A video of Simon on 5/18/16, just because.
I am fasting.
It actually started around early February when I started phasing things out of my diet. I've said, "No," to essentially all junk food since then. I wanted to prepare myself for a week of more intense fasting that would take place during the week of Simon's life outside his mother's womb. This is the second year in a row that I've fasted during these sacred 7 days and 22 minutes. I intend to break my fast at 10:17 PM, the exact time that Simon died in my arms two years ago.
What is fasting?
It might be easiest to start with what fasting is not - at least in a Biblical context. Fasting is not a diet, or a weight loss plan. Fasting is not a cleanse. Fasting is not a religious ritual on some list of rules that I will use to satisfy my duty owed to a legalistic God. I know I won’t be fully “purified” or “enlightened” after I fast.
Fasting is depravity. From depravity comes refinement. From refinement comes focus. I intend to use this fast to bring forth weakness and utter reliance. I want my soul to toil as a result of the hunger. I want each hunger pain to draw me nearer to God. I want to understand my place in his Kingdom. Not the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one that exists in the here and now. I want to walk with Jesus and stay in a place of complete reliance on his love and grace - knowing that he has all the power to carry me through a week of hunger.
Why am I fasting?
I’m seeking to feel the way I felt when Simon was living outside of the womb for that 7 days and 22 minutes. I’m praying that I will be thrust back into a place where my ego is kept from overshadowing the true desires of my heart. I hope that being deprived of comfort of a full belly will allow me to once again be completely dependent on God.
My hunger will represent a hunger for a something better. A hunger for the time when brokenness and death won’t have the last word. A hunger for the unity between God and the Earth. A hunger for the return of Jesus. A hunger to gaze in Simon’s eyes again. A hunger to kneel before the King of Kings.
What am I learning?
- With each hunger pain, I do silently cry out for God's help. "Be with me here, Lord. Fill me up and help me get through this." Hunger does subside.
- Abundance surrounds us. I have turned down probably 50 donuts in just 3.5 months. The scale of abundance we deal with specifically in the corporate world is breathtaking when you have to say "no." There are so many free lunches, sweets, cocktails and appetizers. When travelling for work it is staggering to reflect on the junk I desire to put in my body. And also why I want to do it.
- I can so easily lie to myself. I actually had an open-pantry debate a couple of weeks ago where I told myself I needed a cookie. Yes, a fully-rationalized thought process that a cookie was an absolute necessity at that moment! Thankfully, I identified the impostor telling me this and shut the pantry doors and slowly backed away. How often does this happen where I don't catch it and just succumb to the lies?
- Food is comfort.
- I emotionally eat.
- The aroma of food is so much more evident and enticing when you are saying "no." A pizza crisping in the oven. Freshly ground coffee. A cup of fresh chowder as I overlook the Puget Sound. Slow roasted, smoky barbecue blowing in the breeze in KC. What a sweet gift the sense of smell is and how cool is it that it shapes our memories? I can still "smell" the week with Simon.
- "Do you not yet understand?" Is a question that reverberates in my head as I feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me. This question comes from Mark 8:21 when Jesus admonishes the disciples for the grumbling about momentary hunger. He is the true bread of life. He is the only thing that will make up for my shortcomings. His grace is sufficient.
- Jeremiah 15:16 says, "Your words were found, Lord, and I ate them, and your words became the delight and joy of my heart..." I pray these same words now.
At the end of the fast, I plan to feast. When my fast breaks on May 21st at 10:17 PM, I will celebrate. I will celebrate Simon’s leaving of his Earthly body to live in eternity with Jesus. We will feast with friends as we celebrate God's goodness and abundance at our Second Annual Simon's Feast on May 22nd.