Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beth Moore, juice fasting and sin

"Are you sure I can't get you something?" said the cute waitress. Her sweet smile was fading looking at our tiny bill and thus, a tiny tip.

She had already brought me water with lemon.

"No, really. I'm fine." And since that was the third time I had answered her I felt the need to elaborate a little. "My husband and I are doing a juice fast, so we're not eating for 10 days. Just drinking fresh juice."

And there it was. The look. The are-you-sure-you're-not-drinking-Koolaid-waiting-for-a-comet? look. Followed by "Huh...okay." I was already familiar with this look.

This was day 3 of our juice fast and the day before my daughter's birthday. My mom had offered to watch my son so we could have a "Mommy day" and where did she want to go first? The sushi restaurant! That's where both of my kids always want to go on a Mommy day. I have them trained well. It's my favorite.

And seeing as how I hadn't eaten food in 3 days I thought it might be a tough temptation, but we were celebrating!

So I sat there with my water and lemon wedge and watched my almost five year old eat my favorite food ever. No big deal. And she couldn't finish 4 pieces so we LEFT THEM! Ugh! Awful. No, no big deal.
I was so happy to have overcome temptation when it was right in front of me. I probably even pat myself on the back a few times for it and gave myself a high five, which I guess would really be a clap, but you get my drift. I thought, "I've got this fasting thing down. No big deal. 7 more days. Easy peasy."

I made it through her birthday. Served her an insanely delicious looking cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips sprinkled on top. I even got some frosting on my finger and WASHED IT OFF!  *gasp*

On the following day, day 5, I had a very tiring day. My husband was coming home late and so I fed the kids by myself. I made them grilled pimento cheese sandwiches. The smell was intoxicating. As they ate I made my freshly squeezed green juice. The smell was not as intoxicating. But I sipped it as I cleaned the kitchen. As I cleaned up the kids plates I started to throw their leftovers away and I noticed that my son hadn't taken a single bite of his sandwich. So I did what I would normally always do when cleaning up the kids' plates. I took a bite without even thinking about it. Am I the only mom who is a human garbage disposal? I hope not. And how could a son of mine not devour a grilled pimento cheese sandwich? How wasteful! Mid-swallow I remembered "Wait! We're not eating food! Stop!" But it had already gone down. "Do I throw it up? Is it going to make me sick? What do I do?" So I looked at the rest of the sandwich for a few seconds as the taste of the first bite lingered on my tongue. And then I ate it. The whole stinking thing. My flesh was whispering to me 'You've already messed up. You might as well finish it off.'

The rest of the night I felt terrible about it. I prayed, I repented, I was forgiven. Done, right? No need to tell my husband. Move on to a new day. Get back on track.

So the next day I woke up and felt even worse about it. I was hostile to my kids most of the day. I was snarky with texts to my husband. I physically got ill, too. Fasts were not meant to be broken with grilled pimento cheese sandwiches. That's all I'll say about that.

That night I went to see Beth Moore at her Living Proof Live conference. Several times that afternoon I thought of many reasons not to go. I was in a foul mood, but I rallied and made it there. As the lights were going down in the auditorium, tears welled up in my eyes and I was so surprised. I wasn't in the mood for this. Stop it, tears. Where did you come from? But as the worship music came on they fell freely from my face. I managed to clean myself up as the lights went back up and Beth came out on the platform to speak. About 5 minutes into the evening she started talking about how amazing the food is in Charleston and she had such an amazing dinner. Then she put a picture on the screen of her meal.


I started crying again. If anyone saw me they would have thought I was an insane person. Who cries over pimento cheese? Unless it's spilled on the floor or something, but even then you enforce the 5 second rule, right? So I straightened myself up and told myself that it was just a crazy coincidence. God wasn't convicting me in the middle of 9,000 women, right?

Beth went on to discuss the first two of her eight points for the conference. The first one was: 'We are here to be more honest versions of ourselves.'

BAM! Convicted. Fess up, Stacie.

And her second point was 'We cannot fully walk in our birthright if we are living as part fraud.'

WOW! Ok, I get it. I need to tell my husband.

And she elaborated into saying how social media is such a slippery-slope for Christians and that we need to make sure we are fully representing ourselves and not just putting our best side on there for self-promotion. Immediately the previous 5 days of Instagrams went through my brain. All posts of my juice fast and people telling me what a great job I was doing. And no, there was no Instagram depicting me eating a grilled pimento cheese sandwich. That one didn't make it on there.

So, after the conference that night I called my husband from the parking lot to tell him about my slip. Which was first accidental (the first bite) and then intentional (inhaling the rest of it.) He was so gracious, as he is always. And after we talked I sat in traffic for about an hour on my way home and thought of how this slip played out. The whole fast I had thought that if I avoided temptation I would be fine. But when I actually did fall and taste the "forbidden fruit", it was my natural inclination to do so. It was almost instinctual. And then afterwards when I realized what I had done it was almost as if a serpent was whispering into my ear "it's too late now. you're so weak. you might as well keep sinning because it's what you do best." But the real sin came when my husband walked through the door that night and I had the chance to tell him what happened, but I didn't. I felt shameful and embarrassed and weak. And I should have shared that with him, but I didn't. This is how sin usually operates in my life. It's at first accidental, then intentional, and then deceptive. It's an ugly vicious cycle, but then there is the beautiful conclusion: repentance, forgiveness, grace. Thank you, Jesus!

To finish the rest of my drive home I decided to listen to my bible study chapter on my phone. (YouVersion app is awesome, by the way. The guy who reads it is sooo dramatic and I really enjoy it) Towards the end of the chapter this verse hit me like a ton of bricks : 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

And I felt like God was telling me that I needed to confess my sins to not just my husband, but to everyone who had been supporting me and rooting me on during this fast. I certainly don't want to represent myself as something I'm not. I don't want to lie to any of you, my friends. So, I have slowly been telling my girlfriends and now I am publicly outing myself! I ATE A GRILLED PIMENTO CHEESE SANDWICH!! 

So, today is Day 10. The final day of the juice fast. And we plan on breaking the fast with our small group tonight. A group of friends who have prayed for me and encouraged me the past few years so I think it only fitting we celebrate with them. But I'm not bringing any pimento cheese sandwiches!

(For a recap of our juice fast results check back later in the week!)