Midday Connection

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Archive for the tag “fasting”

Lori’s 8 Challenge

FreeWe’ve been enjoying a small group study in the book, “Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most” by Mark and Lisa Scandrette.  It’s been challenging and it has shifted my (Lori’s) perspective a bit.  Thinking and talking about pursuing simplicity and contentment drew me to consider (what Mark and Lisa call) a “voluntary fast”.  A voluntary fast is setting aside something that is not necessarily “bad”, but perhaps something that could have a disordered place in my life.

I’m chronically discontent with my wardrobe.  I’ve never had a lot of money to spend on clothes and I don’t enjoy shopping, though I do enjoy an occasional treasure hunt at our local thrift shop.  As I walk to work each day, I admire the “together”, classy looks of women around me in the city.  “If only I had that outfit, I’d be prettier, happier and confident… (sigh)”  Several years ago I stopped reading fashion magazines because I know it just feeds into my discontent.  Yet, this is still an almost daily internal “ick” of discontent/envy about clothing.  I try to remind myself of Scripture, “don’t worry about what you will wear”, but having clothing is not the problem – I can get loads and loads of secondhand clothing at thrift shops very cheaply.  My discontent is about having the (supposed) right clothing.  I don’t want to live this way.  I want to live in gratitude, with a broader perspective of what really matters.  Looking nice is a value of mine, and I don’t feel that’s wrong, but it’s become disordered.

So, in an attempt to refocus, Randi Lundren (one of the members of our “Free” study) and I will only wear 8 pieces of clothing during the month of November.  (BTW – I loosely based this challenge from a 6 items challenge I read about here and here and here. Randi and I struggled with settling on 6 pieces, so we went with 8! 🙂 )

Feel free to join us and let us know if you do!

Here are the “rules” during the month long challenge:

Have 8 pieces of “anchor” clothing.
We can wear belts, jewelry, scarves.
Coats, undies, socks, shoes, workout clothes, and PJs are not counted in this challenge.
No clothing purchases.
Repair clothing if a mishap occurs (ie, no replacement pieces).

So, here are the pieces I’ve decided on:
2 sweaters
3 tops
1 dress
1 jeans
1 black pants

lori 8 challenge



Midday blog: A Fast from Negative Thinking

“Fast from negative thinking.”

That’s what my new Doctor advised as she ran down my new list of medical “do’s and don’t’s.” I understood the part about eating right and exercising, but fasting from negative thinking?  She sent a follow up letter, and there it was again, “Fast from negative thinking.” Seriously? Is that even medical?

My mom used to call out Philippians 4:8 before we left for school. After a while it was so predictable that my attitude became, “Yeah, yeah, mom.” But with a lot of stress this year and a slip toward the blues, I’ve searched out that verse again. How can it help me to fast from negative thoughts that occupy so much of my day? There’s a lot I want to curse these days. The early Christians in Philippi struggled too.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to                curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you     into his most excellent harmonies.” (Philippians 4:8, 9 MSG)

Fasting asks us to refrain from something that gives pleasure in order to open up space for some other goodness.  Giving up sugar and keeping up with exercising sounds easier than monitoring my mind for negative thoughts.  But how will I be able to more fully know that God loves me and is caring for my troubles out of His grace-filled character, when my mind is teeming with all that is maddening, unjust, irritating, unfair, disappointing?  The Doctor says…it’s time to make room for something else.

“Fasting reveals the things that control us.”
— Richard Foster

Melinda SchmidtMelinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner.

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