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Archive for July 22nd, 2013

Did I mention that in addition to fasting Facebook and instant-gratification-style grocery shopping, I’m also on a diet?  I started June 1 on a Paleoish diet after a week of gluttony while hosting my in-laws.  (Think Christmas in May.)  The pounds had slowly crept back on since my Breaking Free from the Sugar Addiction post, which is surprising given that my husband and I have ONLY been consuming an entire Costco bag of Kettle chips a week.  After dessert. *sigh*  We’ve been known to jokingly quote Ursula from The Little Mermaid, dramatically saying, “Look at me, wasting away to practically nothing,” as we attempt to stuff our floppy bits into our jeans.  (At which point my floppy bits spill over the top because clothing manufacturers are conspiring against middle-aged moms by making low-rise jeans the fashion.  For the love of stretch marks, could we please just keep our dignity and our fat rolls zipped safely inside our jeans, where they belong!)

So I made a deal with the devil by signing up for Pinterest in order to search for Paleo recipes and easily keep track of them.  My efforts at low-carb and low-sugar dieting were not yielding results this time around, so I knew I needed to shock-and-awe my insulin level in order for my body to start burning those Kettle Chips it was saving for an emergency.  (I’m telling you, hoarding runs deep within me.)  I embraced vegetables as a breakfast food (hidden within my eggs and smothered in cheese, of course), and began to listen to my body’s signals to discover when I was full instead of mindlessly filling my plate.  I told the family I was taking a break from baking for awhile, and bought Spumoni ice cream and other disgusting things which they enjoy, so as not to be tempted.

I’ve tried to find a balance between saying no to food when I’m not hungry, and allowing myself to indulge in occasional treats, like birthday cake and s’mores around the campfire.  (Why else do you agree to live among the bugs for a week?)  My original plan was to do the diet for 1 month, but half-way through I realized that the diet was becoming a way of daily practicing self-control in an area that was out of control.  And maybe that was a good thing that doesn’t need an end date.  I began to realize that mindless consumption of food was only part of my problem.  The real issue goes deeper.

It’s not that I can’t discipline myself when I need to.  It’s that I struggle with discipline when I don’t have exterior pressure.  As I mentioned in a previous post about this journey, it was easier being poor because my husband was unemployed than it is to purposely live beneath our means so we can pay off our second mortgage and save up to send our kids to college someday. <insert momentary panic attack> It’s easier to stick to a diet for a set period of time than it is to discipline yourself daily to stop eating when you’re full and limit desserts to occasional treats – for a lifetime!

And that’s what led me to go from dieting to fasting, as a way of inviting God to take control of the out-of-control areas in my life (although I’m still eating way fewer carbs and less sugar to continue shedding floppy bits).  For me, the fast from over-consumption and time-wasting activity is about losing more than pounds.  It’s about getting rid of unhealthy and unproductive habits.  It’s about tuning out myself and tuning into God.  It’s about interrupting my normal routine to shock-and-awe my spiritual insulin level into waking up and recognizing that I have extra weight I don’t need to be carrying around anymore.  I don’t need the weight of overindulgence and hoarding.  I don’t need the weight of procrastination.  I don’t need the weight of envy when I read peoples’ Facebook posts about all the awards their children have won, displaying their Proud Parent of an Honor Student bumper stickers.  (I heard a Christian comedian who homeschools say, “Us homeschoolers need a bumper sticker that says, Proud Parent of a Homeschooled Kid and I Don’t Know How the Heck He’s Doing.”  Amen.  Sorry about the disappointing lack of award certificates, Grandparents.)

Fasting encourages me to exercise some spiritual muscle and say no to the desires of my flesh so I can say yes to God’s desires for me.  It’s not about reluctantly giving in to God.  It’s proactively seeking God with a willingness to change and be changed.  I came across a timely devotional passage this week, explaining what yielding to God is and isn’t, from Beth Moore’s devotional book, “Paul: 90 Days On His Journey Of Faith.”

We sometimes feel as if we’re playing tug-of-war with God. In bitter tears we sometimes let go of the rope, tumble to the ground, and cry, “Have your way, God! You’re going to do what You want anyway!” God is not playing a game. He doesn’t jerk on the rope just so He can win. In fact, He doesn’t want us to let go of the rope at all. Rather than see us drop the rope and give up, He wants us to hang on and let Him pull us over to His side. God’s will is always best even when we cannot imagine how. Surrendering to His will doesn’t mean you lose. Ultimately it means you win. Keep hanging on to that rope and let Him pull you over to His side. (p. 251)

I’m hanging on Lord. Pull me over.  And thanks for loving me, floppy bits and all.

To follow my journey over the next several weeks, check out the posts under the category “My Fast” on the right.

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