This waking up thing is really hard. I went to bed at 10pm with the intention to get around 7 hours of sleep and be pretty refreshed for the 6am morning prayer. I still made to prayer in time and I once again did it in my car. It was a very smooth prayer time and it was encouraging for everyone to pray for one another. It was a good way to start my morning.
But right after the 30-minute prayer session ended, I returned to my room to read my devotional and jot some notes. It was a good devotional and it reminded me of the biggest priority in my life. Am I willing to let go of things so I can achieve the bigger picture — that bigger picture being God? The devotion talked about Peter and how it took him some time to really get it even though he was with Jesus. It was only after the crucifixion did it truly click for Peter. And I look at myself and wonder where I am in my journey. When it will it click?
And you know what sucked after reading the devotion. I felt sleepy. It was 7:30am and I was not fully awake. So I caved in and lied in my bed and knowing that I likely would fall asleep, I still did it. An hour later I awoke.
After I awoke, I immediately got up, put on my outdoor gear and took my daily walk around the neighborhood for an hour. I missed the interview of the spiritual conversation I talked about yesterday. It aired at 8:30 and I left the house at 9am. So in my listening, it was mainly worship music and Christian songs. But what was cool was that I still got a chance to hear great songs and half of them I actually knew. I don’t know a lot of Christian songs because I rarely ever listen to any. But these were good. It was nice to have some familiarity.
I’m still selfish, I’m still wanting more for myself and I sometimes don’t really see the big picture. When will I be willing to let go of it all? This actually corresponds to a book I am currently reading by Pastor Mike Slater. He has been to my church several times and he’s working on things with us in the coming months. In the book (which I read over some Indian food for lunch) talked a lot about fear and weakness. That’s what holds us back. There is a fear about failing. And by that fear, it makes us weak. Is that why I haven’t fully committed to God? Is that why I am not going at full speed as I should be? Why am I letting myself be weak? It was a strong message that hit me. And here I was sitting in the restaurant book feeling full and motionless.
I actually decided to get Indian food because I love it and it was only a $10 buffet. It was at a restaurant I had eaten before and the paneer was delicious. But the strategy behind it was that if I didn’t spend too much on food and still ate well, then it would help me not want to snack in between meals. It worked. I wasn’t hungry afterward. I was quite full so I walked to the Target in the same plaza.
Let me say that during this fast, I will be spending a lot more times outdoors away from my computer and temptation of media. But then again, Target was full of media-related things and it was not easy not to notice the TVs that were on in the electronics section. I did find myself in the books section because tomorrow I am going to drive up the Bay and on my way home, have lunch with the man who discipled me when I was in college. Without him, I might have never met Jesus (formally) for the first time. His four-year-old daughter is going to join us and I haven’t seen her in a couple years. I wanted to get her something so I was texting back and forth with papa on what books she likes. I found this one book about a peanut butter bread slice looking for a friend. It was perfect.
There are still lots of distractions even when I am way from media and snacking. The neighbors are loud. There are so many things around me that sometimes I don’t find myself the time or the quiet place to pray. That’s kind of a big deal.
So later that night was the first night of the five-week study session, which is the reason why I am fasting media. The weekly session (which will encompass 10 hours of weekly “homework” study) is called Operation: Solid Lives. It’s me and two friends really diving into ourselves and the word and finding our purpose in our faith. This is where the true challenge begins.
After eating a can of soup for dinner, I met with my OSL group to go over the orientation of the remaining four weeks. First of all, it will require much diligence. I have to listen to two sermons along with another audio clip. That along with prayer time and Bible reading will take up a lot of my time for the week. Additionally, I have to memorize Bible verses. The hardest challenge for me actually will be inviting one new person to go to church and one person to OSL every week.
Yeah that will be hard.
But this is still pretty exciting. I am looking over the material and it looks like I have a lot of things to do this week and it will be a good challenge for me to really focus on this. It’s actually pretty simple. But the challenge is really keeping myself committed to this and taking to heart to what the challenge can mean for me and my relationship with God. Tomorrow I will be driving back home and maybe when I get home, I might give it a quick listen.
I’ve packed my bags and I will be driving back to the Bay in about 6 hours from now. Time to see family for the new year and go to the Stadium Series game. Pray for my diligence, commitment and steadfast motivation to maintain my fast and focus on God.