I told you a little about how awesome the ladies are that are in the book club. (From 3 countries and at least 10 states, cool huh?)
I told you a little about how I tend to listen to the Spirit and how I see Him shifting my listening skills to be more beneficial to our relationship.
I briefly said something about the food fast. And added that I might come back to tell you more about it. So here I am.
For my fast, I decided I would do 12 days out of our two-week allotment. I talked with Brad about it and we really didn't feel it would be practical as a family to try to choose only 7 foods to eat for 12 days. We also decided that it would be a pretty bad idea for me to fast completely from a meal a day (or any other version of the-real-deal-no-eating-fast). We also agreed that it would be absurd for me to try to make two meals at dinner - one for me to include my 7 and one for them. In full disclosure, at this point, I thought Brad would suggest I just eat dinner like we normally do, and I was fully prepared to agree to that suggestion. Instead, we settled on eating beans + rice for dinner as a family for 12 days. Our version of beans + rice has onions, green peppers, and smoked sausage... and we actually eat this meal once or twice a month. So in a way, I was let off the 7 hook a bit. (The boys and Brad get to eat normal breakfast and lunch. And the three youngest will get passes on the beans + rice with from-the-pantry or from-the-fridge replacements).
So this is my 7 list:
- green pepper
- whole wheat bread
- beans + rice
Brad still thinks I shouldn't count milk + coffee; but because my beans + rice are rather luxurious I haven't added anything different. At least not on purpose... I have eaten about 2 chips, 5 pieces of life cereal, and I added lettuce to my egg salad sandwich today - which had just a smidge of mayo to hold the egg together.
Day 1, found me in absolute shock over how often I walk through the kitchen and pop something in my mouth. Like all day long. And oh my the sweets. I miss them. So much. I was prepared to blame my morning headache on lack of sugar; and was awaiting body shakes and cold sweats. Instead I just day-dreamed. A lot.
Day 3, Brad brought home an Almond Joy candy bar for me. He forgot. But remembered as soon as he saw the look on my face when I saw it. After the boys were in bed, I casually mentioned, "I sure would like to eat that Almond Joy." You know why I said that to Brad? Because I thought he'd give me permission to just go ahead and eat it. He more or less ignored my statement though. He's a good man.
Day 4, [yesterday] I had a dentist appointment. If you know me a little bit, you might know that I am not a fan of the dentist. I blame it on my childhood visits to the dental college in Flint and that dentist downtown Flushing that was "so cheap compared to everyone else" (and also creepy.)
So more or less, not a fan. I usually break into a sweat - I compare the dentist's chair to a tanning bad - they need to be disinfected between use due to all the sweat. Gross, but accurate.
Back to the point. I recently got into the habit of buying myself a reward after the dentist. Something like a donut or a hazelnut misto from Starbuck's. Just a little something to brighten my day after all that sweating and fist-clenching. I whined to Brad that I wasn't going to be able to buy myself a treat after my cleaning because of 7. He didn't say much to this either. He's a good man.
His silence left some space for the Holy Spirit though.
I was humbled by what I learned through this. Its almost embarrassing to share it here, because it is SO OBVIOUS.
It is a privilege to have dental insurance. I should know this because we didn't have it when I was growing up (hence dental college visits). My husband works hard and pays a bit out of his paycheck so I can go to the dentist. There is such a huge number of people that would LOVE that opportunity... a quick google search just told me that there are 100 million AMERICANS that cannot afford dental insurance. I imagine in some parts of the world it is almost incomprehensible that we pay someone to clean our teeth. We recently watched a clip on 60 minutes about the Africa Mercy Ships and the tumors they remove because of over-grown enamel - something that doesn't occur here because a dentist would spot it and take care of it before it had a chance to grow.
And I usually complain about it. Like every day between when I get the post-card-reminder and when I go. I get all pouty about it even. Like a five year old.
Worse yet, I buy myself a TREAT afterwards. Like a five year old.
And even worse, when I find myself in a commitment that doesn't allow for a treat - I whine about it to my husband. As well as gripe about it internally all morning before my appointment.
The fact that I complain about a privilege is sickening. I was comfortable complaining about it every time too. I didn't just complain once on a bad day. Nope, it was my habit to complain about this privilege every single time. Could I be more like the Israelites? (cue Chandler Bing voice)
Thankfully the Lord is full of mercy and grace. I pray that this lesson sticks. I do not want to be a complainer. I don't want to find portions of my days where I give myself a "pass" to complain about _____________ (fill in the blank). I want to be grateful.
If eating eggs, apples, green pepper, bread, beans + rice, milk & coffee for 12 days makes me a more grateful Christ-follower. So be it.
I was led to these three verses this morning. Each one brought encouragement in a different way. I hope you find a bit of encouragement too.
My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
I Corinthians 15:57
P.S. a few of the awesome ladies from the group are also blogging. You can check them out by clicking their names: