With a week completed, I thought I'd share some reflections...
The actual foods I am eating daily are fewer than the ones on my original list. Let's just say that I am already getting a little tired of rice, beans, bread, bananas, peanuts, and milk. Chicken and tomatoes show up to break up the menu a few times a week, but I am missing my old friends Cold Cereal with Milk and Eggs with Potatoes, not to mention Chocolate and Peanut M&M's.
A friend visited Holland, Michigan, and brought back some homemade rolls for our family. I actually leaned down and smelled them when I opened the bag before dinner, sniffing in their yeasty goodness before removing some for the kids, closing the bag and putting it in the fridge where I hope they last until my next feast day.
Another friend shared some good thoughts from a saint who lived in the 1500s. He said that we should not look ahead and think of what we will be able to eat or daydream about the pleasures of foods while fasting. We should try to remain fully present in our fast and embrace the sacrifice.
This is hard to do. As I prepare meals for the kids throughout the week, I find myself coveting their food. I took my kids through McDonald's today to get hot fudge sundaes as a treat and was genuinely disappointed that I could not join them.
What is wrong with me? People around the world not only lack choices but they lack actual food. And I am complaining about candy and ice cream. I am ridiculous.
I read tonight about hungering and thirsting after righteousness and contemplated what it means to "hunger." I know many of us say we know what hunger means, but I don't think I really do. I may know what it's like to not be completely full or to be a little uncomfortable waiting for a meal. But hungry? Probably not.
I think to hunger means to long for, to need, to desire. It implies that there is an empty space that needs to be filled. Physically, this would be a person's stomach needing food. Spiritually, this implies an emptiness in our soul or a need that only God can fill.
Philippians 3:8-9 talks about two different types of righteousness:
"What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
Is the righteousness I seek one "of my own that comes from the law": A list of things to do and not to do that makes me feel secure in my salvation and right-ness before God?
Or do I long for "the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith"?
I am still processing what exactly this means, but it's what I want.
To long for God and being pure and holy and right through faith in him.
May it be so.