This week I am joining with my Thursday night Bible study girls to do a week by week challenge of the fasts presented in Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. You can catch my review of the book here, but my summary is, read it. After I finished the book I didn’t want it to be over and I wanted to start every month of fasting yesterday, but the wiser ladies suggested we focus on one category at a time spending three weeks on each chapter, with one of those weeks put in practice. This is our week of practice, of fasting from our food indulgences and only eating 7 items of food over 7 days. Last week was our prep, and next week will be our review discussion. I am so excited to be doing this with my people I could burst. When I come across something that impacts me on such a deep level I crave those heart to heart discussions of what stood out to each one of us, of how they were hit with something I might not have even picked up on, of having someone else’s head in the same space as mine so we can say, “me too!’
Yesterday was my Day 1. I found myself feeling a bit resentful of the idea at first and not wanting to fully participate which I think is hysterical since I was so gung-ho about it. Zak and I have been on a Whole 30 train (no sugar, no grain, no dairy, no legumes) for most of the summer, and right now are actually on Day 38 out of our 60 day goal right now. Transitioning to that food lifestyle and cutting out every grain of sugar and processed food out of our diet was hard at first but now it feels really good. I finally don’t feel deprived anymore, so I find the timing of starting this food fast kinda funny, that it is time for another round of deprivation. I found such thoughts running my mind like, “I’ve already been fasting this whole time…” or “But I’m finally eating so healthy!” or “Don’t make me give up my coconut milk already! I just started liking it!” Ha. Clearly this fast is good timing. I thought I would have such an easy time, and here I am complaining more than my 8 month old.
The purpose of this fast is to make room for God to move in my life. It is when I get out of His way that He does his work, as He is always waiting so patiently for my invitation, He respects us all so much that way. So this fast is my invitation for Him to do what He wants with me, come what may. All I know is that I am done with the status-quo and keeping up with the Jones’s and after losing Lauren everything seems so frivolous now. This part of the food chapter struck me: “I am pierced by Ghandi’s astute observation: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Would Jesus overindulge on garbage food while climbing out of a debt hole from buying things He couldn’t afford to keep up with the neighbors He couldn’t impress? In so many ways I am the opposite of Jesus’ lifestyle. This keeps me up at night. I can’t have authentic communion with Him while mired in the trappings He begged me to avoid… He always gunned for less, reduced, simplified. He was the most fully and completely unselfish, ungreedy, unpretentious man to ever live, and I just want to be more like Him. It is as simple as that.”
The foods I’ve chosen are chicken, sweet potato, avocado, bell peppers, eggs, peaches, and coffee. Yes, I added coffee on my list, I figure since we are only doing 7 days it would take that long for me to go through the caffeine withdrawal (which might I add that Johns Hopkins has declared as a disorder.. so there!) and I would prefer to be mindfully present during this practice instead of the hot mess I would be in a constant fog and migraine headache. The good news is everything is still Whole 30 compliant so I won’t have to start over to achieve my 60 day goal, and Zak is fully supporting me and even made me dinner last night with just chicken and sweet potato fries. Part of the fast is you can’t add anything besides oil and salt and pepper so any doctoring the meal up is out of the question.
My breakfast was sauteed bell peppers in my scrambled eggs, topped with avocado and of course my black coffee. I had some peaches for my snack, some baked chicken thighs with bell peppers and mashed avocado for a dip, and then the dinner Zak made, all washed down with water. I felt satisfied and I didn’t think I was going to die of deprivation, so there’s that. The hardest part was starting it and looking at all of the food we’ve been prepping that is in our fridge that will have to wait and be frozen or sent to work with Zak. The spaghetti squash I baked that is ready to go, the pork that Zak slow roasted, the cucumbers and carrots and olives and pickles I love to snack on, the coconut milk I love to put in my coffee, all of it staring at me, challenging my commitment to this fast. What I’ve found though is that just making that first decision of the day to start is the hardest part, and then the rest of it is just staying on course. After doing Whole 30 for so long, it feels like flexing a muscle that is getting stronger and stronger, the discipline of staying the course and keeping the eye on the prize. Doing it isn’t the hard part right now. I say that on the off chance someone reading this is thinking of doing this, but scared of how hard it might be, so I am here to offer the encouragement that if I can do it, you can do it. I am not a disciplined person by nature so this is saying a lot! I’m sure that as the week drags on there will be some more hard parts, but I am okay with that, I need them and the awareness they will bring.