I can still taste the earthiness of those deep magenta-colored beets. Yuck! The first 10 days of 2012 my boyfriend and I embarked upon a juice fast. As in, ten days of nothing but juice made from raw veggies and fruits filling your cup. We slid straight into the 10-day experience after leaving GYC, and I had no idea what to expect. On day 10 of the fast, I shared the following in an email update:
I went into this super-anxious about all the possible side effects, but I’m happy to report none of the things in my silly imagination actually occurred in real life. No headaches. I was able to go to work without fainting somewhere between the parking lot and my desk. And, I didn’t cave in and raid my neighbor’s pantry in the heat of passionate rage. God was with me. It was a prayerful challenge and somehow comfort food took on a spiritual identity. It was more of the Word I craved, and the aroma of free pizza and sweet cupcakes on the office couldn’t entice my taste buds.
Matthew 5:6 resonated deeply with me, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” Each night I went to sleep I’d say goodnight in prayer to God, and each morning I woke after resting in His arms. It was a peace I couldn’t reproduce with a mani, pedi, or full-body massage – this was a cleansing from the root upward.
The first Sabbath of the year and in the middle of my 10-day journey, I was able to partake in communion at church. I remember thinking how fitting it was to literally feel each bread crumb crumble between my teeth after 7 days of liquid only. “Give us this day our daily bread…” (Matthew 6:11). Running on empty with God fueling your needs just as needed is an incredible experience. Somehow worries slip away, and problems find their solutions in that contentment the comes with clinging to Christ independent of circumstance. My body felt a physical transformation, energized by a spiritual one.
See, God and I have the frequent tug-of-war where He tugs on my heart telling me to let go of the reigns, and I pull back wanting control in the do-it-yourself mentality that only wears me down with a mountain of stress on my back. Emptying me of me knowing there couldn’t be an “I” in this equation of achieving 10 days absent from the dinner table gave me something much more satisfying. I remember one day sitting at my desk I was hungry and ready to down another 16 ounces of beets and other veggies. For whatever reason, I couldn’t untwist the lid on my juice cup. I was so frustrated and overwhelmed with hunger. In my heart I cried out in frustration to God, and He responded instantly. I grabbed my mouse pad, gripped hard and untwisted the cap. I had to smile as He whispered in my ear, “…in my strength.” Looking at the red lines on my hand I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I just ask Him 10 minutes ago?”
We are nothing. There is nothing we can do on this earth in our own strength. When I think about my fingers’ ability to gracefully dance around this keypad, every keystroke is because of Him. Every breath, every blink of the eyelid – it truly is funny how I think I can control the order and progression of my life. It’s just been a few weeks since that experience of charging up every day through intense and focused bible study. Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize just how little I am and just how amazing it is that I can so quickly forget it’s NOT worth fighting alone. I like how The Message says it in Luke 18:27, “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
There’s just nothing as satisfying as being empty, when Jesus is the one to fill your cup.