In my last post, I told you about my journey to tear down the idols in my life. I chose to tackle food first because I thought it would be easy.
Not so much with the “easy.”
Here are the 8 things I learned from 46 days of “starvation.”
1. I should never…ever…claim the word “starvation” again.
“I’m staaaarving.” This phrase became my mantra in the first week of my challenge. When my stomach tinged, or I didn't want to eat my 4th apple of the day, or my dessert option was once again made of oats, I would complain about my dire circumstances.
But, as if on cue, the image of a small, shirtless, head-shaven child with a distended belly in Africa came across my television screen. And I looked down at my hot lemon water (my replacement for coffee) and said out loud, “Shut up, Kim.” Just shut up.
I was not, nor have I ever been starving. Which leads me to:
2. I worship comfort.
Food comforts me. I use it to make me happy, sustain me, and entertain me. I use it (ahem) to manipulate my husband into doing things I want him to do. I use it to initiate relationships and mend relationships. I use food in a way a child uses crying to get his/her way. And having something with such power in my life is comforting.
Subtracting that crutch was like subtracting my left eye. I didn't see things as I used to. I was humbled.
3. I can’t make others worship.
About 20 days into the challenge, my husband asked for fish. Fish?
He had embarked on this journey with me at my recommendation. And on this 20th day, he was done. He wanted fish. Fish was not allowed. Fish was a failure! Fish was Satan! Fish defiled the very idea of what I stood for! How could he do this to me!? How could he be so weak!?
Again, shut up, Kim. Worship is something that I cannot and should not control for anyone else.
4. A God who is jealous is weird.
When I tried to explain what I was doing to other people, I had to explain idols. This means I had to explain that God is jealous for us. He won’t share us or our passion. That is weird to most people, and it was weird for me to explain.
5. Devotion means something.
For the first time in my life (yes, the first time), I finally felt devoted.
Seminary training, 32-ish years of giving up chocolate and pop for Lent, serving several churches, and embarking on mission trips had not made me feel as devoted as subtracting some food from my life.
I think this is the mark of an idol. When it finally starts to crumble, you can see the ridiculous hold it had on you and the walls it put between yourself and the One you love.
6. It wasn't about the big moments, but the smallest details
I didn't make progress when I was cooking the vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free, whole-grain meals for myself. I made progress when I chose not to sneak the chicken nugget that my toddler had left on his plate. It was in those small moments when I whispered, “This is my act of worship, Lord.”
7. This wasn't about obedience…at first.
God didn't demand that I take these foods out of my diet. He didn't demand my attention. He asked for it. Nicely.
But, now that He has my attention, I know that keeping food in its proper place in my life will be an act of obedience to Him every day.
8. I need intentional worship.
The 46 days of Lent are now over. It has been a little over a week since sugar was introduced back into my life. I've missed sugar.
But I miss something else too. I feel a bit purposeless now. Those 46 days gave me a direction. I was on a path toward God by making very intentional decisions about food. What am I intentional about today? I’m not really sure.
I will now need to decide everyday how I will worship, and then, intentionally do it. Maybe it will be through food. Maybe not.
Check back, I’ll let you know.