Tuesday, June 8, 2010

40 days

"You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy."

This is how Psalm 63:5 reads in the New Living Translation. As I read the verse, my mind went to what I believed would be the richest of feasts. I don't know that there are many foods missing from the table when I imagine the richest feasts. Pastas and cheeses would definitely be a part concluding with a lavish dessert bar with lots of chocolate invade my imagination.

As I thought on this rich feast I was creating in my memory, I realized that I could not say these same words as the Psalmist said to God and have it be truth. If I were to say the words, that is all they would be... words. I know that my actions would be to run to that feast and enjoy every tiny morsel I could bring to my lips. I enjoy food. There is a chemical reaction that occurs when these fabulous flavors reach my taste buds. I completely relax. Food is a drug for me. So to say that God satisfies me more than the richest feast... well, I wouldn't go that far.

So I found myself faced with a challenge. Which means more to me? Satisfaction from food or finding my satisfaction in God? I long for my satisfaction to come from God but even as I sit and type, my mind is mentally calculating the food that is currently in our home and whether or not I will give in to the temptation to eat it.

A few months ago, after reading this verse, I went on a 40-day fast from desserts. Different verses such as Deuteronomy 23:22-23 kept me committed to the fast. "It is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the Lord your God." Numbers 30:2 goes along the same lines. "A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do." So whether it was my commitment to God or the fear of lightening that kept me on track for those 40 days, I did complete the fast from desserts.

While attending the Hearts at Home conference in February of this year, I listened in on a session entitled "Growing Grateful Kids". The speaker and author, Susie Larsen, spoke on partial fasting. She talked about the fact that we should allow nothing to master us outside of God which would be our purpose behind a fast. As I listened to her tell stories about requiring her children to fast from an old toy or electronic device that seemed to have power over them, I couldn't help but think of the way food has power over my own life. She went on further to talk about self-restraint and how in exercising restraint, we are saying to God that we need Him more than we need these things (i.e., desserts). I wrote down her words, "Don't do the easy thing; do the right thing." While Susie's talk was directed at growing grateful kids, she stressed the importance of how "lessons are often caught more than taught". "We cannot impart what we do not possess."

Through this fast, I learned that I can say to God, "You satisfy me more than the richest of feast." There are days I choose not to. Many days I make the conscious choice of reaching for food rather than turning to God but I am far from ignorant of my foolishness before God.

I am no longer on a fast from desserts. I've contemplated going abstinent when it comes to these decedent treats, but I've decided to strive for balance instead. Proverbs 13:25 says "The godly eat to their hearts' content..." while Jesus says in Luke 12:23 that "Life is more than food". In my opinion, the Bible shows us that balance is something to strive for. It is all found in knowing that it is God that satisfies.

The Bible actually has a lot to say about my relationship with food. The answer is found in my relationship with God.

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