7 Experience :: Food Week 2

Wow.  That was definitely some of the hardest two weeks I've ever had!  We all know the power that food has over us -- probably has something to do with that whole we-need-it-to-live thing.  But, man, that was rough.  I have a hard time with "real fasts" [no/limited food] because I get hunger headaches, I'm cranky, it's just rough.  Let me tell you, this 7 foods fast was no walk in the park.  In fact, this may have been harder because we could have some food but not anything we wanted.  Oh, you better believe I saw every fast food and restaurant ad and building every day and, yes, I noticed the food we had just sitting on those pretty pantry shelves.  But I couldn't touch it.  It really wasn't a good idea to stare at it for long amounts of time because I did not trust myself.  My motto was, "Look down and keep walking and pray to Jesus."  However, as hard as this was, this was the most I had "died to myself" in a very long time.  Maybe even ever.  It was true reliance on God.  It was remembering why I was doing this . . . wait, why was I doing this?  I thought I was searching after answers, jewels on my crown, and maybe going down a few pounds. [<-- it's amazing how you finally see your true motives when you're broken down]  Luckily, the Lord showed me why I was really doing this -- compassion, a renewed mind, and actual self-control.  I'm definitely no pro in these areas, but the Lord is starting a work and I'm excited for the new me.

Now, don't think it was perfect self-control all those two weeks!  If I'm going to be honest, here it is:
- We pre-planned a cheat day that turned into a cheat weekend [In our defense, it was my husband's hometown days and our anniversary weekend.]
- We may or may not have eaten a couple pieces of candy as we were handing them out to the youth group kids one Wednesday night.
- And the fast did end a day early :( . . . We were at a family reunion, with our chicken breasts in tow . . . We just couldn't resist the delectable spread of food -- salads, dips, desserts galore . . . Man had I missed creams. They just tie the foods together!!!

I asked my husband to share his thoughts from the first two weeks of our journey.  I love his way with words and he sees things from a different perspective than me -- I guess that's why we're a perfect pair :)  Here's what he wanted to share with y'all:
Looking back on the last two weeks, there have been many emotions and feelings that I have gone through.  When it began I was thinking, "This is going to be easy!" and "I have salt and plenty of variety, shouldn't be too bad."  But then as time went on, I began feeling differently with things like, "I'm always starving!" or "I can't wait to get home to grill some chicken."  There were times when I had to rely on God to get through it.  Not in a I'm-going-to-die-if-I-don't-eat way, but just the fact that, with me having high cholesterol, I couldn't eat many of the nuts to sustain me inbetween the meal times.  By the time we reached the middle of the two weeks, I was craving some kind of spice or texture difference from what we had been eating.
At the end of the two weeks, I realized that I was not eating as much.  I didn't feel like I was hungry all the time or that I was holding back, I simply was not craving food.  Now, when meals came along, I knew that I was hungry enough to eat, but I was not overeating.  I'm assuming this is because, as Americans, we have access to so many flavors, textures, and varieties of foods that we have all these cravings.  So then we stop at the grocery store, McDonald's, or go to a restaurant to satisfy that craving.  But when you only eat so many food varieties, you begin to not crave and instead you just eat because you're hungry.  It made me think of those kids in Africa that we have packed food for with FMSC and that they don't crave rice/imitation chicken/dried veggies and everything else, they just want the food.  These bags of food satisfy what they want.  We here in the US eat because we crave, while others in the world eat what is ready for them.  I've realized God wants us to do things not because they're good or that they are exciting, but because it is what He has provided for us, so that we are able to focus on other things in our lives.  It was a good experience to do -- not easy, but rewarding. 

So, food is done and we're moving on to clothes next.  I don't see this one as being hard, but we'll see how I feel at the end of this week :)  Doing this food fast taught me to be grateful for what I have.  It taught me to live on less and to think about what I'm filling my body with and even to make wiser choices in all meals, not just the main ones.  I'm so thankful that I did this for two weeks and I can't wait to see what these other fasts have in store!  Have you done the food fast yet and how did it go?  Or do you think you will give it a try?  I'd love to hear from you :)


7 Experience :: Intro & Food Week 1

We [huband & I] are so excited to finally be taking the plunge and straight up doing the 7 Experience!  We have talked about it, prayed about the implications, mulled it over, and decided to jump in with both feet :)  We are doing it a little different than those in the book in that we are focusing on each of the seven areas for two weeks instead of the full month -- this was decided by the group that I'm tagging along with and also due to our sanity and braveness-level.  We feel that it will shape our life and have an impact in two weeks because we are doing it together and also have Jen's account to reflect on.  So, here it goes!

When I asked huband [yes, the no "s" is on purpose] why he decided to do this Experience with me, he said that he was hoping to "get rid of the junk."  I couldn't agree anymore!  Clearing out the junk means more room to hear from the Lord on how we get out of our rut and refill after this is all done.  I guess the main thing I want to get out of this fast from food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress is to free myself and my mind from the grasp I have on these things and that they, in turn, have on me.  I don't want to be like the Jones' -- and running a hundred miles an hour and getting nowhere fast.  I don't want to waste my life and my time and resources on things that don't matter.  Or, worse yet, waste my time on things that only benefit me.  I want to make a difference with my life and in my life and I feel like it's time to clear the slate.  Pare back.  Start from scratch and see what happens.  See what I'll learn.  Redefine our lives and how we're going to live them.  I know that my results will be different than my husband's, different than the others in the group, and different from yours.  But they will be what I need and I hope that my learnings will challenge you.  Maybe you need to redefine your life as well.  Or maybe you already have and you just need some encouragement.  Or maybe you think this is all completely wacko and you're reading this for a good laugh.  Regardless, thanks again for joining me on this adventure as we define how to be a steward over being a consumer :)

Spinach, avocado, chicken, period.
For our first fast the topic was food.  We all knew it would be the hardest and, therefore, could get us in the right mindset off the bat.  We each chose seven foods that we would be limited to over the next two weeks, so huband and I chose chicken, spinach, avocado, bananas, bread, rice, and nuts.  We chose these due to their protein levels, how much they fill us up, smooth vs. crunchy components, and carbs.  Yep, we could never be vegetarians or no-carbs in our house!  [A few things others in the group did different than us was substitute one of these with eggs, grapefruit, apples, coffee [yep, addict :)], green beans, sweet potatoes, yogurt, or black beans.]  We felt like we were off to a great start with things posted such as "Who knew the simplicity of spinach, chicken, and avocado would make such a great salad?!" and "Spiritual discipline, personal discipline, priorities, and sacrifice are the best ways that we can honor God. It is also the best way to hear from Him.".  We were super excited and adding foder to the #the7experience listings!

That lasted for about two days until we started texting things like, "I need food, I definitely don't have enough here" and "They went to Chipotle without me!!!".  Man, I never realized how dependent we are on food for social events.  Or how I eat whatever's around when I'm hungry (we're definitely getting rid of filler items around the house!).  I love eating only fresh and one-ingredient foods, but not a fan of no variety.  And poor huband -- he loves cooking and making up new recipes and there are only so many variations with only seven foods.  However, it is doing what we wanted.  It's clearing out the junk and making room for changes to come.  In those first few days when I was getting so many food headaches and couldn't figure out how much of what to eat, all I could do is pray that the Lord would grant me peace.  Pray that my life wouldn't just be about food and that food wouldn't be all I thought about.  Pray that I would be thankful that I have food when so many don't.  Excited to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children next week and that I can actually do something about others not having food.

So, what foods would you choose?  What seven foods do you think you could live off of?  What week are you most anticipating hearing about?  Pray for us as we wrap up week two and start to think of our seven clothes . . . after just buying some new summer clothes . . . 

Blessings on your week,