I just came off a 21 day partial fast. I was hesitant to even blog about it because I didn’t want to be all “Look at me! I fasted and now I’m a better person! Hey, everyone… look, look how awesome I am!”
But I felt the need to share because, well, I think fasting is sometimes a forgotten act. How many times have I had problems in life that I tried to solve on my own rather than stopping to fast and pray? Too many if you ask me.
So when my pastor spoke about it one service, it got me thinking…. thinking about just how much I think about food. I felt the Holy Spirit convicting me to do a partial fast. I chose to eat fruits and vegetables only except at dinner when I would eat a normal dinner with my family. Food doesn’t have to be the “thing” someone fasts from. I have also fasted from facebook before when I felt it was taking up WAY too much of my time. I know that others have fasted from TV, certain television programs (for example: reality TV), or their smart phone (I still have a dumb phone so this was not an option for me).
I really enjoyed my 21 day partial fast because it helped me to refocus on what is most important in my life: God, my husband, and my children. It also helped me to take my focus off the things that often become a high priority in my life: food and working out. Now don’t get me wrong, eating clean and staying healthy through exercise are wonderful life pursuits, but anything can become an idol… anything that I put before my God is a problem. This fast allowed me to stop thinking about what protein I would eat in the next 3 hours in order to build or even maintain muscle, or how I was going to fit a workout in that day. I still went to the gym on occasion, or did a short workout in my basement, but they were pretty relaxed workout days. I didn’t worry if I didn’t get my gym time in, and I certainly didn’t worry about getting enough to eat since… well, the point of the fast was to abstain from foods.
These 21 days were also a reminder to myself that I do, and should, find my joy in the Lord… not in my circumstances. Because, let me tell you, I didn’t have the easiest 21 days while fasting. I did have a few “mommy flip out” moments, and some circumstances which made me want to just go run a few miles to blow off steam or maybe just eat a gallon of ice cream in my pajamas. But I tried my best to turn to Jesus during those times. Thankfully praying for help from the Holy Spirit has become second nature in this family. My 3 year old son often asks if we can pray when he can tell I am getting angry. Now if that doesn’t convict a mom…
This week was my first real week back at the gym and I was more than happy to be lifting hard again. However, I am determined to keep my focus on what matters most to me (God and my family), even while having my hobby of “living clean and fit”. Here are some ways I am implementing this.
Putting God and Family Before Fitness:
1. Making sure I have a daily quiet time before the kids wake up. This was already something I have done in the past but in the winter months I find it harder and harder to wake early. Lately I have found myself waking up to my son or daughter handing me my bible in the morning so I will get up and go make breakfast. Oops… so much for getting a head start on the day. So, I’m making this a priority again.
2. Making sure we don’t skip family devotionals. I do a devotional with my children every morning before I drop off my daughter at school. However, I want to get back to whole family devotionals at night as well, where my husband can take the lead.
3. Praying daily with my husband. This is just one of those things where we mean to do it and we think about it but finding prayer time together (not including our before meal prayers) just isn’t always top on our priority list (I know… it should be). But when it gets to be so late at night, and we haven’t taken the time to pray together, my bed seems to call my name louder than anything else. So, I need to make time to do this before it gets too late at night.
4. Searching for ways I can make a difference in peoples’ lives: both big and small. Can I do something little like just smile more, be pleasant? It might seem silly, but it’s tough for me to have the best attitude in this cold MN winter weather. Can I tip more at restaurants (on the rare occasion we do get to go out), help a family in need when we have more than we “need” (because, honestly while we live on a tight budget we have more blessings than I can count). How can we change our budget as a family to help others more? Are there ways I can spend my time doing more for others (help at church, volunteer at an assistant living home with my kids, bake food for a family when one parent just lost their job)? There are just so many ways I can do more. And this time of fasting was a great time to slow down and think about these things. Now that my fast is over, I plan to put some of these things into practice.
5. Finding a gym routine that doesn’t take up as much time. Fitness will forever be a love of mine. It just shouldn’t be my first love. So, I found a new routine I thought was pretty flexible on bodybuilding.com that I am really enjoying so far (I am in my second week of it)
Click here to read about my new workout plan!