So, I am on day 11 of eating only 7 foods (chicken, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, green beans, almonds). The caffeine withdrawals are over!! That was brutal. I would say, all in all, I had about 9 days of either headaches or flu like symptoms. Today, I feel like I have more energy and I am not snacking as much as before. There have been several moments of serious, straight up, 100% temptation. Pizza buffet, Super Bowl Party, the last remaining girl scout cookies, popcorn, peanut butter M&M's that fell out of the bag, that I just had to put back in the back instead of eating them. I could go on and on. There are several things emerging in my heart through this though, which is making it all worth it.
1) When you take away all the stuff, you realize just how happy, or unhappy, you are with your life. There are some areas of my life that I am so happy with, that it makes going without in some ways not a big deal. There are some areas that are highlighted with "I don't like this about my life and therefore will need to change." For example, I am so happy with my family life. I feel so, so, so, happy, and it needs no additions. Sure, we can do things better, but the bottom line is that I have a husband who genuinely loves me. Even in difficult times, I know that he tries to make me happy, even if that means sacrifice for him. I have a little girl, who literally makes my life. I cannot imagine life without that smile, laugh, and silliness. All of that is not better when you add possessions. That's enough for me. On the other hand, this experiment has highlighted my relationship with God. My relationship with Him is amazing and sustains me. Truly, it is sanity to me, but I could put in so much more time, and it could be something incredible. Throughout this experiment, I have found myself unsatisfied with my level of commitment. Reading my Bible 15 minutes a day isn't enough for me. I need time to dig in and let the words come alive. I need time to let God root a mighty thing in my heart, and then allow Him to finish it and not let fear stand in the way.
Also, if during the reduction of excess you feel sad or have a hard time finding joy- your joy is conditional upon objects. And this is not a good place to be.
Truthfully, on about day 6 and 7, I was not happy. I felt depressed and that my life was lacking without my favorite foods. It sounds dramatic, but try eating only 7 foods and you might have the same reaction. I began to pray- God, please let my joy not be conditional on anything but You. Please. I started saying thank you for little things and through the gratitude, I started finding joy. Thank you for the fact that I have dinner today. Thank you that it is warm. Thank you that Matt cooked it. Thank you that my daughter is healthy. Thank you that I have a job. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you will change you.
2) God gives you what you need, not what you think you need. I tried to write down a list of things I needed, and I couldn't list one. Not one. I don't need any essentials. Clean water. Food. Shelter. Jesus. Bible. I could write a list of what I think I need for days. Maybe years. I have pinterest boards full of things I might need. It's just like the scripture Sarah sent me:
29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
He promises us to give us what we need and not to worry about it! Perfect, right? We get in trouble when we decide we need something, when God clearly tells us we don't need it. What would our financial lives look like if we trusted that what God provided was enough? What stress would disappear?
Thank you for listening to me ramble. I have had so many emails, calls, and messages lifting me up during this experiment. I hope to never be the same.