The 21 Day Fast

It’s September and autumn has definitely come to the Chicago area. The weather is getting chillier, the days are growing shorter, and kids have returned to school. Personally, I mourn the end of summer. However, I know that many look forward to the change from summer to fall.

Whether you enjoy it or not, for most, the transition from fall to summer brings a certain change in the rhythm of life. The barbecues are winding down and summer travel is drawing to a close. Life just changes in the fall.

My church takes advantage of this transitional time of year. We re-launch our small groups, groups that meet in homes for study, prayer, and community. We begin our Nights of Worship, which take place on Friday nights. And to kick things off we usually embark on a corporate 21 day fast. It’s not the type of fast where everyone starves. Each person chooses what they will take a break from, anything from social media to certain types of food or even food altogether.

This 21 Day Fast is also a challenge. We are challenged to participate in a small group, attend the weekly prayer meetings and spend time with God each day.
As previously mentioned, this is a difficult time for me. I am struggling a bit in my faith. When I heard about the fast I was going to sit this one out, but I decided to participate. I will make the effort. We will see if any fruit comes from it.

One of the things I will be giving up is shopping. I like to shop. Okay, I love to shop. But I feel like it’s gotten to be a bit much lately. I feel like I’ve been relying on it to make me feel better. In a good mood? Let’s swing by the mall. Tough day at work? To the mall we go. It just seems like I’ve been looking the shopping experience to bolster my mood and make myself feel better. Why do I do this? Because it works. There is definitely a reason we call it retail therapy.

And though it’s fun, it is ultimately unhealthy. It also isn’t practical. I have come to know the benefits of paring down and living a simpler lifestyle. It’s important. It can change your life. But lately, it has been more important to see what’s new at Sephora. It’s not like I need more makeup. It just feels good to get get more — or even just look at it without buying.

It just seems like my priority has become doing things that feel good. Shopping feels good. Mindless snacking on various goodies feels good. Sleeping late feels good. Wasting time on the internet feels good, especially when you’re shopping online. The thing is that none of these activities support my goals. And when you choose what feels good over the things you’ve committed to then there’s a problem. Something needs to change. And for me something needs to change immediately.

So I will be throwing myself into this 21 Day Fast. It may just the reset I need. I will be studying the book of John during this time as well. So we will see how pushing back from some things changes me spiritually. Who knows? This may lead to some permanent change as well. Feel free to pray for me as I do this.

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