Failing with Grace

Everybody fails at some point, so it is important to be prepared.

I started the year with high hopes of reducing my sugar intake as an intention to continue fasting with an eye toward health and justice. January was a good month. I got off to a bang, kept my sugars to 24 grams or less every day. I granted myself one sugar-added item, and one white flour item a week. Things were going great.

Then February happened. I do not know how once a week contingency turned into twice, then daily, then no-holds-barred sugar-fest. It happened, though. When things first started snow-balling, I was anxious, then guilty. By the time Valentine’s Day came along, I no longer cared. All of it took me seriously off guard.

I have failed. Miserably.

This was not a problem when I fasted from shopping.
This was not a problem when I fasted from eating meat.

Why is sugar so much harder?

I don’t know that I have an answer to that question. I have some theories, maybe even some contributing factors, but on the whole, I just have to take responsibility for the fact that I made a commitment and have not lived up to it.

So what do I do now that I have failed?

I could wallow. I could sit in misery and guilt and failure. Sometimes wallowing is fun, in a sick and twisted way that is totally unproductive…but still fun. A big part of me wants to call the whole thing off because it is just too hard. Then I remember that I ran my first half marathon in November, resulting in four black toenails that I see everyday, and realize that difficulty is not usually a factor for me in making or keeping commitments.

No wallowing, no giving up. I have to move forward.

I have decided to reboot my fast starting March 1st. I thought about rebooting for Lent, but I knew I wasn’t in the right head space. I have been sick and my routine has been based mainly on convenience instead of intentionality. Reboot too soon, and I know I will find myself in the same place a month or two down the road.

I need a plan. I have to be organized. Some things in my routine and in my family schedule have to shift so that I can maintain my fast.

I could also use some support, so if you would like to join me in fasting from added sugar just send me an email or leave a comment below. The original terms of the fast can be found in My 2015 Fast.

Basically, I am avoiding added refined sugars by reading labels, going without, or substituting natural sugars. I will be following the recommendation of the American Heart Association to keep added sugars to 24 grams (6 teaspoons) per day. This is not a diet. I am giving up something that I obviously depend on way too much for comfort and convenience. I am hoping to add health to my body, and to add to the peace of my soul by seeking solace in the ultimate source of Peace.

Failing with Grace means knowing that no matter what happened yesterday (or even this morning, for that matter) I can start again. I can walk without guilt or shame, and continue moving forward.

Now that’s ReFreshing!

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on..”
Philippians 3:13b-14a

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Prayer in the Face of Terror

Creator of all things, Savior of the world, we bring to you our hearts wounded and broken by sin–our own actions and the actions of others that ignore the wholeness and peace you offer and seek to create our own good.

We lay before you our sadness in having witnessed the deaths, the martyrdom, of 21 of your servants. We will remember the witness of their lives, that your love is greater than death.

We lay before you our fear of persecution, and we pray for those who committed this act of terror. They are also your creation, and our hearts break with the breaking of your heart at the evil in which they have rejoiced. Shed your light on them and bring them to a change of heart and mind that sets aside death and destruction, to embraces your life and healing grace.

We lay before you our desire to live in safety and ignore the cross. Call us to a faith that produces love–a love that lays down its life for its friends and its enemies. Teach us to love our enemies and pray for those who would use us for their own purposes.

Give us wisdom to see the danger of complacency in the face of injustice–particularly the injustice we perpetuate.

Light our path and enlighten our hearts so that we will have light and life and grace to offer those around us.

May we embody the love that did not seek its own good or its own safety but left all that was comfortable to walk in the dust of our world to bring us shalom–peace and wholeness in every aspect of life.

In Christ Jesus our Lord, Savior, and Great Example, let it be so.

Amen.