fast|reflections

it’s coming to the end of this fasting period, as 2016 has opened its doors and consumed me. i’m taking my first steps into the water, and am already a little overwhelmed by what the spring holds, school-wise, but i’m determined to wade in with all the supports and skills i already know i possess, and with those who are walking with me.

i finally came to a point in this period of fasting where my heart, body, and brain calmed down. where i was able to sit through the hunger pangs without so much than a forethought, where i was able to say, “i don’t need all of this — i don’t need facebook or instagram or netflix, or carbs or meat, or sufficiency from the world.”  during the past week, i had struggled a lot with unanswerable questions and fears and anxieties, that threatened to shatter and break all that i had built my foundation, my life, my identity upon. “is God real? does He even exist? He’s not even a person. I can’t see Him. what if I am alone in this world? what’s the use of life and a future? i want to go to heaven when i die. what if there is no heaven? i can’t. i’m scared to even think like this. but what if God is not real? what if i have been fooling myself, my entire life?” it was a running, endless commentary in my mind, with the usual distractions of noise and social media absent and unable to complete their task of occupying my mind with senseless activity. i began to pray, with my only prayer being that of the tax collector in Jesus’s parable[is that the one?], where he cries out, “Lord, help me in my unbelief! I’m not even worthy to pray to you.” and God, a Voice, saying to me the words he spoke of Mary all those years ago: “She has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” At the end, all I could be convicted of was, I may never know the answers to all these questions, but I still need to believe. I may never understand God or the complexities of this universe, but I still need to trust and keep going.

So here I am, virtually at the end of this fast – 8 days after i began, and i’m almost sad it’s over, because it feels anti-climactic to just let it go, and i want to create some accountability, some sustainability, out of it. but i don’t know how. i don’t know how to modify my pre-fast living habits so that i can still keep some sort of mindset active and strong. too soon, i could jump back into fb, instagram, catching up on all my Hulu and Netflix obsessions, filling myself with bread and carbs and meat and sweets, and all of these reflections and lessons soon forgotten. i shudder. help me keep some semblance of the past 8 days please.

i can’t otherwise.

 

 

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“as 2014 draws to set on the horizon, i wonder what 2015 holds. i believe [i hope] myself to be slightly more comfortable in my skin, ensconced in the beauty of who I am within the beauty of Who is within me, growing into genuine-ness with my relationships and those who surround me, and unafraid of what the future holds.

that last one, i’m not so sure about. i am desperately afraid of the future. i always have been. but i have also been open to living each day one day at a time, and withholding myself from leaping too far ahead. it’s tough, especially when my brain’s natural tendency is to anxiously rush ahead into territory that it has no place in being there. take each day at face value. take each person at face value. bless others. be blessed. there’s a Plan. i’m a small part of it.”

words i had written on the eve of 2015, as i looked back on 2014 and wondered what was ahead. i’m sitting in that very moment again, as the year is passing onto a new one. am i older and wiser? in many ways, i feel like i’ve regressed – like i’m much more of a child, as i realize there is so much more growing and developing still to do. 

it’s been a year of challenges and triumphs, from my dad’s Hep-C-free status to crawling through another year of this Psy.D program. the new year rings in very soon, and another fast begins in less than one week. hopes and dreams have been realized, and others still wait on the horizon, with little resolution. this year, i have re-learned and been reminded of what it means to be “mindful” and “intentional”, but i often forget to integrate these patterns of living into my daily emotions and thoughts. as always, there is so much more on the horizon and i’m scared to even lift my head and look, lest i be disappointed. 

yet, through it all, through my mind, this endless commentary runs: He is good, He is good, He is good, He is good. He is faithful. He is good. He is good. He is good. 

He is good. though nothing else may come to fruition, He is good. He has always been good, and will continue to be good. He does not change like shifting shadows. He is not whimsical, as I am. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And He holds good in store for me, whatever that may look like. 

With 2016 on the horizon, i have one wish – one resolution: to be a better friend. i know i’m not perfect. and i know my friends are far from perfect, as well. but somehow, He has placed upon my heart this desire, to live and look just a little bit more outside of myself. to reach out when necessary, and even when unnecessary. to be open and bright, not because i have to, but because i want to. and to take the risk [shudder] of sitting in those somewhat awkward and uncomfortable spaces, because that means i need more of Him. and when i’m especially lonely, to remember that He is by my side. 

2015 is very much a blur and already a distant memory. the past.

i want to look ahead, even when i fear the future. not to conquer the fear, or the future, but to remember that in all things, He will be good. love has come to cast out fear. i want to be a better friend, whatever that means. i want to grab a hold of joy and hang on for dear life. this is always the time of year when it seems like anything can happen. possibilities are endless and limitless. exciting. i want to be in the middle of that. and be consumed by His goodness.