We’ve been exploring the idea of fasting. Heather read the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, just before our family vacation. The ideas captured her imagination enough that she shared them with the rest of our family. So now we’re in the midst of practicing the exercises the author did with her family.
I haven’t read the book, but during the long hours in the car, Heather read some of it out loud to us. (That was enough for me to get what I needed.)
The basic concept is that you take a month each (or a week each, for us) to do seven disciplines. One area is media – like taking a fast from all TV, radio, Facebook, etc. Another is cutting your food intake to just 7 foods. A third area is giving away 7 things a day.
We are not being rigid in how we practice the disciplines. We’re skipping one of the areas entirely, for example. We’ll also allow a family member to quit without judgment from the rest. (That’s hard!)
As I write this, we are near the end of the 7 foods discipline week. I miss coffee!! Caffeine withdrawal provided some hefty headaches for the first 3 days. We are now aware of how much we depend on the normal things around us.
The point is to make us aware of our need for God and the needs of others around the world and in our own communities. Whenever I want to grab a cookie for a mid-afternoon pick-me up, I have to say, “God, I need you.” Sometimes, “God, this is hard!” And when I think of how tired I’m getting of spinach, I think about people in other parts of the world who have only rice and beans to eat all the time.
Give it a try.
(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)