It's Monday and time for another post on fasting! For those of you getting tired of this particular subject, do not despair, there is only one week left!
Last weeks homework was fasting in a way that would be easier to keep private and maybe be easier to start off with, like just cutting out one food group or something similar. I decided to not eat cereal, not too hard, right? I didn't quite realize I ate cereal everyday, most of the time not for breakfast (I'm not much of a breakfast person really....) lunch and yes even dinner is when I enjoy a bowl of cereal. Living and working in houses with kids gives me lots of tasty options, because unfortunately my very grown up and sophisticated tastes run towards the marshmallow-y (Mmm, Marshmallow Mateys!), frosted varieties rather then the Bran/whole wheat healthy kinds. Hey, in my defense, I do like mini wheat's..... okay you caught me.....the frosted kind.....
Ahem.....anyway, every time I wanted cereal and remembered I couldn't have it, I sent up a praise to God, that the sun was out, that I was almost done with work, that I wasn't in that car crash on Knott Rd.....most of them were sent up seriously, I do admit to some of them sounding more frustrated then others! It was brought up before that fasting had to have a purpose to mean something and this segways (Yes! I finally worked that in to a post! It's kind of pathetic how long I've been trying.....) into the main topic of discussion last night. Once again we went a little off book, but as what was in the book was something we had previously discussed, I don't feel we did it too much injustice.
Our fearless leader ( Or the fearless leaders husband, it really depends on who you're talking too!) didn't see the point in last weeks homework. He feels that if you fast from something you should directly replace it with something else. You go into it knowing what you are fasting for, then you spend that hour or day etc etc etc praying for this previously decided on topic. The other guy there agreed with him and said it might not be a good idea to go into it with out a plan and specific purpose.
Our fearless leaders wife agreed with me, that you can fast from something like potato chips or licorice and not have a set in stone plan and still have it mean something to God. Every time I reached for that cereal, I would stop and think of God. I need those small reminders of God through out the day, it helps me keep my focus on what is really important. So maybe rather then true fasting, maybe it's more training yourself to see and think of God in even the most ordinary things.
The other guy (the one who agreed with our fearless leader about fasting with a specific purpose.... Hmm, I wonder if gender might play a role here?) brought up something that I realized during the last all day fasting attempt, he just said it way better then I had. So reminded, I want to offer it up a a reason for fasting from the small things. The first day I tried I was in a bad mod and really, really wanted a bowl of Franken' Berries (A marshmallow cereal....are you really that surprised?) but restrained myself, but on my way home as I was praying, the box floated through my mind again I realized how ridiculous I was being. I prayed right then and there that God would fill me with the same kind of longing for Him!
As you reach for that bag of chips, soda, remote control, what ever it is that you've chosen to give up, instead pray that God would fill you with the same desire to spend time in His word and talking to Him. Pray that he would fill you with the same almost unconscious pull to tell others about Him. I guess I did get something out of those two days of what I thought were rather unproductive fasting, I just needed it put a little differently for the thoughts to fully solidify! Thanks other guy! =)
This weeks homework? There were two choices, right down things that are hindering you from serving God in a free wheeling manor (the books words, not mine. Though I wish they were!) like are you over committed or scared. Or you could really dig in your heels and start having a daily quite time with God. I chose the latter, I had been doing it pretty faithfully before bed for years, but at the beginning of this study we were encouraged to write down and tell the group our quite time schedule so it would become an accountability thing and ask me if I've managed to have a decent quite time more then a dozen times or so!
Nighttime just isn't working for me anymore, and I wasn't getting up early enough before work to both pray and read my bible. I would do one, but somehow just never got to the one I hadn't done in the morning. So, I committed to getting up half an hour earlier each work day and doing both in the morning. Day one, accomplished! Now, hopefully I can mange the next 29 days needed to establish a habit! =)