Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Life after month 1

The first four weeks of the 7 month journey is over. Up next: two weeks of reflection and preparation for next month. 

I've been thinking about these past four weeks...God is working in me. I can say one thing for sure: never in my life have I ever been more thankful for food and beverages...such an enormous, delicious variety all around me. I seriously pray to continue buying and eating with intention. Keeping out the unnecessary and avoiding excess, in hopes of not only continued thanks to my amazing God, who provides it all, but to bring Him glory by putting hands and feet to the message received so loud and clear: all that I have is not within my reach simply so that I may bask in it, feeding my flesh, but so that I may reach out to those without. God is breaking my heart over what breaks His...out of the overflow of my heart I want to (and ought to) serve those who do not have options, those who do not have the luxury of choosing to go without for a matter of weeks, but who live that reality each and every day. I was not created in order to enjoy God's blessings alone. 

This brings me to an important point. As I've said before, I have not shared my experiences and thoughts with all who lay their eyes upon these pages so that I may toot my own horn or gather praise from anyone. So why share? Why do the whole 7 journey? Why do the 7 foods? These are questions I've been confronted with over the past few weeks.

I've tossed around these questions and my motives. I've considered scripture and how its interpretation influences my whole take on this experience and why I'm doing it. I still don't think I'm fully capable of stringing words together that truly convey my heart on this matter. And for that reason I am going to end this post with a cliff hanger... 

For now, I will share false reasons for my participation and open sharing...

It is not because I am interested in being Jen Hatmaker, the author of 7, or because I agree with everything she says and does, both in her books and on her blog. In fact, I view some things differently, but that is okay. 

It is not because I want attention or because I want others to see me as a good Christian, one who commits acts of righteousness for all to see. 

It is not because I think my works or actions will bring me closer to God. I can only remove things that keep me from turning to Him and Him only.

oh there is so much more to say on this, but I'll end here...

My amazing husband plans to help share our hearts on this issue (yay for a guest post!). Until then, questions and comments are always welcome...

Monday, June 4, 2012

7 months of radical reduction: Seeing food differently

It is just over halfway through the first month of this 7 month journey and God has already shown me so much. Many people have asked me how I'm still sticking with it: eating only 7 foods, every day. Well, I've put some thought into that question...

I will make the same confession as many people have made to me: I have a discipline problem when it comes to food. I've never been able to keep myself on a diet. I love food. It just tastes s-o-o good and it can bring on so much comfort too.

However, in the past two weeks I have eaten only 7 foods and drank only water. Admittedly, I have stretched it a bit when out with family and friends, but I have stuck to the same core foods. I don't say all this to focus on me, to boast (my flesh is weak, trust me), or to toot my own horn (more about this issue in a later post). I say this because this is a big deal. I, who have a major weakness for food, have stuck to 7 foods for sixteen days. 

What this tells me: my GOD is MIGHTY. I can do all things through Him and for Him. The difference between this current change in my eating habits and anything I've done in the past is that this time, I'm not doing it for myself. I'm not limiting myself to 7 foods so that I can lose weight. I'm not doing it so that I can feel better about myself. In fact, I'm doing it so that I can think of myself less. More God, less me. 

At social gatherings, especially here in the south, there seems to always be cake or cupcakes, cookies, pies, etc. This time of year commercials and billboards advertise milkshakes, ice cream, and all sorts of delicious sweets. It is all so hard to resist. My ready response has always been, "you only live once, why not enjoy it." 

I've prayed for discipline, for strength, and for my eyes to be opened. And God is delivering. Now, when I catch myself having an inner pity party about not savoring all these good foods around me, my mind goes elsewhere. God brings to mind the people who don't even have 7 foods to choose from. He reminds me of the children I work with who hardly get enough food to eat at home or the ones who rely on food at school because there isn't really food for them at home. He reminds of the families who eat McDonald's for nearly every meal because that is all they can afford. All of these people live right here in my county, many in the same city. What am I doing about that? Not much, to be honest.

Who am I to complain about food or lack thereof? God is teaching me to see food through new eyes. These foods that are so amazing to me are a gift. I ought to consider chips and salsa, seasonings and herbs, coffee, and all of the other delicious treats I miss as precious gifts from God that He created for us to share and enjoy. What a great God, right? Creating such great things simply for our enjoyment. Amazing. 

Imagine your life without your favorite foods. Some people are living that life right now and have far less than we have ever known. I know that I want that to change and I want start doing something about it. You only live once, why not make a difference...Boy, am I reaching a whole new level of gratitude.