Well, October has officially been over for a week now and we are still processing so much of what we did. It was truly an amazing month. I wanted to write a little reflection on what it was like for us, but I'm sure this won't be the last you hear of it.
The biggest thing was definitely the Daniel Fast. That was a lot harder than I expected it to be. When I was pregnant with Judah I got into some bad eating habits and I knew it was time to break them, but I didn't realize just how bad they were. Every time I went somewhere in the car I wanted to eat. I wouldn't even be hungry but I would still want to go through a drive-thru. Terrible, I know. What's worse, is I have a family background of obesity and that is a bad association to have. Plus, I remember growing up and getting any kind of fast food was such a treat. I loved it when we got McDonald's! But it's not like that for Micah. That's not how I want it to be. I want him to see these trips as something really special. This is a habit I knew I needed to break!
I'd like to say that I did a great job with the fast, but I'm not sure that's the truth. As I said, it was very difficult for me. We ate out a LOT less, but I also broke the rules a couple times. It was discouraging and frustrating because I knew that I shouldn't but it was just so hard for me not to. But I won't let that ruin what I did accomplish. I'm making strides in the right direction and little by little it will improve. It's a habit and habits can be hard to break, but by God's strength, I will do it. So, we're not continuing the fast per se, but we are continuing the good habits from the fast. We're limiting our fast food intake a lot more and we're also incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our everyday eating (we have always eaten a lot of fruit, but now it's our go-to snack). I really hope that someday I can proudly say I've kicked this habit and trips to McDonald's are a treat and not a regular occurence!
The second most challenging part of the month was my limited computer time. I waste a lot of time on the computer looking for good ideas, reading blogs, catching up on facebook, etc. And sometimes that time can creep up into my time with the boys. I tell Micah to play trains by himself so that I can send a couple e-mails, which inevitably leads to checking facebook. Or after dinner, I let Brad play with the boys while I catch up on some blogs. It's not that I don't spend any quality time with my boys, it's just that I could do better. Limiting my time to an hour after the boys were in bed was one of the best things I could have done! I enjoyed my time with the boys so much more. I was there with them. We made crafts and played with Micah's toys. We read books and went for walks. And I noticed a huge decrease in the amount of tantrums going on in the house. I enjoyed my boys. This was probably the most rewarding part of the challenge, which is why I'm continuing it. This might seem obvious to some, but I have decided that I will not spend any time on the computer while the boys are awake. No checking facebook. No sending e-mails. No looking up something real quick. Nothing. The only difference is that if I want to go on the computer during nap time I can, and I'm not limiting myself to an hour. It was hard to get everything done sometimes (I do legitimately have to do work on the computer plus that's how I relax so sometimes I felt like I was choosing between more work and relaxing). I am so excited about continuing to have that quality time with my boys. After all, as I've said many times before, they are only this young once and I want to enjoy it as much as I can.
Last, as a general reflection, I will say that it was very hard for me to go through different parts of our house and give things away. I realized how much I associate my own happiness with "things." I wasn't finding my joy in the Lord. I wanted a cute outfit so that others would give me their approval. I was seeking the approval of men, not God. The Bible tells us that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the inside. He knows my heart and no cute outfit is going to fool him. So, this month I've learned to look to him for approval more than I look to others. I benefited greatly from my daily devotional time with him and just felt him tugging at my heart, calling me closer to him. I can't say that I'm perfect and have it all down now. I still want cute clothes and nice serving dishes, but I'm learning that my value is not found in those things. This is a lesson that I know God is going to continue to teach me. It is my prayer that some day instead of a compliment about my outfit, someone tells me that they can see the glory of the Lord shining through me. Then, I will know that I have achieved what I set out for. Until that day, I will keep working at it.