Last night, I spoke to a ‘mission’ minded group of women at a local church. They had asked me to come and share about ‘fasting’. It was a nice time together. In my reflection this morning, I began to think about the importance of food in our lives. Many of us would be quick to admit the power and control food has over us.
Food can make or break a mood, an atmosphere, the way people relate with on another. There’s a little party in your head when the appetizer you ordered comes around the corner and you notice the waitress. Notice how NO MATTER the importance of the conversation, someone stops and says, “Oh, food’s here,” and everything shifts. Some people forgot what they were saying and others are a little hurt that they didn’t get to finish their story. Either way, the eating commences. The next thing that usually happens is ‘judgment’. We have built up this moment in our minds, usually because we were ‘famished’ (really?) or we couldn’t wait to try ‘that’ dish or order ‘old reliable’. The food is either perfect, “O, this is sooo good!” OR not, “Aww, it’s not warm enough” or “I don’t know why but this is different than last time.” All of this over food.
Here’s one I KNOW you can relate with. Think of the times you’ve been at a potluck dinner or a get-together with family and you get to the tray of cutlets or the large bowl of macaroni & cheese that you’ve been eying since you go there. “It’s gone!” you exclaim in your mind. “Man! I knew this would happen. I should have gotten in line sooner.” This happens to me EVERY TIME with deviled eggs (I’m an admitted super-fan). We start looking for the closest of kin to ask “Can I try a bite of that? It was gone when I got there.” The rest of the food on the plate is what you settled for. Then, you begin to think “Redemption: I’ll make up for it by grabbing a couple of deserts before they’re gone.” Next thing you know, you’re scheming to try and redeem the experience. Man.
I’ve been doing a lot of bird watching, stealing moments to try and peer into another world and see what goes on there, how it works. What I’ve noticed is that birds (and squirrels too) get into fights and tiffs with each other. Where does it stem from? Food. The claws come out and the wings go to flapping when someone treads on their ‘savoring space.’ A bird fines a spot where seed was spilled and they feed on it like their own personal buffet. Squirrels will run the other up a tree to be able to claim their spot. All of this over food.
With the season of Lent coming up soon, I want to encourage you to take the necessary steps to be aware of what controls you. The appetites and passions that run our lives will reveal to us that we run on auto-pilot, letting our passions steer. What would it mean for us to take a solid commitment to letting God have control over our lives again? What would it mean for each of us to have revealed to us what may have deep stakes in our lives and us not even truly be aware of it? My encouragement? Enter the desert (the spiritual one). Look deep into the mirror of our souls and face the demons that desire to distract us from God and the life He has given us.
Be encouraged! This is time of fellowship and of prayer! This is time for each of us to share our burdens with one another, engage in accountability, and lift one another up, asking God to provide His comforting Holy Spirit to be the very words of God that we live off of. Let prayer, scripture, fellowship, sacrifice be your goals, your focus. Fasting is a season of giving yourself over to God, allowing Him to be your sustenance. May God grant each of us the strength to stay committed, focused, and sure about the journey toward Easter.