Fast & Slow (Down)
While I was happily typing away sharing my optimistic thoughts for the new year including some hopeful habits, a few books to read and being all restful etc. My husband was beginning the year with a rigorous twenty-one day fast. This included media; he powered down the screens and took a media fast from all entertainment gadgets, video games, movies, TV shows etc. He ate nothing and drank water only for the first three days. Then he transitioned into a Daniel Fast consisting of fruits, vegetables and whole grains- only.
This was not simply a resolution to eat healthier. In fact it had nothing to do with health and everything to do with spirituality and a desire to connect with God on a deeper level. Me? Notsomuch. Oh, I have a desire to connect with the Almighty too, no doubt about that. But my lesson seems to be a different one than my husband’s. I have been enjoying (Ha! chokesonherwords!) learning to depend on my Savior while not being able to be a savior to my own family as I have been oh.so.slowly regaining my health and strength as I recover from some uncommon cold that has been lingering since pretty much the beginning of the year.
The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]… those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
So, instead of joining my husband on his great spiritual journey, as I had originally planned, I have been wandering through my own spiritual journey. And aren’t all truly spiritual journeys ones that we must make on our own anyway? Yes. The answer here is yes. Even though the call to fast together was put before our entire church at the beginning of the year as a sort of spiritual preparation for a weekend set apart to encounter the Holy Spirit at the end of these days of fasting. In the end it really has been a singularly individual activity.
As a family we have chosen to abstain from eating fast-food, hopefully for the entire year (overly ambitious? maybe) and from eating out at any restaurants for the first twenty-one days of the new year. We are almost there. This seems so little, so simple, but in reality it has caused all of us to realize how weak we are as individuals when we catch ourselves from asking for take-out (did I mention I’ve not felt like preparing meals?) or decide to drive past the drive-thru. *See above verse.
My son has followed his dad’s lead and decided to participate in the media fast and Daniel Fast for the last three days of the twenty-one. I am so proud of him. He is learning a lot about himself and desires and choices. For a teenage boy to give up meat, sweets and packaged snacks (on top of the ‘no eating out’ thing) is pretty commendable. But he is not doing it to please his mom; although he will be rewarded by his Heavenly Father I am sure. *See above verse- again.
So while we are abstaining from certain foods and eating mainly whole foods I have been reacquainting myself with vegetarian cuisine. I was a lacto/ovo vegetarian when I first met my husband and that is how I have been eating during this time of fasting (allowing myself chicken in my get-well soup) while my husband, and now my son too have been experimenting with vegan dishes and our daughter has politely refrained from baking any tempting sugary treats. No sugar, no caffeine- did I mention that? Yeah, that too.
“…fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon.”
-Hudson Taylor, 18th century missionary to China.