Onwards and Upwards

Day 2 (Monday)

Brekky was an apple and a banana. All was going fine until I just broke the fast in the late morning and had a coffee with sugar at the new workplace I was checking out. Surprised and disheartened at how quickly I’d bailed on the fast, I fell into a pit of no-self-control when I visited a friend at his place and had lunch with him. My Mum suggested that doing this 30-day fast is just setting me up for failure when I mentioned at home what had happened. I thought she might be right.

A long convo with a friend about all that’s been going on lasted til late tonight. He counselled me against doing this fast too.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

Felt convicted and went ahead with the fast. Breakfast went well, and it was an incredible morning of God’s presence being poured out on me! Joy joy joy! And love! It was amazing. But then I felt so loosened up I thought it was OK not to do this fast, so lunch wasn’t Daniel fast food, and then it slid downhill from there.

Day 4 (Wednesday)

Didn’t obey at all today.

Honestly — so far, this is pathetic. This is seriously messed up! It’s been hours since we ate dinner and I feel physically sick and in pain from being bloated — just like I did after lunch. God, please help me to want to get out beyond this moment! Please help me to continue down the road of repentance, not just pass through the gate but then circle back time and again!

I feel like a shell of a Christian — I look squeaky clean and pure on the outside, but inside I’m an absolute mess.

To be sure, I’ve never exactly found it easy to give up a lot of stuff when Jesus asks me to. It hasn’t been easy recently. But if I want Him with everything I’ve got, hunger after Him and the life He has for me, all those empty spaces will be filled with good things.

This is also worth mentioning. It’s from today’s entry in the amazing daily devotional God Calling:

“Remember now abideth these three, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Faith is your attitude towards Me. Charity your attitude towards your fellow man, but as necessary, is Hope, which is confidence in yourself to succeed.”

I wanna be hungry! I wanna have that hunger that sets me on fire. I want out of this cycle!Image

Biting the Bullet

Well, I bit the bullet, crossed the “chicken line” this morning. I made the agreement with God that I will do a Daniel fast for 30 days.

So this is: Day 1.

It wasn’t an easy day — I had no idea how much opposition I would run up against. I barely, barely managed to say no to cake, cookies and coffee after church (by God’s grace only!–Sundays after church are usually a stumbling block for me). With such a hard-and-fast diet in this fast, it’s crystal clear just how strong the pull to eat sweets and indulge is, and just how much I’ve been relying on food and crave it for an emotional high when I feel even the slightest bit down.

I gotta keep coming back to hope, though. If there’s no hope in my head, then I’m out of step with the Spirit of hope Who lives within me.

Mess

Checking back in after a few days without a chance to write.

Here’s my summary of the last three days’ obedience:

Thursday breakfast: Went fine.
Thursday lunch: I also managed to obey, barely.
Thursday tea: Messed up. Went overboard, ate too much.

Friday breakfast: Had a coffee though I knew I was called to fast. Afterwards I knew I’d done the wrong thing.
Friday lunch: …and yet I went against His leading again and ate a meal.
Friday tea: Again, I ate. Once home I decided to trust God, though, and said no to temptation.

Today breakfast: Totally overate, and allowed lust to drive.
Today lunch: Managed to avoid the usual weekly temptation (afternoon tea) at the class I teach at on Saturday afternoons.
Today tea: Went OK… but then I got home and bailed on following my conscience, and overate.

I feel so lonely and awful now.

And it stings a little to say it, but I know I need to forgive myself now. It stings because I knew I was doing the wrong thing. I was abusing grace.

Of course, in all of this, it isn’t merely about not committing the act. Something larger is going on here – the need to walk out repentance, “produce fruit in keeping with repentance”. I can avoid the act of sin and still not have actually repented. What Jesus wants is a new heart, a renewed relationship with me. “It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation” (Galatians 6:15 NLT). I can approach this as “to do or not to do” — as if the only thing that matters is perfect behaviour. Or I can approach this as an opportunity to trust God, and then to ‘vote with my feet’ — put legs to that trust. Outward obedience without inward transformation has God yawning in boredom, I think. But He’s heaps keen for fellowship! I know the problem here isn’t merely unhealthy eating — the real problem is that I love something else more than God, and don’t yield to Him as King, or trust Him in this area.

But there’s a key in there. Have I been “transformed into a new creation”? Yes, I have. So this isn’t merely power of positive thinking type stuff: if I believe the truth and get revelation of the truth, I am connected to a heavenly reality. It’s more than just an attitude shift in me. I believe this — and yet I haven’t seen it manifest in my life in the way I want to. I need to see myself according to what is actually true about me, what heaven says about me.

I’ve been considering making a covenant with God about this, but I don’t know if I should, because I honestly don’t know if I’ll actually follow through with it. It’s hard for me to trust myself, given my track record and the attitude of heart I can so easily slip into.

“It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows” (Proverbs 20:25 NIV).

“When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ‘My vow was a mistake.’ Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 NIV)

Perfected by the Spirit

Hard day yesterday.

I was going great — happy, joyful — up till I sensed after church that I was being religious with all this. That’s one of the key triggers for me. As soon as I feel like I’m hearing that I’m being legalistic with this whole process, or (often) when someone else suggests I am, I ran back to safety (=eating whatever I want). And generally this means lots of sugary food… Which it definitely did in this case.

I fell into a hole after that which I didn’t manage to climb back out of for the rest of the day.

But after messing up at church, I did finish the fast I felt I was supposed to do. So that’s a small victory.

One of the things God gave me yesterday was Galatians 3:3 — He reminded me I need to spend time worshipping. Having begun in the Spirit, I should never try to switch back to being perfected by the flesh… A harsh view of God can lead to both fear of God’s punishment and resentment towards God. And bitterness is a deadly thing. Lord, I want to know how to step away from bitterness every time it arises! Keep my eyes set on you and my mind clear of those wrong mindsets!