In the Anderson household [Val is away in Atlanta this week] a variety of yellow post-its have suddenly appeared saying things like ‘No coffee’ and ‘Coffee fast’ as reminders to me of what i have committed myself to.
Who is up for a new challenge?
So by now if you’ve been following this blog you will know that tbV and i are leading a book study of Mark Scandrette’s book, ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ and have been engaging in a variety of experiments which i have been inviting others to join in via this blog and the book of facings.
First up was the invitation to stop rushing and to be still and it was most excellent reading the feedback in the comments section of others who gave it a try with me [so thank you for that gift!]. Next up was the gratitude log, making a note of at least five things every day for ten days that you are thankful for [and the feedback post for that will be coming later this week].
This coming week the chapter we are looking at is titled, ‘Believe you have enough’ and the experiment we have been invited into looks like this:
‘EXPERIMENT: DISCIPLINES OF CONTENTMENT
‘We are challenged to believe that we live in a world of abundance and that our true happiness comes from receiving the lives we’ve been given. As with all of His teachings, Jesus’ instructions about money and wealth point to the heart and invite us into greater freedom. They are designed to help us see accurately that we live in a world where God provides all that we need.
Take a voluntary fast. To experience the freedom of enough requires us to take new risks of action and practice.
For thousands of years the discipline of fasting has helped earnest spiritual seekers to curb the desire for more and to distinguish between needs and wants. Jesus seemed to have assumed that His followers would fast [Matthew 6.16] A fast can also help to reveal our disordered attachments – those things we habitually go to that are not a true or lasting source of comfort. Many people find that abstaining from something they normally us as a coping mechanism brings them face to face with pain, worries or deeper wounds they have been avoiding. Dallas Willard suggests that fasting helps prepare us to do good, because it trains us to say no to bodily desires in favour of intentional choices of obedience.
What do your patterns of spending or consumption reveal about a potential disordered attachment? Is there something that you consume on a daily or regular basis that would be revealing for you to abstain from this week [snacks, coffee, alcohol, media, meat]? As an act of contentment commit to a seven-day fast from something you regularly enjoy… Remember, your fast is something between you and God. Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly, in a way that wouldn’t be obvious to others. [Matthew 6.16]
You may also want to consider the potential benefits of a longer-term fast of some kind. Our friend Melanie has challenged herself to live on $1.50 a day for forty days, giving the money she saves on daily living expenses to an organisation that helps people get access to food or clean water. The next year she tried to live on $1 a day. Each year our friend Darin gives up something he enjoys and will miss as a reminder that his true happiness isn’t dependent on always having more or getting what he wants. One year he might abstain from meat or caffeine; another year he might abstain from watching movies or buying books. Many people have found it helpful to fast from shopping or buying new clothes for a specified time. To make it more fun, people often make these commitments with a group of friends.’
So i am inviting you to join me in a week’s fasting of something you enjoy. I have chosen to abstain from coffee for the week. And I know there is the line about keeping fasting to yourself but I am going to invite you to share with us what you choose to fast from as a form of accountability. So don’t make it a status and let everyone else know, but if you choose to join us on this, then leave a comment telling us you’re in and letting us know what you will be choosing to abstain from for the next seven days [if you start this late just do seven days from when you begin]
As with the other challenges, i will do a follow up post later and you will also be invited to let us know how it went.
So is anyone with me and what is your thing?