Friday, June 27, 2008

Day Twenty Six: Get up, keep moving

Sometimes, we fall off the wagon. It might be on a diet or exercise plan, it might be some new habit we're trying to cultivate or break, it might be something we're fasting from in hopes that God will move mountains in our lives. It happens. Here's the thing though: it's rarely as big a deal as we make it out to be--it doesn't have to short-circuit our hopes or dreams or prayers.

I've messed up on almost every fast I've tried. When I fasted from dating for six months, I met a guy in the middle of month four. (I didn't fall off the wagon so much as fling myself from it. You can imagine how spectacularly that went...) But afterwards, when I picked my face up out of the mud and ascertained that no bones had been broken in the crash, a wise friend pointed out that the best thing to do was to ask God to forgive me (because this was a choice I made, not an inadvertent slip up), and finish out my fast. No need to start over, or double my time as some sort of self-inflicted penance; that's not what this is about. Just get back ON the wagon, he said, and you'll be fine.

I flashed back to this at the beginning of our 40 Days. I think it was day three or five--not to long into things--when I was sitting on an airplane from somewhere to someplace else, realizing, "Oh $#%&! I had sugar in my coffee this morning!!!"

As some of you might recall, I'm fasting from sugar in my coffee, and yet just a few days after we started, there I was, ripping open those Dominoes packets in my hotel room like God and I had never had that chat. For about a nanosecond, I felt horrible. But then I realized that my guilt didn't add anything to my prayers. I'd been sitting too close to the edge of the wagon, not paying attention, and I fell off. No big deal. So I said, "God, please forgive me...and help me remember my fast!" and that was that. Sometimes, things can be simple.

On an entirely different note, today's chapter of Acts shows things getting decidedly complicated for the Disciples, who encounter some serious resistance to their message. Believers in other spiritual paths, religious folks who were all about rules rather than transformative spiritual seems that suggesting Jesus as the reason for the season wasn't always a big hit back then, either. Still, as Dr. Phil points out, you can't argue with results...

Today's song: Brooke Fraser's Faithful. I saw her in concert last night, and this song just amazed me. It's lyrics talk about that frustrating feeling when God seems far away, unreachable... If you're feeling this way, I'll be giving a talk on Sunday about different ways we might realize God is guiding us...I'll post it as soon as it's online. Until then, let's reach anyway...


Kwana said...

Wow, great post. You know something. I totally blanked out on giving up on the sugar. I messed up on that one so long ago that I forgot to get back on the wagon. Bad girl me!

I heard a preacher during our church revival recently say that we have to celebrate our small victories and that's true. So what we don't go all the way. At least we are closer than we were before.

Speaking of the revival I'd love to share an article on the church revival here:

Also I'm just reading the comments from yesterday, Nic, I've asked God for 2 things, well 3.
1. more Peace in my house.
2. For my daughter to pull though with school. She has had an awful year. I'll let you know how this turns out in a day or 2.
3. For a book deal. I've been writing for I don't know how many years now and has my agent 1 1/2 years.
I'm walking by faith.

Kim said...

I've slipped up several times. My fast is to get rid of, once and for all, a bad habit. Bad habits are terribly hard to throw off the wagon and sometimes you fall off with them. I'm trying, though.

Larramie said...

A backslide for me as well but I "knew" it, immediately apologized to God and have walked the line since.

Ironically I like not having this habit in my life and will probably not go back to it -- in the same way -- even after 40 days.

Liza said...

I gave up coffee and it has been way harder than I thought it would be. I can avoid Starbucks most days, but I was at a seminar this morning and the hotel had a Starbucks in the lobby. I thought I would give in, but just asked God for help and it worked.

heiress said...

I too was close to falling off the wagon. The devil tried to tempt me. As soon as I realized what was happening I prayed and asked God for strength. This helped me to make it through the temptation, and I agree with Trish we have to remember that we can ask God for forgiveness and keep moving on.

the teacher said...

i actually am proud of myself. i have not touched a piece of chocolate. actually i have...i have helped cut cakes for church dinners, stored chocolate candy at my house for a retreat, and watched the women at church enjoy chocolate goodies in the lounge. maybe it is because i am used to giving up things for lent, but i now realized how much self-control and strength God has granted me with. now i just need that strength to be there as i wait for my prayer to be answered.

good job ladies...keep it up!

Sarakastic said...

It's funny because it's been my goal to comment on every single post as a sign of my commitment. So I read this post, loved it & then totally forgot to comment yesterday, but I'm not going to feel guilty about it lol

ForstRose said...

I've been sort of keeping up with the posts and leaving comments as well as daily Bible reading but like I always seem to do I get busy and end up going in spurts with things.

I do miss times with the Lord when I don't get to them but then I also just plain forget about it after a while and don't realize I'm missing it anymore. I'm sure the same would apply in reverse as well. Craving that time after awhile of doing it regularly.

The changes in my schedule and a church I've been going to with friends have been blessings though I get frustrated with not knowing if or where I will be working when it's temp stuff I find it gives me more time for other things if I take advantage of the time between assignments for that purpose instead of just randomly bouncing around from this to that and not focusing in one task to complete it or just lazing around instead of putting the time to practical use.