This isn’t a post I’m excited to write. I’m actually pretty embarrassed about it, but also relieved to perhaps finally know what the problem is.
I just started The 7 Experiment bible study by Jen Hatmaker. I’m going through it on Tuesday mornings with a table of ladies at my church. There are about 12 of us in the group and it’s nice to know we’re on this journey together :)
Especially since I didn’t want to do it in the first place!
As a table leader, I’m assigned to whichever study the admin people place me in, based on need. Normally this is great and I’ve loved every study I’ve been assigned to over the last year and a half. This session it felt like I drew the short straw!
There is only one (big) table of ladies doing this particular study and I’m the “lucky” table leader assigned to facilitate the group. The other 2 studies being offered were my top choices and frankly it didn’t even dawn on me that I’d be doing this study. When I got the notification, I may have thrown a hissy fit.
Ok, I did.
With regular life and homeschooling and Andy’s ever changing schedule and the upcoming move, it just felt like one.more.thing. to stress me out.
You see, this study is a series of 7 week-long fasts. Food, clothing, spending, waste, possessions, stress and media.
It’s basically a guide to stage your own mutiny against excess in order to create space for God’s kingdom to break through in your life.
Ironically, I’ve been aching for more of God lately and less of me. Sounds like this is probably perfect timing.
Plus, I lovvvvve Jen Hatmaker. She’s honest, hilarious, down-to-earth, and very committed to loving Jesus with her whole heart.
Did I mention funny?
I recently read her book For The Love and laughed my way through it while also being convicted to love more and love harder. So good.
After reading that book and getting assigned to this study, I promptly stalked almost every single Facebook post she’s ever posted as well as every blog post she’s ever written. Lol
What can I say, when I like something, I reallly like it!
Ok, back to being powerless…
because it’s always fun to talk about that!!!
Last week was the intro chapter of the study and it really laid the foundation for each of the fasts we are about to tackle. She stressed the importance of them all being a heart issue, not just another thing we do to try to be better. She asked us to read Isaiah 58:1-7 and I happened to read it in the Message translation and it captivated me. Totally challenged my perceptions about fasting and guided me to God’s heart when it comes to fasting. Check it out…especially if you’re participating in Lent.
She also challenged us to figure out where we stand at this moment. Where our hearts are, what our perspective on our wealth is, and what kind of hold all of the excess in our lives has on us. One thing in particular really stood out to me…
The first step to overcome an addiction in Alcoholics Anonymous is this: “We admit we are powerless over alcohol.” Admission is powerful; a necessary first step. Denial will keep us sidelined forever. Ask Jesus to speak into this. Don’t be afraid. Remember: “He will not break a bruised reed, and He will not put out a smoldering wick, until He has led justice to victory.” Matt 12:20
My first thought was, “Powerless? OMG. How dramatic! I’m not powerless over anything. That’s so weak.”
Good Lord have mercy on my wretched prideful soul!!!
My next thought was, “Am I powerless over food?”
I didn’t think I was. I mean, I’ve been so disciplined in the past. I’ve lost 20 pounds about 4 different times in my life. (I’ve also gained it all back just as often. Ouch) I did Whole30! I lived the Whole30 lifestyle for almost a year! I can’t have done that and still be powerless over food, can I?
I related it back to alcohol. Do I think an alcoholic can be sober for the better part of a year and then fall right back into it and find themselves sitting at a bar throwing back shots?
Yes. Yes I do.
Then it hit me…I AM powerless over food. I’m just like the alcoholic who has experienced sobriety for stretches (even long ones) of time and winds up in the same place. Back to the bottle. Powerless against it.
Can you say humble pie?
This was really unsettling to me. I hate weakness. I try so hard to be strong in all areas of my life, but here I was standing face to face with a harsh truth. A big blind spot.
When I mulled all of this over, I realized it’s no coincidence that I recently started tracking my food on My Fitness Pal and that I also ended up in this bible study and that the first week is FOOD!
As much as it’s humbling and uncomfortable to admit this, I really do feel like it is God’s loving nudge. That He cares too much for me to let me stay in the dark about this issue. That working through this will free me. That this is all part of His good work in my life.
I’ll admit I’m nervous about this. I like going to food to meet my needs. I go to food when I’m happy, sad, overwhelmed, nervous, anxious, overwhelmed, angry, celebrating, coping, succeeding, failing, breathing.
I can’t give it up cold turkey. I must pursue healing.
It’s not about weight or even health, it’s about my heart.
It’s about aligning myself with my creator and throwing off all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles me, and running with perseverance the race marked out for me (Heb 12:1).
I’m ready, Lord. Let me lace up my running shoes…
Jen scicluna says
Can you have tea on your fast? Come over so I can hear more ❤️
Such a cute layout Ashley! Love the pops of red :) We call seagulls "rats with wings", they are all over since I live near Lake Michigan.
deeply fascinating… can’t wait to hear how transformative the fast may be…