Tag Archives: Fasting

Common Prayer, Exercise, Whole 30 (Day 1)

We don’t have school today, which is nice because I get to have a sneak preview into what summer will be like. I got up at about 6:00 this morning, leisurely put on my clothes and shoes, and ran the two miles to Ball Pool. I hopped into the pool at 7:00AM and swam a little over a mile, then walked home, arriving by 8:30. I moved my body 5 miles by 8:30. How amazing will summer be?! I will be able to have all of my “required” exercise (it’s my goal to move at least 5 miles every day) and my morning prayers/quiet time finished by 9AM, and then I’ll have the whole rest of the day to work on art, house chores, gardening, or whatever, and because I’ve switched to the paleo/primal diet, I actually have energy to do things! All of these things are perfect meditations in the love of God. Moving the body. Contemplating God’s word. Praying for others. Being meditative.

But, we still have about thirty-five days of school left, so I can’t get too excited about summer yet. Not that I am counting down the days, because I don’t really do that. I generally love school. One of my favorite times of year is when I get to buy new school supplies and a few clothes.


Today’s morning prayers had a snippet about Dietrich Boenhoeffer, and the thought-provoking quote provided from him really made me think: “So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life, but in the thick of foes.” Generally, I don’t look at other people as foes, but the first part of that really struck me. I spend a good portion of my time thinking about how I could be a better Christian, and that vision usually includes some form of me living in a convent or some other monastic situation where I don’t have too much contact with the outside world. Boenhoeffer is so right, though. My Christianity really means nothing if it’s cut off from the world, hidden behind closed doors. The idea of Monastic life, as manifested by the folks who live at Simple Way in Philadelphia, really appeals to me. They are making a difference while still living according to a modified version of the ancient cycle of monastic life. It’s really beautiful and there is so much good.


This Lent really changed me. I feel much more hopeful, much more alive. Being out in the wilderness was good for me. Having a friend to talk with about how that feels was helpful. Fasting during Holy Week made the whole 40-ish days come alive, and I realized (again) in a very real way the humanity of Jesus: he was a real man, with friends and family, who suffered horribly and died. However, you interpret the act of the cross, the actual human events leading up to it must have been excruciating for Jesus and for all those whose lives were touched by his. Then, yesterday, the very real joy of Easter came crashing into me in a way I’ve never experienced before. I teared up a bit at the sunrise service. Maybe my life with Christ needed some attention, maybe I needed the Bible to become real for me again, maybe I just needed to make some tough decisions, or maybe I just needed to listen, really listen, to what I am being called to do. It certainly isn’t a life that’s so busy I don’t have time for friends, family, or even people I don’t really know. I’m called to a more contemplative life, a life filled with spiritual thinking, grace, love, and peace. Now my only problem is figuring out how to make this life I envision, this life I am called to, a reality.


Duh, I published this without adding the thing that made me start to write this post. Today is the first day of my Whole 30 experience. I forgot I was going to start it today, so I bought some yogurt for breakfast this week, but I am just going to freeze it and eat it when I am finished. I have only one cheat for the next 30 days, and that’s raw honey. I’ve been eating a tablespoon of it every day for my allergies, and it seems to be working, so I don’t want to cut that out. Other than that, I am Whole 30 all the way!


Lent Day 30: Silent? You Want Me To Be Silent?

Those of you, who know me well, know that I love to converse. I have often said I should have gone into psychology so I could just sit and listen to people talk all day long, not to belittle what psychologists do, because I believe psychology is a noble profession. I just think I’d like to try to provide people with a listening ear that is attached to a thinking mind that can hopefully provide some insight or some tools to make life better or, at least, more cope-able for them. Perhaps I became a teacher, because for as much as I like to listen to other people talk, I also love to talk myself, not to myself. I went on a silent meditation retreat a few years ago, and as much I love to converse with others, the silent retreat was a refreshing change. I’m starting to think God wants me to revisit this silent retreat for some parts of Lent.


When I opened my Verse & Voice email from Sojourners Magazine, I found this quote from Hans Urs Von Balthasar: “The silence required of the Christian is not found fundamentally and primarily of human making. Rather, believers must realize that they already possess within themselves and at the same time in God the quiet, hidden ‘chamber’ into which they are to enter and in which they are with [God].” This was preceded by a Benedict of Nursia quote from my morning prayers: “How much more important it is to refrain from evil speech, remembering what such sins bring down on us in punishment. In fact so important is it to cultivate silence. After all, it is written in scripture that one who never stops talking cannot avoid falling into sin. Another text in the same book reminds us that the tongue holds the key to death and life.” Both of these quotes work together, serving as an excellent reminder to me that I need to stop and listen. To people. To God. To nature. I simply need to listen.

I am too quick to offer my opinions and my advice. Sometimes I sit in conversations waiting to say my piece, not necessarily listening to what the other person is saying, instead formulating my response to what it is I think they’re going to say (or are saying). I confess that I don’t always care what the other person is going through, because I am feeling so wounded myself, so I really only wanted to meet for drinks, coffee, lunch, or whatever because I needed healing. I forget that maybe they are feeling the same wounded way, maybe more so.

A Path in the Wilderness

If you’re someone who’s been slighted by me, I’m sorry, but I don’t just do this to other people. I ignore or have one-sided conversations with God, too. I have had the audacity to come to prayer with God with the sole intention of airing my grievances, my grief, my suggestions for improvements, and/or my angst. I have forgotten to listen to what God has to say to me, or worse yet, I have blatantly ignored God. Sometimes in my life I might say that I can’t feel or hear God, but I think that might just be an excuse I’ve used when I didn’t want to feel or hear. It also might be an excuse I use when I choose to talk too much and listen too little.

I think God is reminding me to slow down, listen hard, and shut my mouth for a minute. I feel like I should celebrate this with silence. While running? While swimming? While praying? But really all three of those are the same, right? How else can I celebrate silence this Lent? When can I be still and listen to God?


I always feel like I am called to fast during Lent, but I never know exactly what that might look like until I get to where God shows me. I feel (because spirituality is a good portion intuition) that God is calling me to—and I am going to honor—a fast for Holy Week. So from Palm Sunday through Easter, I plan to eat one evening meal each day, fasting from breakfast and lunch. Once I’ve celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, I am going to participate in the Whole 30, which is a pretty strict version of paleo that lasts for thirty days and supposedly rejuvenates your bodies ability to digest food and feel its Circadian rhythms. My goal is to do the Whole 30 from April 8 through May 8.