Wednesday, February 11, 2015

He got my attention....

First, it was a reading from Shauna Niequist's book, "Bread and Wine":

'{Through community} the table becomes the hospital bed, the place of healing....a deep sense of God's presence and happiness.' ....  'And I believe that Jesus asked for us to remember him during the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine every time, every meal, every day - no matter where we are, who we are, what we've done.  If we only practice remembrance every time we take Communion at church, we miss three opportunities a day to remember.  What a travesty!'

No shame at the table but remembrance.  The reminder that we are poor but privileged.  To remember at every meal. We have three opportunities to remember the body and the blood.  That while we are sinners, we have redemption.  No shame but righteousness.  No gluttony but remembrance.  

Next, it was a reminder once again of my sugar habit.  I gobbled up cookie dough as I listened to a podcast about sugar addicts, that although they want to change, the stronghold is real.  I have all the knowledge, all the know-how, but I'm addicted.  I'm gluttonous, I eat though I am warned that it is a sin.  I sin against my body, against my flesh, and it becomes spiritual. I know that I am called to be holier than this.  I choose not to remember Christ's sacrifice while I selfishly indulge or am tempted to indulge.  I was reminded that my addiction to sugar is real and is dangerous to my health and to the health of my kids as I am their example.  Even if I'm eating here and there in secret, someday it will be obvious to my kids and they will do as I do.  

Third, it was a beautiful dinner with friends.  We each brought our contribution to the dinner.  We ate and encouraged each other.  It was so much more than filling our tummies.  It was honoring to God and a blessing to each of us.

Fourth, it was me... choking?!  God, what are you trying to tell me through this?  I've never honestly choked before but this was to the point that I had a piece of crust lodged in my throat.  I stood up and lurched my stomach to dislodge the crust.  It worked, I was fine.  We laughed, I sat, and I pondered what had happened as much as I could in a room full of bustling women.  I knew I'd have to return to this moment and 'chew' on it later. 

Finally, at least so far, it was a bible study on fasting.  Hungering for God, and denying yourself.  Fasting in secret.  Learning that GOD will guide me, GOD will satisfy me, GOD will provide for me.  Not food, not sweets, not giving into my temptations.  And not giving it up on my own.  What's it going to take?!  GOD!  What kind of religious person am I?  Do I just go through the motions?  Do I uphold 'the law' but toe the line?  Do I give into temptations?  On some level, many levels actually, each of the answers to those questions, I'm sorry to say, is yes.  I pick and choose which laws I should obey and which ones aren't worth it.  I decide when to fear God.   

In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says 'WHEN you fast...'  Not 'if' but 'when'.  And He goes on to teach that when you fast, to do it in secret, meaning that in the secret places of your heart where only God sees, that your motives matter more than your method.  It's not necessarily about me giving up sugar although I am motivated to fast to seek God's help in that area.  But what else is he going to teach me and reveal to me about myself?  

It was so kind of God to grab my attention in this way.  It was in, what I consider, FIVE ways that the Lord got my attention in less than 24 hours related to the way I eat or think about eating.  I frequently feel shame with food and also rich pleasure.  I believe that food should be enjoyed, I think it's actually a God-given pleasure.  But I abuse it and associate shame with my eating many times.  I don't want to feel that way anymore.  And I want to get my cravings under control.  I want to crave God.  I want to enjoy food.  I don't want food to own me anymore.  I want to be obedient to Jesus and to remember what the bread and wine symbolizes at every meal.

I feel like for my situation that I have come across the answer.  Fasting, prayer, remembrance, and obedience.  I hope that I've cracked the code but that would be missing the point.  It's not what I've done and it's not by my own power that I will get through this alone.  I will need the Father.  

I need you, Father.  Thank you for gently and clearly getting my attention in these hours.  Open my eyes to what you want to reveal to me.  Mold me.  Fulfill me.  Satisfy me.  See into the secret places of my heart and change me.  And may YOU be glorified while I am humbled.  

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