Just so I can say this upfront...
I have never fasted before for longer than a day. But I always admired all those folks in the bible that could do it. Look at Esther - she needed the whole Jewish community to fast for her when Haman sent out orders to kill all the Jews and she needed to go before the king without first being summoned. She said to tell everyone to fast for her 3 days and she and her attendants would do so as well. Granted, their lives were in danger but fasting was a way of life in the Old Testament and New Testament too really and yet it's something I see very few Christians doing. Our church back home encourages folks to fast for 40 days - to give up something that they crave. For my sister it was coke, for my mom it was chocolate. For several friends it was Facebook. Lots of catholics give up something for Lent. I am inspired by their commitment.
Fasting is something I've only done in the past for weight loss if I'm being honest. I did find myself praying more on those days than other days and reading more of my bible but it wasn't because I was any more spiritual but because I knew I was lousy at fasting and I was begging for help!
So, this got me thinking.
I have a very difficult time with my weight. Always have done. Is it genetic? Absolutely and without question. But that does not mean I can just give up and stop fighting which is what I saw myself doing these last few weeks. I'm so tired of the roller coaster lose 5-7 pounds and then over the next couple of months gain it all back. I meal track every ounce of everything I put in my mouth, keep to the calorie goals, exercise like mad and nata. hmmmmmm
I am not a binge eater. Never have been (well except those times when I was like 7 that I actually took a suitcase to the 7-Eleven and my allowance for the week and filled it up with all the snack foods my mother would never allow us to have. I even took a friend and we sat in my room with the door locked and pigged out!). Still even though I never binge I struggle and fail at the eating thing far more than in any other area of struggle in my life.
About a month ago I started this new plan on YouVersion called Made to Crave. It is soooooo me! In fact it's so revealing I wonder if she knows my life story?! The thing I'm just realizing now though is that it is also speaking to hundreds of thousands of other folks out there. I used to single myself out and think no one had the same struggles I did but that's just a lie that the devil feeds to us to keep us isolated, afraid and defeated. Day one of this plan talks about the fact that we are loved no matter our size. I am loved by my creator, by Alan, by Chloe, by my family and friends. BUT God does not want us to stay defeated. Defeated is definitely where I am right now or where I've been. STRUGGLING and FAILING but with God all things are possible. On my own it's failure because I have to wrestle with my flesh and a lifetime of bad habits, with my own set of demons that sees this as the best possible way to take me out and with the fact that you can't just give up eating in its entirety for long. You MUST eat eventually or you will die. That's why I see being a food addict as much worse and much more difficult a disease than being an alcoholic or a drug addict. Giving up either of those will not kill you. There are substitutes. Yes there are substitutes for food as well but it's still food. Every single thing I put in my mouth has calories and too much of even a very healthy good thing all adds up. So it's what you eat, how much you eat of it, when you eat it, how long it stays in your body (do you exercise or are you a couch potato), etc. No wonder it's so hard!
Well, if you are reading this post then that means I made it through at least the first day and hopefully the remainder of my 3 day fast. Still, prayers for the every day struggles are much appreciated. Especially when you have a husband like I do that can eat practically anything and as much of anything he'd ever want and never gain a pound. Why can't that be my life?!? :))
Temptations are all around us and they are sure to come but GREATER is HE that is in me than he that is in the world. I crave. I desire. I think about and arrange my life around food. I always have. So what about exercise?? Can't that help? Exercise I love and I do without issue - normally 3,4 or 5 times a week I'm doing hard cardio workouts, weights, everything and yet the scale won't move. So that's why I've resorted to a 3 day fast. No I can not continue this long-term and many, many would say this isn't the best way to lose weight (all the stuff about slowing down your metabolism and all). All I can say is believe me when you've struggled with your weight as long as I have you know all that stuff already. Still, for me, if I can stay out of the kitchen completely then it becomes less of a struggle and right now I just need to see, to taste a little success in this area. So indulge me.
I'm writing as fast as I can type and no one will ever see this post if I don't successfully complete this fast. Oh the beauty of saving but not publishing! :) Every time I have struggled so far today I've prayed and tried to read some of the bible. Alan and I have been doing a daily bible reading each day since July 1st so that I can say I've officially read through the bible in a year (another thing I've never done). But lately it's so dry for me. I have NOT wanted to read and have allowed a thousand other things to flood into my way of doing so. Still I'm caught up but not happy about where I am with God and I'm hoping that this three day fast will help revive me spiritually. It's all tied together. If I put food before God then that's not the way I should live. God gives us food for nourishment and for pleasure but too much pleasure that is unrestrained is not a good thing (Made to Crave - day 1).
Another thing I always want to do, plan to do, tell folks I'm going to do is to pray more for folks specifically. God knows there's a lot of struggling, hurting people out there. I heard this week about a girl who was hit by a police officer chasing down a drunk driver. The girl hit has a broken back and hip I think they said and her 21 year old sister was killed in the accident.
Yesterday I caught myself still mourning the loss of sweet Abigail and her sister Laurel again. I just can't imagine myself in Brennen's shoes. Every time I try I break down and cry. Selfishly I guess because I always think of how I'd feel if I lost Chloe. Devastated is not a strong enough word.
Today I found out that sweet Charlie Guyer died while taking a nap yesterday. I still see his face sitting opposite from mine at the Christmas party dinner table back in December. He and his wife Jerry have been staples in my families lives for decades. Such a Godly, loving and sweet man. He will be sorely missed.
On top of the major tragedies which seem to strike like bells on the clock, there is the every day stuff that needs prayer. Our marriage, sweet Chloe, our families, the ministry here. Our friends and supporters, our finances, our plans, Gods plans. Prayer changes lives. I know because I've seen it change my life and the lives of those I love.
Lastly there's a bunch of stuff I want to do but have never made time to do it - like sending condolences cards or birthday cards to friends and family. It's the deep organizing in the house or deep cleaning that I always put off to next week. Maybe when I'm not spending so much time in the kitchen planning, preparing, serving and cleaning up after meals I can actually tackle some of that. We'll see and I'll keep you posted. :)