Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day 2: Choices

Yesterday was a bit of a train wreck for me, in terms of the fabulous start I'd envisioned for my 40 Days of Faith. I had all these big dreams about sailing out over the starting line into an entirely new way of ordering my day, prioritizing God, believing for miracles large and small...it was like I expected to instantly morph into some superstar blend of Mother Teresa's faith and Kathy Griffin's work ethic. Not so much...

I found this quote that got the wheels in my mind turning a bit about how today might be different:

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility." --Eleanor Roosevelt

Provocative, right? It made me think of the Apostle Paul's lament that time after time, he wanted to choose what he knew was right, but found himself doing just the opposite. And yet there's hope, he says, because Jesus has the power to change this aspect of how we operate. If we invite Jesus in and ask for his help (and we have to ask; he's too polite to barge in and take over) he will give us the power through his Holy Spirit to make better choices. Today, I'm taking him up on that offer.

For obvious reasons, Ryanhood's song, HELPLESS, HOPELESS jumped out at me this morning. "Today is a day for letting go...of promises I've broken, and words that I have spoken..." That's me, right now. You too, perhaps. But then they go on to ask: "I wonder, could this be the end...or is this where everything begins?" That's worth thinking about. I'm going with option #2, believing that today can be a day of better choices--that shape our lives and ourselves, just like Eleanor said.

Speaking of choices, there were some questions in the comments about fasting, and how it fits into our 40 Days. The Bible suggests that fasting goes hand-in-hand with prayer. During my first 40 Days of Faith seven years ago, I fasted from coffee. In subsequent years I've fasted from reading (which made trips to the hairdresser long as I stared out the window while my highlights foiled...), baked goods, or television. The idea here is that when we're craving coffee or sweets, or passing up the latest issue of People Magazine at the salon, we can offer this up to God. It creates space for prayer, and a reminder to do so. I find myself saying, "Lord, I want (whatever I'm praying for) more than I want caffeine/pop culture updates/dessert right now." Somehow this connects me to my real desires, because I can't escape into the lesser things I use to comfort or distract me. Fasting is a form of spiritual investment, I guess...putting God ahead of our immediate desires to create space to focus on what we really long for.

Important Note: if an eating disorder has ever been a struggle for you, PLEASE don't fast from food. Ask God what your fast should be; he has lots of good ideas!

In the Bible today we're in the second chapter of Luke's Gospel. If you find yourself humming "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" or "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," rock on...

Here's to a day of good choices!

7 comments:

hckygrl said...

Trish - thank you for doing this, I SO need this right now! Transformation Weekend is in a couple weeks "40 Days..." is great prep!

leisel16 said...

it truly is all about choices. looks like i need to spend some time at the feet of Jesus.

Suzanne said...

I loved that quote, it really struck home about the need to take responsiblity for our choices and thus take responsibility for the course of our lives.

Stella said...

Eleanor Roosevelt was an amazing woman. There is a book titled "My Day" that is a compilation of her newspaper columns from 1936-1962.

Wayne Dyer was on my local PBS station last night. While he speaks of God in terms of whatever you think He/it is (which tends to make me wince), he commented on we are what we think. In effect, Garbage In, Garbage Out.

In addition to praying for a husband (God must be SOOOO tired of hearing THAT one-HA!), my desire is that through 40 Days of Faith, I will finally release that stinkin' thinkin. Things like: You're too old. You're not pretty enough. You're not thin enough. You're not good enough, strong enough, capable enough, ... and see myself through His eyes.

Smiles,
Stella

LarramieG said...

Here's one situation when it needs to be "all about me."

Myowne said...

This is my first time joining this particular journey, and I must agree that even in the joining of Forty Days, this is a matter of deliberate choice. I am taking responsibility for the choice to consecrate and myself and place myself in a position of prayer about the things that are being pondered in my heart but never vocalized. I have never publicly proclaimed my desire tobe married or to see my writing become a successful outlet. But this time I am praying for those areas of my life deliberately just as I pray for others. My choice says that for once, what I desire is important to me and hopefully to God.

Thanks for this...

heiress said...

Today, I asked God to tell me what I should fast from, and He answered me in such an amazing way...