2011 was a blessing. Anytime one embarks on some new adventure there is a great deal of anxiety, excitement, uncertainty and anticipation. For me, this year certainly was all those things and more. I began last year battling with apathy and complacency. I begin this year renewed and refreshed. It may seem a great paradox how deprivation can be so rejuvenating. How can a lack of sleep bring rest? I don't think any of my fasts this year really taught me all that much in and of themselves. They were simply vehicles on my journey. They were the mechanisms that facilitated an ever changing progression toward my destination. My destination isn't some abstract and unchanging idea of a place I go when I die, its a certain reality that develops daily with each new encounter with the creator of all things.
Philippians 3:8 says, "8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ".
Eating, sight, money, sound, smell, technology, voice and legs have no value in comparison to knowing Christ. Its rubbish (without Christ). It really is.
Each fast represents something to me. Each fast helped me more fully understand this truth so plainly stated by Paul. God isn't the most important one. He is the only one of significance. He is all in all.
When I thought about what my final fast should be I wanted it to be something that could help me envision newness. I wanted it to be something that echoed new beginnings. For me that has always been the essence of my baptism and being washed clean from my sins.
So naturally the idea of washing was an appealing concept, and without it how dirty would I be?
So.....to make a long story short, I didn't shower for the last 40 days. Gross right? Well I did scrub down. Every two days or so I'd do the wash rag scrub. Every 10-14 days I'd wash my hair. Maybe it was a cop out, but it helped me appreciate nonetheless. I'm no rocket surgeon, but I have realized that its much better standing in the shower and allowing the Holy Spirit to cleanse me than doing it my imperfect self. Yet, it was powerful seeing the dirt that covered my body. How much more the spiritual dirt that soils our souls.
Everyone keeps asking me, which one was the most difficult. Its hard to say, but generally speaking, the fewer "concessions" I made, the more difficult each fast was. Eating, Sight, Speaking, and Walking were in order, the four hardest. Spending and Technology were the easiest.
I've thought how these might affect me in 2012 and have decided to incorporate some of these disciplines going forward. I do want to fast once a week, sun up to sun down, no eating. I also like the idea of a spending freeze for a month out of the year and occasionally taking a break from all electronic media. As the year has progressed I'm constantly struck by how easily I forget. But when I do find myself brooding over this or that little problem, the memory of that first taste after 40 days, that first sound of birds chirping, that first vision of a sunset, that first smell of fresh cut grass, all seem to sling me back into sense of gratitude more effectively than they ever did before.
I am thankful for this life God has given me. Today I resolve to revel in each moment. I will learn to abundantly appreciate each tomorrow my Lord chooses to give me.
Hope you all are doing great!!
Merry New Year!!!!