinking about them. and thinking about them.

I finally got up and mixed some peanut butter and raisins together as a “treat” (which I really do enjoy) but I wish now I hadn’t even done that. I wasn’t hungry. I was trying to fulfill a desire that was all in my mind… not fulfilling a physical need for nutrients. Humph. Oh well.

But I did start thinking about what Daniel said in the verses that inspire most Daniel Fasters (in Daniel 10)… he said that he ate “no rich foods”.

Soooooo why no rich, choice, tasty foods for his fast?

I guess when you deny yourself of something “rich” then you are reminded of sacrifice. Like, when I want a chocolate no-bake cookie bar and then I realize “Oh, I can’t have one…” it forces me to think of my sacrifice. of my choice to abstain. And those thoughts make me remember who drove me to abstain. and why He led me down that path.

And that leads to an opportune time to pray over whatever it is that God motivated me to fast about instead of thinking about something earthly like a chocolate no-bake cookie bar.

Maybe all of this was like a review for those of you who are well studied in the art of fasting, but I guess 214 days in, I needed a little bit of a reminder as to the who, what, where, and when of it all.

Day 129: Tea Time

My friend Christy and I were talking about why we would eat at night a lot was because it was like after we got our kids down to bed that was “our time” and part of that involved “treating” ourselves. Honestly, I still have to fight the urge at this time. I used eating after the boys were in bed as a “stall” technique. It was the only way that my husband wouldn’t ask me or expect me to fold the laundry or pay the bills or whatever. If I was sitting there eating… whatever… then he couldn’t ask, or at least he didn’t ask.

Now, I turn to iced tea as my “luxury” item in the evenings. I mean, I know that it’s not a luxury item compared to some of the stuff I used to eat, but in a way it is. I mean, iced tea represents relaxation in the south… sittin outside with my feet up drinking a glass of fresh brewed (okay, okay, fresh brewed to a mom of a toddler means that it was fresh brewed today) well, that’s just luxury. decadence. relaxation. comfort.

And it doesn’t involve a single bite of chocolate.

The other night, even though by the time I had finished getting the boys in bed it was dark outside, I decided that I wanted to get myself a glass of tea and sit out on the patio and look up at the big beautiful sky as it slid from dusk into darkness. So, I sat out there and gazed up at Venus and took several deep breaths and “found” myself again… well at least until every gnat in a five mile radius descended upon me. Ha!

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Part of me (that would like to be June Cleaver… well, it’s a very smalllllll part of me) would like to say that I came right on in and got down to work folding the huge basket of laundry that I had to do, but the other part of me (that loves being January Rowe) came in and went. straight. to. sleep. Haha! Well, honestly, I have already learned that it is more difficult to fight off hunger when I am tired, sooooo I just don’t let myself get THAT tired if I can help it (note: if I can help it… I have a four year old that is going through his nightly “I’m scared” phase and a two-year old that is getting in, what I call, his vamp teeth (the sharp pointy vampire looking teeth… so sometimes I can’t keep the exhaustion away… those are “survival” days).

Really… maybe we as a society don’t take enough moments of rest. I am more “me” when I do take time to rest…

Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me. Psalm 116:7

Day Fifty: Edible Inedibles

It’s funny how my life has affected the way that I view food. As I made myself a potato lunch the other day, I found myself saying, “Well, I’m adding in this butter because otherwise the potatoes are inedible.” And then immediately after, “I need to add in this cheese and sour cream to make these potatoes edible.”

And now I think… Really? Were the potatoes really inedible??? And I sort of realized how my preconceived notion of food is… wrong. Those potatoes would have been edible had they been butterless. had they been sour creamless. had they been cheeseless.

But I had my brain set to believe that simply because something doesn’t taste decadent or indulgent then it must not be edible. Haha- it sounds ridiculous now that I’m away from the situation, but I think this is part of another stronghold that has needed to be shattered in my mind.

It’s like I’ve let my tastebuds give some kind of lesser value to “raw food” or “pure food”. My mind/tastebuds expect to get spicy food, salty food, buttery food, seasoned food, savory food, sugary food, etc. When they don’t… then it is literally like the food isn’t “worthy”. But food is about sustenance. Not about pleasure. I mean, it does taste good, but going to it for a pleasurable “experience” is not the point of food. That’s not the reason that food is there.

And although God desires for us to get pleasure out of life, it is not what we are to live for. In Ephesians, Paul is writing about the Gentiles and he’s telling us to not be like them (and, by the way, verse 19 talks about sexual obsession, but I changed it to an obsession with food since that is the “lust” that I am dealing with). And here is Paul’s “challenge” to them… to us… to me:

And so I insist (and God backs me up on this) that there be no going along with the crowd… that empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in an obsession with food, addicted to every sort of decadence.

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything (and I do mean everything) connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life (a God-fashioned life) a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your actions as God accurately reproduces his character in you. Ephesians 4:17-24

Honestly… I looked at this verse because in the NLT version it has the word “pleasure” in it and so when I did a word search for that it came up. But then I switched it over to the Message cause sometimes that version tends to really convict me since it sounds so… brutally honest! And it just worked on me and worked on me. I immediately identified with those Gentiles that had lost touch with God AND reality! I mean… I ate an entire bowl of cookie dough… that’s losing touch with reality!

And then, I really grabbed onto the verse that I have underlined because I’m working to get rid of my old way of life… all that addiction has GOT TO GO! It is rotten. I want to get rid of it! I am getting rid of it!

And then, that last part in bold. DANG. That is exactly what I am seeing and hope to continue seeing! That I’m experiencing an entirely NEW way of life… a life that God has designed… and life that is totally new FROM THE INSIDE! And it is working on my actions (my previous overeating habits) so that I am like Him… so that I have Him and His Character inside me!

Whoo hoo! That just gets me all sorts of pumped up!!! So, leaving my potatoes “plain” next time won’t be about edible and inedible. It will be about God giving me a new way of life… a life where he is reforming my character into His character! Talk about some goodness packed potatoes! Haha!