Sunday, August 03, 2014

LommoY: Thirty Day Challenge

Our family has accepted a challenge for the month of August.
"Less of me, more of You."
We are joining more than 30 of our friends who have agreed to the following daily routine:

30 minutes studying the Bible,
30 minutes exercising, and choosing to only eat from a list of 
30 whole foods ... for
30 days.

This was day 3 of 30 ... 10% is in the books!

I love the accountability for the exercise. Seven-year-olds can be relentless.

I am amazed at how easy it was to gather most of my kids around to "do our Bible reading together". Some wanted to switch to "30 verses" or a "whole" chapter ...because both options could be quickened and rushed through. Once I established that we would be spending 30 minutes, the atmosphere relaxed. We read a chapter, then each journaled for a minute or two. Then we moved on to the next chapter- taking turns reading aloud. We won't always be able to do that, but that sweet gathering was good for my soul. 

I am not thrilled with how much prep-work and actual "cooking" is involved in eating whole foods. It takes time. And planning. And patience. Everyone is adjusting now ... they know snack options are chopped veggies with hummus or apple slices. And I think we all feel better drinking only water. (I have coffee listed as one of my foods, and it's not nearly as lovable without sugar, but I like the treat in temperature and taste once per morning.)

Now, the LIST ...
It was agreed that each friend would come up with their own list. Some are very strict ... counting salt as one food and pepper as another. Bless their determined little hearts. Johnsons have embraced a bit more liberal expression of the list. I'm trusting that God intended food to be eaten with salt and pepper ... and cumin and oregano and the occasional zest of a lemon ... so I left those in the margin as "extras". I felt like a broad interpretation of the 30 foods would offer sustained success for our family. We intentionally steered away from milk and bread because several of us have apparent sensitivities to gluten and dairy.

Here are the foods we're enjoying this month. (I'll try to post menu favorites later.)

1. Venison
2. Pork
3. Chicken
4. Tuna
5. Eggs

6. Spinach
7. Broccoli
8. Carrots
9. Cabbage
10. Onions
11. Tomatoes
12. Avocado
13. Cucumber
14. Peppers

15. Rice
16. Potatoes
17. Oatmeal

18. Coconut Oil
19. Apple Cider Vinegar
20. Coffee
21. Raw Honey

22. Almonds (milk)
23. Peanuts (butter)
24. Cranberry (craisins)

25. Black Beans
26. Chick Peas (Hummus)

27. Blueberries
28. Bananas
29. Apples

30. Ezekiel Bread (for hard times when easy carbs would be a welcomed friend)

The purpose of this adventure is to face personal choices throughout each day. Choices between what our flesh would prefer, and what would fit rightly within the limits of this challenge.

To read or not to read.
To read early or chase it all day long.
To walk or not to walk.
To push play on the workout DVD or find another procrastination I can file under "responsibilities".
To do the extra work to provide meals from the list, or bust it and toss some corn dogs in the toaster oven.
To have a good attitude about the extra work, or grumble as I wash and chop.

It's laughable because these "hardships" are ... just not. It's not like we are being thrown into a den of cats, or an over-sized kiln. We're not starving or suffering.  

Thirty minutes is NOTHING.  I can waste 30 minutes scrolling through social media or staring at some reality show - barely noticing the time has passed. And yet, when purposefully fitting Scripture and exercise in and making it a priority, it becomes HUGE. [Some of us] sulk around this place, moaning about "hunger", complaining about the amount of chewing required to consume whole foods, begging to justify "whole pop tarts" as "whole foods". All the while, 840 billion people on our planet are malnourished and legitimately hungry. We have good food readily available, limitless options to exert our strong, healthy bodies, and several copies of the Bible. We are feasting on riches and refuse to see it.

God forgive our selfishness.

Self-denial is such an important discipline ... to get in a new habit of saying no to self. 
And this is SO much more than food and drink, and physical fitness. This is about every temptation common to man. 

Here's what John Bloom has to say about this struggle:

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“No temptation.” I love that phrase. It covers them all. But the temptations that Paul is talking about specifically in the preceding verses are sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 10:8) and grumbling (1 Corinthians 10:10).
These are not grand temptations like jumping off the temple into angel arms or denying Jesus when threatened with torture. These are “common to man” temptations. These are the temptations you and I will face today. And tomorrow. And the next day. They dog at our heels and whisper in our ears at the slightest glance or inconvenience.

And they are the most dangerous temptations we face because they’re aimed at where we are weakest: our profound, pathological fallen selfishness. This is why Satan concentrates most of his efforts on them. They encourage us to nurture a fantasy that the world we perceive is our world. And in this fantasy-world we ought to possess what we desire and things ought to go our way.
The more we indulge this fantasy the more we want it to be true. It feeds and expands our sinful desire-appetites. It increasingly shapes our thinking and behavior. If not resisted and battled vigorously, we will eventually pursue as real an image we created.
This is rank idolatry, which is why Paul makes a connection between these temptations and Israel’s golden calf a few verses earlier (1 Corinthians 10:7). We are not to play with these “common to man” fantasy-idols. They are lethal. They destroy people every day. They “[bring] forth death” (James 1:14–15).
Word? This is a big deal. For the next few weeks, we have set some parameters within which we willfully and happily exist. Every choice offers potential victory and strength. And every shortfall offers the reality of weakness, then a renewed awareness and acceptance of grace.

I look forward to seeing what the Lord shows my family as we approach this month with focus, accountability, and resolve; trusting Him to teach us while He has our attention; hoping we learn to be more attentive more often.

With sore quads and almond breath, I thank God for His kind patience:)