Friday, February 25, 2011

Get Up Early: Skirmish #2

So then I had this bright idea.

For every day that I didn't get up in time to have my devotions, I would fast the whole day.

"Mwa-ha-ha," I thought gleefully to myself. "This'll teach me!" I do love food, and I was sure that even the bare threat of going without it would be enough to get me up in the morning. However, just to make sure I knew I wasn't bluffing, I made myself the rule that I had to get up on the first ring of the alarm (no hitting snooze). I wrote in my journal that day, "I'm tired of the defeat that sees me, day after day, succumbing to the sleep-god. I can't not learn this."

I admit that I really thought I wouldn't have to carry out my threat on myself. But the second day, I was already fasting. I knew it would take a whole day of fasting to hurt badly enough to be effective, because fasting for one meal, or even two, is so easy for me that it would have no impact on my sleep-ridden brain's reasoning power. That day, I ruthlessly carried out my threat, determined to drive the knife blade into the flesh and kill it till it was dead. I sniffed deliberately whenever there were any food odors to be smelled--and there were some good ones. I deliberately looked at food items so that I could tell myself, "See? You could have had that if you hadn't done that this morning."

But even still, I was thinking I undoubtedly wouldn't have to do it a second time, once the flesh saw I meant business.


By the time seven days had passed, I had fasted four of them. After two weeks had passed with me eating only about every other day, I was hungry, thin, and extremely irritable.

I decided it was time to reevaluate. I felt like I could starve myself to death before I would ever give up sleep. I evidently loved sleep much more than I loved food.

Also, I realized that I was fasting in the strength of the flesh. I was wielding a crowbar against myself to try to move myself, but it was about as effective as a tree trying to pull itself up by the roots. No matter how resolved I was, if I was operating in the flesh to try to destroy the flesh, the flesh would wimp out at the last minute and not carry out its threat against itself. And I felt like the more I fought against myself, the more I weakened myself and made myself unfit to continue to fight.

What made things even worse was that when I did get up to pray, my prayer times were duller than ever. Somehow, I just couldn't connect with God. What was wrong with me?

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