This seven-day prayer and fasting is an annual habit--a great way to start the year. It's leaving off all personal, earthly desires and making yourself totally open to God's plans for you this year. It's a way of saying, "God, I rely only on you to sustain me." And man, it's amazing how he does.
Take note: I absolutely adore food; eating is one of my favorite things to do. Ask anyone--I get very grumpy when I'm hungry (isn't that like a man?). And The Hubby! Meals on time have often been the cause of our minor tiffs. His delicate tummy also can't handle absence of food for long. So you'd think that depriving ourselves of food would make us weak and very cross. On the contrary.
We were so perfectly fine. No hunger headaches, no wobbly legs, no cross-eyed stumbling around. I even was able to exercise a little, and my focus at work was superb. I tried this before--not eating in order to get thin. After several hours, I was sneaking in a few bites, which eventually evolved into an all-out pig out session. I can only say that it's the motivation--the desire to please God, to really open ourselves to him, to try to hear him--that made the difference.
They say that denying yourself earthly pleasures makes you more attuned to God, to what he has to say (of course it also makes you more attuned to the smell of the neighbors' cooking--kare-kare on the left side and ginisa on the right--as well as the very subtle smell of mangoes and very well-sealed packs of cookies). They're right. I find that God actually does have a lot to say to me.
One of the things that we talk about is my nasty habit of clinging to the past--past mistakes, past offenses, past decisions. I realized that I have this habit of living somewhere in between regret and what-ifs. He's getting me out of my comfort zones, and though I resist, he patiently coaxes me out. Though it sometimes feels like he upturns whatever box I've kept myself in.
Another thing we get into is my relationship with The Hubby. For the past year, I've been struggling to learn how to be a wife, and The Hubby are still feeling each other out (with the occasional feeling each other up--and that's allowed! We're married.). I just realized that I've been trying too hard, trying to be that perfect wifey that I have in my mind, without really considering what kind of wife The Hubby wants, what God wants. So it's a big change in perspective.
I also discovered that it really pays to keep God in the center of your marriage. For the first time, The Hubby and I started praying together. As in really praying, not the usual thank-you-Lord-for-the-food-and-other blessings quickie that we usually do at meals. But praying with passion and conviction, praying for others, praying for ourselves and our plans, praying for each other. It was amazing. Not only did I feel closer to God, but I never felt so close to The Hubby as I did after we prayed. And lighting spiritual passion lit up my other--ahem--passions too ;p I guess what they say is true: for women, you have to really be in synch mentally, emotionally and spiritually to get optimum physical in-synchness. And The Hubby says amen to that.
Prayer and fasting also gives us a chance to start fresh. It's breaking free of all things that hold us back, that bind us, that keep us from fulfilling our purpose here. After all, didn't Christ die to set us free? It's exhilirating to know that I am free. I. Am. Free!
Oh, and as a side effect to fasting and starting over, we lost some pounds and some flab here and there. It's like we get to start fresh with a semi-new body as well. The Hubby and I have committed to eat better and exercise more this year.
So here's to a year dedicated to God, overflowing with his abundance and grace!
After our first meal after the fast, The Hubby asked, "Do you know what I want right now?" I nodded. We were totally in synch. We gazed deeply into each other's eyes, slowly licked our lips... and lustfully tore open our packs of Boy Bawang cornick.