This is the 3rd week of a 21 day Daniel Fast that several people in my church family are experiencing together. It's been an awesome couple of weeks, going through this with a good portion of my friends, and keeping each other accountable to what we've put our word out to do. Together we've been experimenting with a few new dishes (can't wait to try the tofu/vegetarian pad thai this Thursday at Lifegroup!) and discussing the blessings and challenges of walking through something like this.
It seems that the toughest things for people to have given up are coffee, meat and sugar (of any kind:)…I've heard a lot about cheese too. One of my friends has been lamenting over coffee the entire time. It's definitely been a difficult thing for her to let go of. At one point she said, "If at the end of this thing, I love Jesus more than coffee, then this will be a good thing!" Someone responded to her and said, "Wait a second, you haven't had coffee this entire time so far?" "No," she said. "Well, it does seem like you already do love Jesus more than coffee! Otherwise, don't you think you would've broken down already?" (cue the small smile on your face, with a short nod)
We just don't see things the way we could sometimes, huh?
And in that case, I've also accomplished one of my goals, and I can say with all honesty, "I love Jesus more than chocolate." :) We all have our own goals, right? 😉
One time in college I ate too much popcorn. It wasn't one night, or one day, but it was one season of my
life when popcorn tasted so good to me. It must've run into a Christmas season because I recall eating a ton of the tri-popcorn tin my parents got from someone that year. It was just too much. Way too much. I lost a taste for popcorn and didn't have any for years. The thought, sound and smell of it disgusted me. I keep hoping something similar happens to me with chocolate, but it's a no-go so far. :) A few years ago I decided that I would try to renew my taste for popcorn again after buying a cool popcorn maker at a thrift store (it was still in its wrapping). I've been able to eat it now and then, but I haven't craved it or really desired it since that one season back in college.
The other night I savored some popcorn that a friend of mine made with real popcorn kernels, in a pot, on the stove. I know, I know. This is how popcorn "used" to be made, "back in the day", or perhaps there are some people who have just preferred it that way anyway, to the typically used machines or bags in a microwave. Popcorn was definitely enjoyed the other night-more than it had been in years. So I decided to try out this "old"-"new" way of making it for myself, and let's just say that I've made it twice in the last 27 hours. The stuff's good, and it's especially good with the sea salt, over regular table salt.
So here I sit, enjoying popcorn once again. (Life has its complications…indulge me one of the simplicities:)
I'm reminded of this, which I'm sure I've posted before…and I'm sure most of you have read before…but it never hurts to be gently reminded:)
2 Corinthians 12:9 (The Message)
7-10Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Well, this has been the longest sabbatical that I've taken from blogging since I started a few years ago. I miss writing and am hoping that I'll be able to jump back in more frequently these next few months. We'll see. I make no promises. Many people have most likely stopped checking…it's cool. I would too:)
The other night I got to see my oldest friend (I think we realized we'd known each other something like 22 years…she turns 30 in 22 days:). Her in-laws live in Kalamazoo, which is only a couple hours from here. I wanted to go there, spend a few hours and then come home that night. That was the goal. So, despite the incoming snow between K-Zoo and D-town I ventured out at about 12.15am from K-Zoo. No-it wasn't the wisest move. But in my defense, I was wide awake and there's no way that I could've fallen asleep at their house. So it made the most sense to me to just drive.
Have you ever driven a maximum of 50 mph on a major highway where you typically drive 75? It was driving me nuts. The roads were slippery and a bit dangerous…I certainly felt adventurous. I could only see about 2 feet in front of me pretty much the whole time. It looked something like this.
…only, I could actually see a lot less in front of me that night.
At one point I just laughed out loud. I mean, how much can this little ride, across the perils of Michigan, possibly parallel my life right now? So much of life feels a little dangerous at this moment-adventurous, if you will. I can barely see two feet in front of me (aka, past the next few months) and my best bet points directly to keeping focused on any light in front of me…and praying intently for guidance. Jen had texted me at one point asking me how I was holding up. I did reply, telling her that the ride was insane. Then she scolded me for texting in that kind of weather. lol I quickly replied to tell her that I wanted her to know I was okay. But that was it.
This journey that I'm on is intense right now. It's stressful and has had its moments of complete anxiety. I will continue to draw myself back to focus on what's most important, which is basking in the presence of Jesus. He is my Prince…my Knight in shining armor…the Light in my blizzard…Author of my story.