Friday, December 22, 2006

water + juice = no food

This morning finds me drinking my last glass of orange juice for quite sometime. But it is a joyous morning. My wife, Heidi, and I have been on a journey for the last 19 days that has been extremely challenging and fun and adventurous all at the same time. I’m even going out on a limb to say that it is rewarding. See, 19 days ago, we sensed God leading us into a fast. The idea originally started when a friend from down south had asked several guys to join him in fasting for 20 days as he prepares to uproot his family in order to take some Good News to Ukraine. I initially was opposed to the idea, thinking it ridiculous to fast with other people. Jesus fasted by himself, why should I do it with other people. Then God started showing me that there was plenty of stuff going on in my life that required seeking him, and I decided to join in on the 20 days. One morning Heidi said, “I think I’m going to do the fast as well.” She, too, sensed God leading us into it.

So, on December 3, we started taking in nothing but water and juice (and the occasional Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai for some extra protein). We also started praying and seeking God in a more amped up way. About four or five days into the fast, I was noticing that Heidi and I were praying regularly together. This is something that we’ve been hit or miss with ever since we’ve known each other, and over the past 19 days, it’s been good. I’ve also been looking at people differently…my neighbors, my friends, strangers on the street or in the mall (even though I dislike the consumerism of the masses and avoid malls if at all possible). I’m not even sure I can explain how it is I see them differently. I guess it could be rooted in the things God was showing me about myself…he’s brought out some selfishness that I deal with that I didn’t even know that I was dealing with. Maybe as I get my eyes off of myself I’m able to see people as they truly are…as God sees them. This is something that I will be striving for from here on.

And, while the reason that we fasted was not solely to see him move on our behalf, I feel like he has. Just four days into the fast I got an email from a friend of mine who used to play keys for me when I led worship at my previous church. He had to quit at the end of the summer because his course schedule at Calvin wouldn’t allow the time he needed to play. Well, he emailed me on this fourth day of the fast, said he was praying about it, and wanted to jump back in on keys once or twice a month. This may seem like a small thing, but when you’re a worship leader and need quality musicians to fill out the band, it’s huge. And, Christmas Eve marks the beginning of a new drummer for Origins Church. Nick, one of our primary drummers for the past year and a half, has recently moved to Seattle. Just a week after he’s gone, a new friend named Carl is sitting at the drum kit and he’s willing to help us lead worship as much as we need him. I’m excited about this new friendship and his willingness to lead others into God’s presence.

So, it is now about 8:15, and I’m hoping my wife wakes up very soon because I’m ready to down a Real Food CafĂ© breakfast burrito loaded with hot sauce and jalapenos with some American fries on the side. And, while I’m certainly ready to eat, there is a part of me that would like to keep fasting because of the extreme realness that I’ve felt with God over the past 19 days. It’s been nothing short of awesome. I guess the trick becomes figuring out how I can live with that same amount of intensity and authenticity with God while I eat, drink, and be merry.