Rethinking the way we live {Step 1}

It is so easy to grow comfortable with my Christian lifestyle. I wake up and do devotions (however, briefly). I leave for my job at a Christian school where I am not only allowed to, but encouraged to talk about Christ in my classroom. I come home to a smattering of dinner preparation, TV shows, Church life groups, and family discussions. My days are metered by the rhythm of normal Christianity. 

But, something’s missing…

The power.

The passion.

The lifestyle that impacts other people.

Over the past three years, I have had a myriad of legitimate excuses: family tragedies, death of grandfather, lack of physical health, draining medical treatments, a move, graduate school, and more graduate school. In the midst of so much chaos, I was grateful to simply survive, to simply “be”, to simply put one foot in front of another. Have I been growing? Exponentially. My heart, my focus, and my perspective are radically different from their previous selves.

But, it’s time for application. Time to exert myself on the Heavenly Kingdom’s behalf. And so, I invite you to join me on a new adventure. This journey to passion should not be one all about me, but rather about us. About OUR impact on the people around us. About OUR lives being poured out as living sacrifices.

Over the next few weeks, I am developing a strategy to realign my priorities and “clean house,” so that I am more able to glorify God. I may simply be a reflection of His Glory, but it’s time to at least wipe my mirror clean.

Step One:

Remove some of our physical comforts in order to focus on renewing our physical and spiritual bodies. (Daniel 1 and 10)

Step Two:

Spend intentional time seeking to KNOW God whether or not our prayers have been or will be answered. Relationship building without strings attached.

Step Three:

Investing time and effort and resources on behalf of family, friends, and the less fortunate. Being poured out vessels that hold nothing tightly. (Isaiah 58)

This morning, I plan to spend my time organizing my kitchen. Throwing out the old and the bad. Making accessible the resources that I will need for Step 1. Along with several others starting January 8, I will be participating in a modified version (one that includes eggs for my personal health needs) of the Daniel Fast (see Susan Gregory’s website). According to Gregory’s site, “The Daniel Fast is a biblically based partial fast.” Based on the spiritual example of the Prophet Daniel during times of testing and interceding, participants of this fast cut out all sugars, meats, dairy products, processed/refined foods, and all beverages other than water for 21 days. During this period of time, the body is renewed by the “clean” diet and the spirit is refreshed by intentional times of seeking the Lord and relying on Him for strength. While this diet is not meant to become permanent as I (and Gregory) fully believe that God gave us all foods to be enjoyed, the limited food options help to clarify in the body and in the spirit that a season of re-dedication and prayer is at hand.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been tempted to choose only the parts of this fast that I think are doable. For example, I am a tea and coffee addict. While I don’t need the caffeine, I love the comfort of holding close a cup of steaming black tea. What is so wrong with that? Honestly, I doubt my ability to drink only water. This morning, however, I have realized again that this fast is NOT about what I can do, but about what God wants to do in me and through me. Nothing about the upcoming 21 days should be accomplished in my own strength. If that were the case, then I might as well go on eating my delicious Christmas cookies and ordering my Cafe Americano at Starbucks.

I am submitting myself…

Perhaps failing…

Asking for God’s supernatural strength…

Asking for my eyes to be opened to who and what He wants me to touch and participate in this year… 

As the days continue, I will be sharing more about how the Holy Spirit directs me to accomplish Steps 1, 2, and 3. While I might have an idea about how this month will go, that is not the point. The point is to seek God and all of the fullness that He offers. The point is to lay down my desires for His.

I invite you to join me. Perhaps not through the same avenues, but in others. Let’s rethink how we live. Instead of a list of failed resolutions, let us gain the Father’s heart this year.

Please, let me know what type of commitments/changes that you are making. Leave me a comment or feel free to ask questions. I am in the process of developing resources and would love suggestions and any and all input. Please consider making this the month that you invite God’s power to work mightily in your body and heart.

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12 thoughts on “Rethinking the way we live {Step 1}

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  1. Celebration of Discipline…my Bible study is going through it, and it’s excellent for challenging us to radically change how we live to become more simple, more focused on God, more quiet — and explaining in practical ways how to do those things.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. One of my other goals this year is to read more spiritual/personal development material. How specifically have you been applying the book’s message?

      1. I’m only halfway through, but so far the best chapters in my mind have been on meditation and simplicity. It taught me how to practice meditation in a way that made sense — specific exercises, for instance. That has helped me learn to focus my mind on God, rather than just trying without success to empty it. The chapter on simplicity has encouraged me in my pursuits to eliminate the clutter in my life — extra stuff in my house and extra stuff inside me. Richard Foster (the author) does a really good job of taking traditional religious disciplines and making them practical and meaningful.

      2. Thank you for your response. I look forward to sharing more of what I learn as well as I read. I bought the book “the ultimate guide to the Daniel fast”. It will be interesting to see if this author highlights the same things. Simplicity and meditation are both things that I struggle with.

  2. Lauren, you can do the water thing!
    I have been drinking water only for several years now and my desire for other beverages has completely disappeared! I do have a Chai tea about once every 2 months or so, but water is my #1 choice!
    It sounds silly now, but the hardest beverage for me to give up was Cherry Coke when eating Mexican food!!
    Make sure you put a water purifier on your tap/frig at home. We have really good water here in Louisville, but I still have purifiers on my frig and kitchen tap.
    Watch out – you may become a “water snob!” if water is all you’re drinking – you will aquire a very keen taste for water!!

    Here is a chart i use to make sure i get 64oz a day:
    8 oz glass FIRST thing each morning
    8 oz glass before breakfast
    8 oz glass mid morning
    8 oz glass before lunch
    8 0z glass mid afternoon
    8 oz glass before dinner
    8 oz glass couple hours after dinner
    8 oz glass before bed

    When i first started drinking only water i added fresh lemon slices.
    Invest in a really nice water bottle and take it with you everywhere!!

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