Saturday, March 23, 2013

Seven Fast, Part 1 (Jan- No Sugar)

Wow, it's been a while.  I have Christmas, and Valentine's Day, and Liam's monthly shoots, and St. Patrick's Day, and everything in between, like doula-ing and natural living, and cloth diapering ...because surely everyone wants to stay caught up on the minutia of our lives, right? :)  My blogging has been on a downward slope every since getting a smart phone.  Facebook is so easy to upload pictures and quips and my children's adorable sayings to-- just a little downward swipe of the thumb and a few touch-screen typies... whereas blogging means I have to open the laptop (which I try to avoid doing while my children are awake if I can).

So... Seven.

It started with me loving a blogpost about Santa & Jesus by Jen Hatmaker.  That got me loving her whole blog.  I linked to it on Facebook (wow, amazing how much that comes up!), and an old friend mentioned a book she'd written on eliminating excess.  The title was simply, Seven.  This friend, Sarah, invited me to participate in our own 'Seven Fast' in the new year.  I ordered the book and signed on.

You should all beg, borrow or buy the book.  It's laugh-out-loud hilarious while being very pointed and convicting.  I really enjoyed it.  The basic jist of the book is that Jen & 6 of her friends decided to fast in 7 different areas (4 weeks in each area):  food, media, clothing, waste, possessions, shopping, and stress.  One month she ate only 7 foods, another she wore the same 7 clothing items for a month, and in another she gave away 7 items each day. We've loosely imitated this by picking an area each month and fasting, keeping each other in the loop throughout it.

An example of what I couldn't eat...
My first fasting area was food.  Since I'm still breastfeeding Liam (in January he was still 100% ebf) and also already quite restricted in my diet (no soy, no gluten), a seven-food fast seemed a bit too tricky.  I also already make most food from scratch and eat a whole-foods diet, so restrictions towards healthiness seemed a bit moot as well.  But sugar, now sugar, THAT sounded hard to me.  As much as I tell myself that I don't eat much sugar, I still felt quite attached to that little bit.  Meaning... it should go.

So for a month I eliminated all refined forms of sugar.  I allowed myself 1-2 tsp of a honey or maple syrup per day (in baked items or in tea)... and that was it.  Good thing I already drink my coffee strong with cream (a habit I've passed on to my daughter)... anyway.

What did I learn?  Three things, briefly, that I think are learned by all fasting.
1.  It's good to say no.  I think the mental clarity that can accompany a fast can come less from the fast itself and more from the discipline the fast teaches.  When we learn to say "no" to self, just for the sake of keeping our word and doing something that we don't really want to do, I think it creates a frame of mind that's more amenable to godliness.  We can obey better, listen better, wait better.  And that's how God often meets us.
2. Remembering how much I need the Lord.  Every time I wanted sugar for a pick-me-up or for something sweet, I would remind myself that the Lord is my strength, that He's enough, that I can be thankful and I don't really NEED a pick-me-up.
3. Making me pray.  Every time I felt that sugar-craving, I used it as trigger to remember to pray.  Since I wanted sugar a lot, I prayed a lot. :)

So that was my first month of 'Seven' fasting.  More to come.

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