Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stretch

I almost ate a tortilla chip from my daughter’s plate today. So what? Well, today is my second day of a five-day cleanse. The cleanse does not include tortilla chips – not even one.

Before I go any further, let me define cleanse and explain why I am doing one. Toxins fill our bodies. They come from food as well as other places – pollutants in the air, shampoos, deodorants, cleaning products, etc. Basically, you cannot avoid them. So, it is a good practice to periodically rid our body of built-up toxins (hence, the cleanse). Physical issues I’ve been dealing with for eight weeks prompted this particular cleanse. My right leg (from my buttocks to my toes) has been hurting and falling asleep. Before I see a specialist, I want to see if toxin build-up or inflammation is the cause.

What about the tortilla chip? The act of reaching for the chip tells me that I make decisions without much, if any, thought. My routine is second nature. In many ways, I walk through my day like a robot on auto-pilot. And that’s the way I like it! I love my comfort zone. I could curl up in it and live peacefully for the rest of my life (if everyone else would cooperate).

If I think of my comfort zone as an area, a section would include physical comfort. When I am in pain, too hot, too cold, in the rain, or hungry (I could go on), I am not nice. I become irritable and want to flee right back to that area of comfort. I am not referring to physical well-being. I am talking about allowing my physical comfort to override God’s directive.

I want to chew on something crunchy (not drink). I want to enjoy the taste of my food (not endure it). I want a bite of my husband’s steak because it smells good. I want what I want!

Can physical comfort become an idol? At the very least, the above attitude is self-centered.

I read a magazine recently in which “Stretch” was the theme. It is easy to lay idle in our regular routine. But how will we reach others for Christ? How will God mold us into His image?

The stretch theme reminds me of a skit Nicole Johnson performs. In Matthew 12, Jesus enters a synagogue. A man with a shriveled hand is there. To the dismay of the Pharisees, Jesus heals the man’s hand. But before he heals it, he tells the man, “Stretch out your hand.” It must have been painful, and possibly embarrassing, for the man to stretch his hand. But he was willing because he knew that to be healed he must stretch. He also knew the source of the healing and in which direction to stretch his hand – toward Jesus.

So this week I am stretching. Physically, I am outside of my comfort zone cleansing my body. Spiritually, I am stretching toward Jesus asking Him to heal me and to direct my steps.

Do you walk through your day on auto-pilot?

In the area of eating, what would be a stretch for you?

6 comments:

livadair said...

I love the use of the situation in which Jesus asks the man to stretch out his hand. For me, stretching is cutting out sweets. Especially on stressful days!

Oh, wow. As I write this I am eating some ice cream. There's some irony!

isaiah55911 said...

I love the article. Well done. I find I need to stretch especially in the area of cleansing and fasting. My problem is not hunger pains during a fast or cleanse but the battle I have within my mind. Maybe this is where I need to take every thought captive. Isn't it interesting how powerful food has become in our culture and in our lives. Anyhow I love what you have to say. Keep bringing it.

Barb Winters said...

Olivia - Thanks for commenting!
Stress can drive us to food. Satan uses this as a detour away from God. Stress should drive us to the throne of God.

Dave - I agree. This fast has plenty of calories and I am not really hungry. But my senses are on overdrive. Everything smells good and I really miss the act of eating (it's a liquid diet for me right now). It's also pointed out how many times I eat out of habit (like after the kids go to bed).

Food is definitely an integral part of our culture. Although, I suppose it is in every culture. Even hundreds of years ago, people worked hard for the sole reason of putting food on the table. It's when it crosses from something we use for fuel to something we use for fulfillment that it becomes an idol.

I think your answer is spot on - take every thought captive!

Thanks for your comment!

Laura said...

I can definitely empathize with you on this one, Barb -I started off the new year doing a Daniel's Fast, and tomorrow is my last day. I've had plenty to eat, but it's the "extra" stuff I've been craving (Starbucks mocha, a piece of chocolate now and then, etc). It takes so little for the child in me to come to the forefront, screaming "I want, I want, I want!" The experience has helped me to better see how God generously provides what I truly need, and most other things are just distractions (of course, that's a lesson I'll likely need to keep relearning throughout my life). :-) I'll be praying that the remainder of your cleanse goes well, and that the situation with your leg improves.

Barb Winters said...

Laura - Thanks for commenting! I see your point about the "extras" being distractions. While I think God generously allows these "extras" for our pleasure, we have to make sure we don't take them for granted or allow them to become our main source of food.

I'd like to know more about your Daniel Fast. What prompted you to start it?

I am on the last day of the cleanse. I can't say my leg is any better. So I am continuing to pray about what, if anything, I should do about it next. However, besides the leg situation, the cleanse has gone well. Thanks for your prayers!

Laura said...

I'm sorry your leg is still bothering you, Barb, but I'm glad your cleanse has gone well. As far as the Daniels Fast, we've been doing the fast two times a year (either for 10 or 21 days each) for the past couple of years - my motivation is a desire to hit the "healthy reset" button for both my physical and spiritual well-being. I find that, by purposefully eliminating foods that are not allowed on the fast, I can better appreciate that the primary focus of food is to be the fuel that sustains our bodies. We try to spend each fast praying for a particular person or concern - this last one has been for my nephew who has been going through some difficulties. I'll e-mail more details about the Daniels Fast to you, so that you can provide it to anyone else who might be interested.