Homemade Desert

There is something appealing about fasting, isn’t there?

I recently watched a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  It was absolutely fascinating.  It focuses primarily on two people who do a juice fast, drinking only fresh, living juice of fruits and vegetables for 30 days or more.  The transformation that occurs in these two is miraculous.  I was going to say “nearly miraculous,” but the purpose of the fast was to get the task of digesting anything unnecessary out of the way, to allow space and energy for the body to heal itself.  And I have to say, if you’ve ever thought about how one day you can have a painful, bleeding paper cut, and the next day it is gone, isn’t the body’s ability to heal itself miraculous?

Fasting is temporarily getting rid of something to make room for something else.

Last Sunday, when I was listening to that wonderful message about being in a desert, I was thinking about how I feel I mishandled the last desert God gave me.  I paused a moment, and then I tentatively asked God to give me another desert, another chance to grow and transform and rely on His provision.

And I felt God say to me, “Child, make your own desert.”  And I knew He was talking about Lent, which starts this coming week.

I like to give something up for Lent.  It doesn’t make me more acceptable to God, or provide redemption or just punishment for my bad behavior.  Nothing like that.  I find it very meaningful to give something up for 40 days, something that I can rightfully have back again.  I usually look for something that I rely on, that may have become a sneaky little idol that I run to for comfort or strength.  In the past, I have given up candy, coffee, soda, shopping, eating out, etc.  I am looking for something with which there is nothing inherently wrong, but something that is subtly replacing the role that I want God to play in my life.

For a few years, I have thought that “one of these years,” I need to give up watching television for Lent.  This is the year.

The point is to give myself a fast from the constant noise and artificial “loneliness prevention.”  I need to learn to be silent and listen, and I need to learn that I won’t be lonely just because I am alone in a room.

To this end, my TV fast will apply to my home only.  Watching TV with other people is not my target here.  Furthermore, I will choose one day per week that I will feel free to watch TV.  The purpose of this is that I want to feel free to keep up on the few shows I watch regularly.  Keeping up with the story lines is not the same as turning the TV on just to fill the space.

However, the six-day-per-week fast will apply to watching video online as well as DVD.  No Netflix, no Dharma & Greg on Youtube, no Friends on DVD.

This fast appeals to me so much for several reasons.  I feel alive and well after a day without looking at a screen, and I feel zoned out and half-asleep after a day of lots of TV.  But the more zoned out I feel, the less I feel like turning off the TV.  So I am looking forward to enjoying the “alive and well” feeling.

Another reason is that I feel rushed and over-scheduled, all the time.  But I am really not.  Avoiding that zoned-out TV place where time passes at ridiculous speeds, I expect to feel the quantity of time I actually have.

Best of all, and the real purpose here, is that I hope God deepens my connection with Him during this time.  I expect that I will rely on God for comfort and stress relief and companionship in the moments when I usually turn on the TV to drown out those needs.  I expect that it will be natural to find space for God in my daily routine, when that has been a struggle lately.

I am working out the details of how this fast, this self-imposed desert, will play out in a practical way.  But this is God’s project.  Whether it fulfills my expectations or not, far succeeds them, or takes me in a completely different direction, I am excited to see what He will do!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: TV Day « Dawn’s Place
  2. Trackback: The TV Fast is Over. « Dawn’s Place
  3. Trackback: Making Space | Dawn's Place
  4. Trackback: 40 Days | Dawn's Place

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