Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lenten Lowdown

As some of you may recall, my husband and I have been observing Lent by taking on a Daniel Fast.

Go ahead. Follow the link. Check out all the things we can't eat. Then come back and continue the post with a renewed sense of pity.

Actually, it hasn't been that bad. Lent is almost over, and we're quite used to our diet now. At the start, I really craved sugar (since I'd kind of become a sugar addict in the months leading up to Lent). I started craving the dairy about two weeks ago. I nearly knocked my son down to take his grilled cheese sandwich one day. But I'm over it. I never really missed the meat or the refined flours and such. It's just tricky finding things to eat because of the latter. Going out to eat or eating at the homes of friends and family has been tough, as well. Fortunately, our friends and family have been kind and accommodating. I even got my in-laws to eat curry. Victory!

But what has struck me during this season is how—well, not connected to God I feel. I expected to start this fast and suddenly have visions and revelations! I would be God's right-hand gal by the end of it! I'd have to rename this blog "Christian of the Year: Awesome Musings from an Awesome Christian!"

Eh. Not so much.

Clearly, God and I are on speaking terms. Enough for him to tell me not to watch Angel. I guess I just expected all of it to feel different. For me to feel different.

I've always struggled with food. I have an addictive personality, and food is the addiction. I've been on all kinds of diets—both sensible and fad—and failed. Miserably. I cheat constantly. I end up gaining back the weight I lost, if I even lost anything, and feeling terrible inside and out.

However.

I've lost 15 pounds since Lent started (so about a month). And my already-skinny husband can't tighten his belt enough to keep his pants from falling down. Also, I feel so much better. My skin is great and super hydrated from all the water I've been drinking (even that pesky wrinkle in the middle of my forehead is gone. Gone!). I feel like I look younger, especially since I felt like I was looking super old before the fast. My pancreas and other digestive problems I've had for years have not bothered me once. Not once!

Surprisingly, I have no problem avoiding foods that don't line up with the fast. I'll admit that I cheated the other day: I had a piece of onion and poppyseed Matzo! It wasn't whole grain! I knew that when I ate it! And it's the only time I've cheated!

Matzo. Really. Of all the things I could have cheated with.

There are two reasons I've been able to stick to this super restrictive diet:
  1. I'm doing this for the Lord, not for my own selfish reasons. I didn't set out to lose weight; it's just a pleasant side effect. Somehow knowing that I set out to do this as a spiritual thing makes me want to stick with it more. I think that God has totally been helping me with it, as well. He has to be. 
  2. My husband's in it with me. We're doing this together. When I have to order tofu, he has to order tofu. 
So, what has this taught me?
  1. Do everything like you're doing it for the Lord. There's even a verse about that. Colossians 20:23-24. It's really about manual labor for someone else, but it totally applies to the rest of your life, as well. Working for God and giving him the glory is super cool.
  2. Be in community with others. It's so much easier to keep up with things—your Christian walk, especially. Trying to do it on your own wears you out and makes you liable to "cheat." If you don't have someone in your life holding you accountable, get one. 
I haven't been interacting with God the way I thought I would during this season, but it doesn't mean he's not teaching me anything. Even when you feel far removed from God, he hasn't moved. He's still right there, growing you and teaching you. He's cool like that.

I actually think I'll try to keep up with the concept of the Daniel Fast as much as I can after Lent is over, maybe adding some meat and dairy back in moderation. I can do without the sugar. For reals. Feeling this good is totally worth having an empty Easter basket. After all, it's really about the empty tomb, isn't it? My Easter basket can stand as a metaphor for the empty tomb and a new life.

How has your Lent been going?

6 comments:

  1. Hi Rachel. I'm sitting here eating my apple contemplating your blog. I am really glad for you that in sacrificing for the Lord, He rewarded you with better health and weight loss as well. I've read up on the Daniel diet before and I think its great, but for me, as soon as you tell me I cant eat something, well its like a red rag to a bull. That's why I like this "life-style" plan that I'm on. It kind of covers all the bases. But more important than the diet is all you have learnt on the journey. I think when you dedicate yourself to a season of something with the Lord, He rewards you in ways you'd never have imagined. Keep up the good work. God bless,TKT. ps thanks for commenting on my blog. Made my day!

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  2. I'm totally in awe of you! And I agree that it's super helpful to have someone by your side to work through it with - isn't that a lovely view of marriage?

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  3. Love this! I fasted this Lent also, and was contemplating what spiritual impact it's at had on me. Like you, I did not become Super Christian :) But I've freed myself from some bad habits!
    Great post!

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  4. This is wonderful! 15 pounds in a month, wow.
    I didn't do a fast for Lent and never have but it seems to have some great benefits physical and spiritually. Can't wait for others to read your post on MY blog tomorrow. Thanks for sharing with my readers.

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  5. I love that you specifically sought after the spiritual side of this fast. And that you differentiated that it's because you've focused on doing this for Him that you've stuck with it! Like you've said, that's made all the difference. The reason and the purpose are solid.

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  6. I might have to investigate this method to get over my sugar addiciton. . . It's bad.

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