If you read the blog I posted on April 2nd, 21 Days to Renewal, I wrote about the fast I was just entering. I was planning on writing about what I'd learned, but another blog I read early this morning (from Rebecca) led to a comment that unexpectedly became my processed thought ... so I'm simply including it here as my blog.
These are my 21 Days Revealed:
But this one blog ... I couldn't just read and walk away. I was so captured by the way you unveiled the lie of the "perfect man" shown to us through idealistic script writing. Do I watch afternoon soaps now? No, but I used to when my kids were really young. That doesn't mean I scoff at those who do today--far it for me to judge a path I've walked--but because I once was ensnared by the characters and the love stories that never looked like my life, I can see now, with hindsight, how that daily hour fed an unnatural perspective of what my marriage and my (then) husband should look like. Talk about the perfect set up for expectations unmet!
Oh, but wait, because I'm going to fast forward to my life today. Although daytime drama no longer exists in my world, that doesn't mean that my heart can't find an escape when trials are hard and difficult seasons extend beyond their anticipated time frames.
I just came out of a 21-day fast of both food and TV. I actually wrote about it on my blog, so I won't go into the details here, except to note that through time with God I realized I had been escaping the hard times through some TV shows and through some unhealthy eating.
God, in His graciousness, didn't point a finger and say, "You bad, bad Christ follower. How dare you!" Instead He asked me a question, "What's become your source?" He didn't stand before me all indignant and bothered and accuse me of not spending enough quality time with Him, instead He tenderly said to me, "Can I ask you a question?"
And as I dared to get real with Him and myself, His question didn't make me feel condemned, but aware. He showed me how one simple decision had lead to another, and how one choice 'here' had led to another choice 'there'. He helped me to see that each of these choices led me to where I was now: feeling dependent on the characters in some TV shows to feed my desire for a life I wasn't able to live, and receiving comfort through food and drink. I was on a hamster wheel leading to nowhere and I just didn't want to see it.
So, after a week of examining my life with God right next to me, I made a decision to do what I knew was best for me in this season: I fasted the very things that had become my source.
Now, I'm not saying that God is going to come to anyone who recognizes that there source has veered off His path and ask them to enter into a fast such as I did, I'm just telling my story.
Here's what I discovered during these 21 days: while I really do still love a good meal and a good glass of wine, my body was made for balance, and not excess. God didn't remove my desire to ever eat again--I am still human and need calories to exist--He allowed me to see how I had used sugar and wine to numb the pain of a hard day (or week or month or months) and how that craving was never going to end because my body had become dependent on how that brownie or glass of wine made it feel. In these 21 days God didn't call me to give up all sugar and alcohol forever but to become and stay aware of how or why I receive it into my body. Dessert and wine are not evil, but when I use them to comfort or numb a hard day, I am replacing the source of who Jesus died to be in my life with a counterfeit.
And you know what else? I realized that my body functioned so very differently once it had detoxed from all the crap I had been putting in it, and I'm actually going to incorporate fasting on a regular basis in my life now. I know there a plenty of books on this and that my revelation of how the body functions is not new to others, but this understanding is new to me ... so I'm excited! I have fasted like this before, but it was purely for spiritual reasons so I didn't really pay attention to the physical side of it ... I just persevered through it. But now that I'm eating again, I am looking forward to fasting again -- to allowing my body the routine opportunity to utilize the tools God built into us to rid ourselves of toxins and junk.
The same thing was revealed to me about TV. TV is not the devil--well, there are plenty of shows that I would definitely label 'evil', but that's not for this comment thread--but if I'm using TV as a form of escapism, then it's time to check my heart and my source.
And TV? Not that I've thrown ours away, because I don't intend on never watching again, but I see it differently now. Those shows that I "couldn't miss or I would just die!"? I realized, by walking away from them for 3 weeks, that I really wasn't as dependent on them as I had thought. That when I filled my life with other things because I "had to"--and that was the biggest benefit of fasting, in a non-legalistic sense--I discovered how much I had been neglecting the other things I did enjoy or needed (more time reading, writing, researching, projects, people, conversations, Bible, prayer, etc.).
In the end, God's question was not to condemn me, but to get to me look up from my daily life and see something different so that I could gain perspective from what I had become ensnared in. The things He gives us to enjoy are not evil--it's in the excess consumption of these things that they become dangerous to our souls and shift our Source.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV)