Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lent Day 18 (I think)

The hard thing about fasting is this. The point is to eliminate something, sacrificing it in order to make room for more of God. And yet, in my experience of fasting (which isn't extensive but which I have done more than a couple of times), when I take out the food part, what comes rushing in isn't God. It's other stuff. Same with my first foray into non-food fasting this year; clearing out the clutter physically doesn't automatically create a decluttered spiritual or mental state of mind. What naturally rushes in is bill payments and unsent thank you cards, blog post ideas and grocery lists. Mental tallies of screen time and the span of time between this moment and Matthew's last snack. Anxiety and scraps of prayers asking for help remembering all the things.

My (amazing) yoga teacher says that the hardest part of yoga is not the body movements or the breathing; it is disciplining the mind. Quieting it to the point of peacefulness. Politely showing thoughts and worries to the door and focusing in on silence. This takes incredible patience with myself. To keep quieting my mind every few seconds for nearly the entire two hour class, and not get frustrated. To pursue peace relentlessly, whilst relinquishing the desire for that peace to come faster, or be joined at the hip with prosperity or a skinnier body or a brighter mind.

Fasting is the same. It requires continuous movement towards relinquishing the self and opening up to be filled with God, a moment by moment choice to recieve Him with arms wide open (or halfway open, or maybe even just one palm. Whatever we can mange). Fasting is discipline. It reminds me of my very human humanness. How I falter, even at the simplistic spiritual tasks. And how that's okay. All I can manage, the best I can do; it is enough because it is not about me. It is about how much God loves us and how His child burst into the world to be torn in two and executed in order to conquer death for all time for all of us. Not because we worked hard and lived well and were righteous people (!!! Or I would be doomed) but because His love is perfect. He sees all the mitigating factors and the broken childhoods and the quiet hurts, and the loud ones. He sees it all, and He translates all of it to redemption. Perfect wholeness. Pure love.


Tamie said...

It's interesting to read your more religious-y thoughts. :) One of the things I think when I read these things is about how I feel like I know you so well, but I actually don't know what you believe in some basic areas! I read your theology and I'm surprised! Isn't that funny? In a certain period of my life, someone's theology was THE most important thing about that person. I also think about how right now where I live, so many people I meet assume they couldn't possibly be friends with an evangelical Christian, but I bet those same people would meet you in an attachment parenting setting and would think you were the bee's knees. It's crazy the assumptions we make about folks, eh?

I'm also interested in how I have this knee-jerk desire to debate some of this theology, and I wonder where that comes from. There are other beliefs and values that we might have that are different but I wouldn't really bother with debating, wouldn't even think of it. Chrysa does this thing where she asks me very focused questions about religion, or about my beliefs, and then she really listens to the answers. And she doesn't back down from asking further questions. But I also get this feeling that she isn't judging me at all. She's just really, really, really listening. It's great. It helps me listen to myself so much better. In that spirit, I shall continue to read your Lent posts, to learn more about who you are and what you think and feel and believe.

melissa v. said...

Thanks for listening :)