Ash Wednesday approaches and two words echo in my mind: holistic detox.
Mind, body, soul, and heart. Filtered, reshaped, and centered. Ok, I guess that’s more like 9 words.
Here’s another word: fasting.
In the bible, there are a few times that people have experienced fasts. Moses fasted 40 days on top of a mountain before drafting the ten commandments. The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years living on honey wafers, black birds and water coming out of a rock. Jesus went without food for 40 days in a desert before being tempted and subsequently starting his ministry. Seems like prayer and fasting precede major events. Hmmm…
Fasting and other disciplines are a way to create space in my life. Space for God to dwell.
This year, my husband and I will fast soda and sweets for the first half of Lent. Why these? Simply unnecessary food items that have a big hold on our taste buds and wallet. Not working wonders on our health, either.
The second half will be a graduated food fast. Replace regular meals with juice. So, I just saw a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s good. Find it on Hulu. As a result, we bought a juicer and will now make our own juice during the fasting time. We’ll finish Lent with a reboot juicing plan as suggested by the documentary’s website. It’ll be 15 days prior to Easter. We’ll begin with 5 days of juicing plus eating veggies and fruit followed by 5 juicing only days and finishing with 5 juice and eat days. This will be a great challenge, but also give us a bit of flexibility.
We have done food fasting previously for Lent. Our longest fast was 7 days on just juice. Great experience, but we’re excited to try something different.
Secondly, I plan to do a media fast. Here’s the deal, I heart media. I stay at home with my son and there is…mmm…a tiny bit of down time. An internally motivated person would clean, cook, compost and do infinitely creative things. Unless I make a todo list that morning, I find solace in my new besties, Netflix and Hulu.
I want to create sustainable habits, not just deprive. So I resolve to eliminate facebook and watching TV/movies on my own. Family movie night? No prob. Will I go to the Hunger Games in March? Def. Will Jason and I still watch Fringe to find out the fate of the current timeline Peter Bishop is in? Duh. I will never give up Walter Bishop.
Finally, I will practice some spiritual disciplines with my son at his level. Check out Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline, for more info. I’m imagining hikes with portions of silence, worshiping together, even his own fast. Pipe dream? Maybe. My only requirement is for the discipline to have meaning. I want to focus on the journey to the cross for him as well. If the discipline supports that, cheers. If it’s not at his level or appropriate, save it for another time. But the more practice and familiarity he has, the better. Plus, disciplines are way better when you’re doing them with someone (sans solitude, of course).
This year is about the journey for me. The process. Breathing. Being present. Embracing the moments instead of charging blindly to the finish line.
I anticipate now what God will say and do through these moments.