Well, here I am, and Day 3 is over and done with. I never, ever thought that I would have lasted this long. Honestly.
I’m not the type of person who sticks things out. I’m a starter, not a closer. Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of hobbies, past times, activities and I say tried, because that’s what ends up happening; I try them. Full stop.
I usually try something for a little while, feel it out, see if I enjoy it, and most of the time I do. But what always seems to happen is that something else comes along to catch my eye and take my attention away. (Maybe I’m secretly a magpie, distracted by what’s new and shiny!)
I have a closet full of “trys” – I have a box of paint-by-numbers that I spent several hours on but only managed to use a couple colours until it was put away never to see the light of day again. I have a violin I never play and guitar I haven’t quite learned, and any number of crafts and activities, from bead looms to rollerblades, I’ve dabbled with but never stuck to.
I know it’s okay to try things out and learn what you like or what you’re good at, it just feels like my whole life is full of “just trying” something.
When I decided to commit to this 21 Day Challenge and begin with an all-liquid first 8 days, I seriously thought I would cave after the first day. But something happened. I made it through day one. Then it happened again, I made it through day two. And now, once more, I’ve managed to make it through another whole day.
I will admit that I’ve been temped. Oh yes, I’ve been sorely tempted! I’ve thought a lot about just a little cheat here or there. No one would know. But I would know. And God would know. I wouldn’t feel right about this commitment if I cheated even a little. I don’t mean cheating like forgetting for a moment and putting some milk in some tea or something, I mean cheated as is giving in to the mental barrage of that little voice telling me, “Oh, go on, and eat something. You’ll feel better. Wouldn’t that be so good? You wouldn’t have to tell anyone! You’re sooo hungry, just a bit?” I have honestly been battling that awful tempting voice all day today. I really did not think I would make it through. I’ve thought a lot about Jesus’ time in the desert being tempted. I know that my little puny experience does not even come close to Christ’s’, but I can imagine how difficult that time would have been. How easy it would have been to use His power even just a little bit to ease His own discomfort. Wow!
God tells us that He would never put us through something beyond what we are able to handle, with His help. He would never expect me to battle any temptation and be able succeed on my own. Maybe I could win out on my own steam, some of the time. But He doesn’t expect me to have to. He is there for me. Even in this silly little commitment that I’ve made with just Him. Because, really, who cares if I do this fast or not? It’s not a life or death situation. I’m not doing it for a reward or for someone else. I’m making this sacrifice of going without to help me understand what it is to totally depend on God. I’ve never battled so hard with such temptation in my life. And I’ve never prayed as much as I have in the past few days. They may be just little prayers, said quickly to take my mind off my hunger or longer prayers, praying for someone else to take the focus off what my body was telling me, but I’ve never felt so close to God as I do right now.
I also really want to say that, yes, I’ve posted all about this fast and my struggles on this blog, for all the world to read if they so choose, but I am not writing about this for any other reason than to help keep myself accountable. I know most people would keep something like the fact that they are fasting much more private, maybe I should have, too. But I’m not most people.
I can tell you this, if I had not told a single soul about this fast commitment you can bet your boots I would not have lasted five whole minutes! Even if I had told only a few people, I’m pretty sure I would not have made it this far. Writing about this experience and knowing that others can read about my progress has helped keep me in check.
I keep a lot of my life just under the surface, not really visible for most people to see, so if this had been a closed, personal struggle, chances are I would have given up quickly and no one would have been the wiser. Only I would have known why I was feeling down once again and why my life stayed in the stagnant state it’s been in instead of taking this opportunity to break my vicious cycle and make a change.
I write also because I want to encourage others not to give up. To try something new and try to lean on God to stick with it as best they can.
I still may not last for the days I’ve committed to, and after these three days, if tomorrow I decides to alter my plans (and I would only do that if I had any major physical problem that was keeping me from staying healthy) then I would be okay with that. I want to do my best. I want to keep my word to God and let Him in to help me through.
Sometimes, people like me think that their best is always second-best; that our best efforts will never be good enough. And surrendering to that feeling of failure when really we have done our best is a sin in itself. God doesn’t see any of us as second-best. He only sees the purity of our hearts. If we’ve done out best with what He has given us then we should know that He is proud of us and loves us just the same. Even if we do fail, if we give up and if we surrender, the amazing fact is God loves us even then. We could sit around and do nothing, commit to nothing, try nothing and yes, He will love us. Yet when we do and when we try and when we trust that’s when the blessings will pour over us.
Our struggles are not in vain. They make us who we are, they shape our character at how we deal with pain and they help us to relate to those around us.
I hope I have been able to relate to someone else out there. I hope I can be an encouragement, a light and put a smile on someone’s face sometime. I hope what I go through can be a blessing to you.
I’m trying to finish what I’ve started. It may not go as planned and my course may alter, but at least I am trying and trusting on God.