Archives For hearing from God

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I would be just fine if I didn’t eat another sweet potato until Thanksgiving, I’m just saying.

There are only so many ways that you can make a sweet potato… baked, french fries, hash-browns, and that pretty much sums it up. Think about it, what else can you really do with it (besides making it into a pie). Well the past couple weeks I was fasting by only eating seven different foods and sweet potato was one of my items. Everything was going smoothly and I had no complaints until about four days into the fast. Between the items that I had picked for the month I didn’t really have much option of sugars, besides an apple, as well as the drastic decrease of calorie intake I began to have some issues. My blood sugar dropped and I wasn’t eating enough calories in the day to even get me enough energy. So I made the executive decision to swap some items out for bread and strawberries to meet the needs that my body was lacking. But with all the switching of ingredients the sweet potato stayed. Ugh! I have a love/hate relationship with that vegetable! You see I have always enjoyed a good slice of sweet potato pie, or give me a big scoop topped with marshmallows and brown sugar for Thanksgiving! However, when I am eating them every other day without the delicious marshmallows I began to realize that I just do not care for them as much as I had thought.

I would love to say that this month I used each repetitive meal as an opportunity to be more grateful. I’ll be honest with you, that was not the case. I found myself complaining about my meals- the texture, I am so sick of the mushy texture! It would be so nice to eat something that doesn’t need so much effort to make. UGH, I am so SICK of sweet potatoes! I even found myself wanting to end the fast because I “never” learn from food fasts. All I wanted was to prove this thought so that I could eat something for dinner other than the same thing I had eaten for breakfast and lunch. Then it hit me- WOW, I have a terrible attitude! Within one week God brought it to my attention that I needed to work on my attitude, more specifically He told me to be more positive in my current circumstance. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the same thing from God three different times within a matter of five days I assume it safe to believe that this is a lesson God is really wanting me to learn!

Confession: when I learned that God wanted me to be more positive I still had about a week left of the fast. I tried to reason that since I had learned what God was showing me I was now able to end the fast early.

Not my finest hour.

Then I was humbled by my husbands response. “Maybe you learned the lesson a week early so you could spend the next seven days of the fast implementing the positive attitude.”

Wow!

So that is what I did, I spent the next week eating my fast friendly foods and praying constantly for God to transform my attitude. And He did! I have to say that it was an amazing week, I could actually feel God’s presence as he helped me change the way I thought and how I looked at the rest of my fast. It has even carried over since the fast has ended. Now when I am in a frustrating situation my mind has started looking for the positive.

Truthfully I love this lesson that God gave me because who couldn’t use an extra dose of positive some days!

Photo Credit: Marie Kare

It’s time for my third month of fasting, and that means I am going to be having withdrawals from coffee, ice cream and chocolate. Yes that’s right, you guessed it, I am going to be doing a food fast. There are so many ways to do this month but since I was inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book 7, to even do these seven months of fasting I plan to do a similar fast as hers. What this will look like is only have seven different items that I am allowed to eat. No that does not mean that I only get to eat seven times. What it means is just that I am picking seven ingredients (excluding salt/pepper and extra virgin olive oil) and those are the things that I will have to make my meals with. So what are my choices?

  1. Baby spinach

    My favorite chocolate bar we will meet again soon!

    My favorite chocolate bar we will meet again soon!

  2. Sweet potato
  3. Broccoli
  4. Eggs
  5. Apple
  6. Avocado
  7. Pinto beans

Sounds yummy, right? I will go ahead and answer the lurking question, no I will not be using all ingredients for every meal. That would be a disaster! Could you imagine what kind of meal that would be with pinto beans and apples mixed together, along with eggs… bluh! I don’t know what each meal will look like, probably not very exciting and a lot of the same thing. I have no doubt that this will be a challenging month for me. You see I love the three items I listed in my first sentence… coffee, ice cream and chocolate! Oh do I love those three things and I will certainly miss them! But, that is not what this is about. The point in all these fasts is to grow closer to God, learn to appreciate all that I have, fasting from all the excess and open my eyes to what I don’t need to be happy (and that means coffee, ice cream and chocolate this month!) So while I know that this next month will have its own set of challenges I am also looking forward to all that it will bring!

Have you ever read a book and when you were done you put it down and thought, wow, that totally just wrecked my life! Well that just happened to me! Recently my friend Michelle Clark wrote a post, One of those Christians, about her journey of reading and fasting through the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker. After hearing all that she learned from this book and how highly she talked about it I decided I should check it out. All that I have to say is WOW! I finished the book in a week and realized this was one of those life changing books! We all have our share of clutter, excess and stress. Boy does this book really make you take a look at these areas and realize that you can do something about it. I knew when I put the book down that there was no way I would be able to simply read this book and just walk away, l was inspired! I decided to take Jen’s book to heart and follow in her example. I am on a seven month journey to seek simplicity, growth and change. I call it Searching for Simplicity.

Jen’s book focused on seven areas of excess. She picked one area of focus a month and then fasted from seven things in that area. Her seven focuses were food, clothing, waste, media, possessions, spending and stress. So as of November 1st I started month one of the seven month-long fast. Which area did I pick to focus on first? Clothing. Why is it that I have a closet full of clothes and there are mornings where I will complain of nothing to wear? Why is it that I can pick out a shirt only to change saying that I wore it recently, assuming that people truly pay that much attention to my clothes. How often can I so easily walk by a shirt in a store and see that it is on sale for only $5 and think, oh, that’s a good price, and it’s cute! I can honestly say that sometimes I will walk away without buying and other times I find the deal just good enough to buy, as if I need anymore shirts. The sad thing is how many items of clothing I keep in my closet for the “just in case.” I’m sure you know what I am talking about, it’s that shirt that you wore only once or twice but maybe if you find the right pair of pants you’ll wear it again. Or, that pair of jeans that doesn’t really fit right anymore but you stash it away in case you find yourself able to wear them. The kicker are the shirts that I have and I know have been in my closest unworn for more than year, why am I still keeping these?! 

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My seven articles of clothing

Thus begins month one of seven. In doing this clothing fast this means that I can only pick seven articles of clothing to wear for the next four weeks, SEVEN! This was not easy! That means seven articles to wear for the next four weeks, whether I’m awake, asleep, out and about or at home… SEVEN, that’s it! I have picked my articles, and yes I have swapped and switched a couple of times until the final decision was made. So here it is people, my seven articles of clothing that you will see me wear time and time again this November:

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of sweatpants
  • Green LifeChurch.tv Financial Operations t-shirt
  • Grey blouse
  • Orange t-shirt
  • Pink long sleeve shirt
  • Multi-color cardigan

Here is what I am not counting against my seven articles. Shoes, I have picked two pairs of shoes to wear during this month, a pair of Vans and a pair of winter boots. Also, undergarments are excluded from this number because that’s just an essential. The last and final item that I do not count is a coat. Jen did not wear a coat, however I am making this exception in regards to my Lupus. One of my struggles I have is my fingers turning white and numb when I am cold and the doctor told me it is important to keep my core warm to help with this issue. So, I tossed in a cardigan to wear for the chilly days but if it gets cold I will wear a coat while outside. I have approved this with the “council” which is my two friends who are like accountability partners during this journey, which Jen also had. I don’t think that a coat on a small occasion will keep me from growing, but also I will only be using the coat if I honestly need it.

So yes, you will be seeing me repeat my outfits on a pretty regular basis this month. And yes, I will probably be more aware of how often I wear a shirt than everybody else. But, I am excited to hear all that God has to teach me during these next seven months. Sometimes the greatest lessons happen during those moments when we are the most uncomfortable, and that is what I intend to do during my search for simplicity!