It was the choices. The bright colors. The cleverly marked containers. The dizzying overwhelming display of laundry soap, followed by cereal boxes, followed by tea bags, followed by loaf after loaf of a variety of bread, followed by granola bars. It was seemingly endless options for everything.
That is what undid me last winter. I had just returned home from Africa. I had met my beautiful baby boy, kissed his face, and given my heart away to his country. I then did the unthinkable, and I walked away from it all, boarded a plane and left him behind, an ocean away, for an indefinite period of time. That is not something a mommy should ever be asked or have to do. So maybe it was the emotions from that or from being jet lagged for the first time in my life, but I remember clearly walking up and down the aisle in our Super Walmart with hot tears gushing over my cheeks. My shoulders shook as the choices overwhelmed and choked me. For the first time ever I realized that what I had grown up thinking was so normal was really not normal at all in the country I had just left, and in many other areas of our world. I felt rich and privileged and sick. I felt greedy and selfish. It was as if I had lived the past 31 years ungrateful in this land of plenty. I did not even understand the blessings that had surrounded me my entire life. They were just normal to me - perhaps even a right that I deserved.
This came to mind today, as I went through my 7 food choices, paired down from the excessive choices that typically beckon me in any given day. Jen's book is not so much a rule book for how to rid your life of excess or how to learn a certain lesson from the Holy Spirit. It is way more open ended than that. Even the guidelines for each of the seven months are left to the interpretation of the one doing the experiment. (I just happen to have a lot of type A personality inside of me, and I wanted to follow what she did. I kind of enjoy following rules. However, I have heard of other people doing the same experiment in a very different way.) Jen didn't box the Holy Spirit in with her experiment or have an agenda for what He would teach her, and I am trying very hard not to either. So this is pretty simple this month - reduce my eating to 7 foods and just be still in order to see how the Holy Spirit uses that.
I didn't really expect much today, but that above grocery store scenario flashed back into my mind (in the midst of my grumbling and complaining over my coffee - yes, the headaches are still here). I have grown up so privileged. I do live in the land of plenty. And I do not want to be blind to the fact that this is not really normal. This excess surrounding me, the choices I get to make everyday have dulled something inside of me. Maybe, just maybe, by cutting back to these 7 foods and eliminating the endless choices that I have become so accustomed to, my eyes will be opened a bit more to whatever it is that the Spirit is trying to press on me today. I pray that is the case. I want Jesus to be enough for me. I do not want this excess in my life to be what satisfies, because Jesus is the only One who could ever really satisfy. Sometimes it is just hard to remember that in the midst of the flashy excess, the deceiving choices - the JUNK. So this month I am taking something as simple as food and stripping it all away, and seeing where that leaves me in 30 days.
I pray that it pushes me face down to the feet of Jesus, who is more than enough for me.
The beautiful sandwich Jim made for me tonight (grilled chicken with slices of avocado smothered in avocado/yogurt on whole wheat bread) with baked sweet potato fries. I mean really, what do I have to complain about? This was delicious.