Day 16 of 21

Posted: 16th February 2011 by iBarnabas in journaling
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Day 16 Personal Inventory

So, I’m on day 16 of a 21- day fast. My wife and are doing it together and it’s part of a church-wide fasting effort intended to help us focus on praying big prayers. “Sun, stand still” size prayers. I’ve been invited to take part in a fast before but it never felt like it was something I wanted to do. This time it did. 21-days is way too long to go without any food and, really, it’s not really about food anyway. It’s about using self discipline to remove something from your life for a time and replace it with something of God. What we gave up kind of seems a little lame (even to me): we gave up processed foods, white potatoes, rice, pastas, flours, corn products and the like to stick with more natural and healthier vegetables and meats. As a part of this we’re not to have anything to eat after 7pm. To me, this seems a little lame in that it sounds more like an effort to eat healthy than a religious act of discipline and prayer. Oddly, it has, so far, accomplished both.

The eating healthier foods has been pretty easy. Fact is, I don’t think much about what I’m eating. I simply eat whatever is put on my plate. Give me a pile of brussels sprouts or a bowl of ice cream neither way I’ll eat it and be thankful for it. The harder thing for me has been the 7pm deadline. For two reasons. First of all, I’m what you’d call a night owl. I’m one of those more likely to lie awake in bed with his iPhone perched of head typing out a blog post than to be deep in dreamland by 9. The second problem is that I have to have ‘crunchy’ foods. Salty if possible but the crunch is most important. Most nights after about 9 or even 10pm I’ll be crunching away at nuts, chips, cereal or even carrots or celery. (like I said healthy or not, I’ll eat it).

What I’ve found myself doing – instead of crunching has been a little surprising to me. For one I have been doing more prayer. Big prayers too. Mostly for my own family and a few close friends that are going through some tough times right now. A little too for myself as far as direction for my future; how to conduct myself at work, how deep to submerse myself in service to the church, where to live, what color to paint the Chevelle. Things like that. The other thing, and the most surprising and somewhat troubling has been sort of a self-inventory.

There is a lot in my life that is very ‘right’ and good in my life right now. Things that I am entirely grateful to God for and yet sort of embarrassed by since there are many people in my life that are struggling with some of the things I feel blessed with. How can I rejoice in victory over an addiction in my life when some close are scratching their way out of addiction? Its hard to be all excited and happy about my relationship with my wife when I have friends struggling in their marriages. It’s hard to praise God for my wonderful job when so many of my friends and even family are desperately seeking work and struggling with their income.

Then things get really twisted when I start thinking of the things in my life that I don’t have or wish I could have more of, in light of my blessings and other’s struggles. I wish I had more time to exercise, to work on my Chevelle, to read and to write, to fellowship with others, to travel, to learn more, to love my wife more, to give more of myself to the church, etc.

I have a few questions stirring around in my head through this 21-day fast:

Who am I, and why does He care?

Am I happy because I am blessed or blessed because I am happy?

How can I be happy when others struggle so?

How do you turn a television off?

What would happen if I truly, in the depths of my heart believed that God could do anything including helping people overcome addictions, be successful at their jobs, find comfort, trust and love in their marriages, and learn to live life as the beloved children of God free from the bondages of sin and the lies of the Devil?

This is my first experience at fasting and it is stretching me. Not in my will power to stick to a diet, not in my determination to succeed in lasting out the 21-days. But in drawing closer to my Father in heaven by thinking and praying for others while remaining thankful for His mercy and grace in my life.

I will partake in the spiritual discipline of fasting again and again. And when I do I will be praying big prayers and looking for God to do things that my feeble mind struggles to assume possible. Will you join me in an exploration beyond the limits of self, outward to the people in your life and to the highest and only power that can accomplish the impossible?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (NIV)

  1. Oh my, praying with you. God loves us more than we can believe and He “wants” good things for all of us. Love you.