Monday, June 10, 2013

Solidarity with the Poor

Today marked the end of a 40-day journey Jim and I went on "in solidarity with the poor." At the same conference that Jim got the Decisive book, he also picked up a book called A Place at the Table by Chris Seay.

The book is more of a guide on this 40 day journey, with daily readings designed to help you explore the deeper issues behind our indulgence and to pray for those with less.

When Jim presented me with the idea that we go on this 40-day fast back at the end of April, I'll admit, I was in a bad mood. I didn't want to fast, especially as our 2-month celebration season was about to begin. But how could I say, no thanks, I don't really care that much about the poor. I'd rather feed my fat face!? So at Jim's encouragement, I read the introductory chapters, and God softened my heart.

This book doesn't encourage a complete 40-day fast (whew!), but rather a fast from indulgences, similar to what a kid in a third world country might eat. So we decided to imitate a diet similar to our Compassion and World Vision kids who live in different areas of Africa and Mexico. That left us with rice, beans, and (thank goodness for Mexico!) tortillas, along with basic fruits and vegetables. We intentionally eliminated meats and sweets, and I cut out any unnecessary and unplanned spending. (Only went to Walmart twice during this time to help me avoid temptation!) However, the fast also included feast days on Sundays (woohoo!), which frequently coincided with our celebrations. Even when they didn't, however, the fast was designed to be a beneficial tool, not a legalistic hindrance, and so we decided to allow for deviations when we were hanging out with others or celebrating something special.

All in all, it was a great experience. Toward the end, especially, we had a lot of cheating deviations, and to be honest, we only made it to day 20 of the readings (the readings were good but didn't particularly inspire us, perhaps in large part because we read them together before bed, and with our hectic schedule, it was often all we could do to keep our eyelids open).
Yesterday was day 40, so today we were free, but we decided to do it again after all our celebrations and vacations are over in August, but only a week at a time. We will finish the readings! :) For dinner, we celebrated with BBQ chicken and our first al fresco dining of the year.

As hard as the rice and beans diet got by the end, it was a great exercise in self discipline and tempering our desires, and it made me far more thoughtful of the plight of starving kids around the world, which is a key theme of our next movie, Prom Dare. It was also a great thing to do together with Jim, and it got us back in the habit of praying together every night (hopefully, that habit will continue to stick!).

1 comment:

  1. Is the book one you recommend or is it more of the lesson behind doing this type of 40 day fast?
    I love the idea of getting rid of over indulgence.