Monday, January 9, 2012

One Little Word: "Fast"

Ever since a friend introduced me to the "One Little Word" challenge, I've found it a simple but powerful way to focus on an aspect of my character I wish to improve upon over the course of a year. 

In 2010, my word was tenacity.  Last year I didn't really choose a word, but over the course of the year one was given to me.  Generosity.  In ways that continually stretched me, I had choices and opportunities to be generous with my time, my space, my finances...with many things.  I'll have to write more about those sometime.  It's amazing, but consciously looking for ways to be generous (and being obedient to that little voice that tells you to give when you don't think you have anything to spare) will reveal just how much you have.

I'll be honest.  Being generous feels great!  And I was beginning to feel a little proud of myself.  But at the end of year when I was looking at my finances, I realized that some of my "generosity" was simply mislabeled obedience.  (After all, supporting my spiritual family by tithing isn't generosity.  It's what I do with the 90% that matters.)  I also realized that for as "generous" as I was, I was also pretty selfish too.  When I sat there and looked at how much money I spent on frivolous things -- on movies, on impulse buys, on eating out, heck, just on fountain sodas -- I was disappointed in myself.

More than that, I was convicted.  This year, my word is fast.

Part of it will be fasting food.  (That's a spiritual discipline I haven't practiced in some time.)  But I want it to be more than about food.  I want to consciously forgo some of my selfish indulgences and refocus those resources to holy purposes -- to praying, to serving, to giving, to being Jesus with skin on.

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  ~ Isaiah 58:6

I love this verse for the opening phrase:  Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen?  Because fasting should be a conscious choice.  It's about focus.  About letting a feeling of lack drive an awareness.

And I plan to rock my singleness for all it's worth. After all, I am the sole custodian of my resources. Every time I forgo an meal, or step out of the movie line, or hit "delete" in my shopping cart...every time I commit to spend less here to leave extra room on the plate there, I'm only inconveniencing myself.

But I do *not* plan to be gloomy this year (Matthew 6:16-18). In fact, quite the opposite.  I want to continue in my rediscovered joy of generosity.  No one needs to know the details.  But I do feel that by putting it out there as my One Little Word, I'm giving life to this commitment.

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God. ~ Leviticus 23:22

After taking a moment to assess, I realized how big my field is. How much good those edges could do. And how effective I am at harvesting every little bit to support my wants and needs. I'm so blessed. And I can honestly say I was generous last year. I truly was.

But last year, I found the edges of my field on accident.  This year, I want to leave them on purpose.

This year, I'm fasting.
This year, my life will be a little bit less about me.
And maybe this year, by being a little less, I can also be a lot more.

A quick shout-out to Marie (I'll be cheering you on!) and to Katie (I know you don't participate in one little word, but your blogging consistency is an inspiration in itself).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the encouragement Regina! I'll be cheering you on as well.