First Quarter: April 5
The first quarter is complete on my year fast of no drinking. Although it has only been a few months, I almost think that those few months are the most impactful. Not to limit the potential of my learning throughout this year, but to address the beauty and changes I’ve seen and how incredible they have been.
In just writing this right now, I felt a download/revelation/understanding that this first quarter was for me, and the second quarter shall be for others.
Sometimes, when people do things, they are doing it from a decision they have made. There is some type of understanding, plan, and thought process around their actions. Sometimes people do things just to do them with absolutely no thought.
[ REASON————————————||————IMPULSE ]
When I woke up New Years day, I had a sensation in my spirit. I closed my eyes and looked to where soul meets spirit, and saw myself not drinking for a year. I opened my eyes and my mind thought, “Really? A whole year? Is that even necessary? What about a month?” I closed my eyes and again, and as if reading words on stone that cannot be erased I saw “One Year”. I said to myself, “Okay. If you say so God.” There wasn’t this huge reasoning behind it. In fact, my reasoning didn’t quite match it, but I went spirit led on this one.
What has emerged and has been uncovered has been so beautiful. It’s so interesting when we cut out something that we think is no big deal, just another part of our day, or something that is normal. In the past, I’ve had no phone for months, was barefoot everyday for weeks, only drank water and tea, didn’t get my hair done for years, etc. There are these times and moments where I cut out something I felt like had power of me. I didn’t quite see alcohol as the same, so even though I was shocked I obeyed.
This obedience has developed in me a whole realm of identity, self-control, and fullness in Christ. Not to say that drinking takes those things away! Not at all! I can’t wait to have a glass wine again, trust me. It’s just, when you remove something in your life, you are creating room for something else. This space that has been created for me has brought clarity, power, and strength to my life. I feel like as a tool, my edges are sharper, not edgier, but sharper. I can see things more as they are, because I don’t have any opportunity to relax my brain on the substance I had been using to relax it. I can start my day super early on the weekends with an early exercise class or routine. I am stronger, because I am in-tuned on a daily basis of what is happening around me. Again, not to say that alcohol stops that, it doesn’t. All I’m saying is I have leaned less on alcohol and more on spirit. Just like we would with coffee, or if your thing is sweets, or if you are obsessed with working out. Whatever it may be that you allow in your life in a constant basis, to remove that is …different. It causes the brain patterns to change, and the mind to find new ways of operating.
I have to acknowledge people’s reactions. I would be holding back so much if I didn’t. When people hear of what I’m doing, their responses truly reveal their hearts. It’s so crazy and hard to explain, but sometimes I can’t believe what I’m hearing:
1. WRONG & PUNISHMENT VS OPPORTUNITY & POSSIBILITY
A lot of people have heard what I’m doing this year and immediately think that there was something wrong. Whether I am punishing myself for fasting, or I’m fasting as a punishment.
My relationship with drinking is a lot like others: I love to have a glass of wine at the end of the day, unwind, drop my guard, and relax. I like to drink wine with my friends and talk and talk til we’re too tired to say any more words. My limitations with drinking are 1) I don’t drink and drive 2) I only drink Modelo, Heineken, Corona, pinot noir, and tequila, and 3) I tend to only get sick when I go outside my limits. When I am at a party setting, I am on such high alert and excited around others, that the alcohol doesn’t have as much as an affect on me. This can cause me to drink 4-5 heinekens or coronas instead of the 1-2 I normally drink, which makes me bloated the next day. If I were to drink a pinot noir that wasn’t of high quality, I could get really sick the next day. My hang overs, if I have them, can be awful. Nonetheless, a beer or wine at the end of the day was great by me. And as an adult, going to school, working full-time, volunteering a lot, and more, it seemed appropriate to have a drink to unwind. Basically, there wasn’t an issue. It was a balanced habit.
I am not doing this cause there is something wrong. I started doing this out of obedience to see what OPPORTUNITY God had for me in this challenge. To see what emerges throughout the year, what lessons I learn, and how this influences my life as a whole. My mind could come up with 100 reasons why this is a good idea, but to be sincere and honest it is out of POSSIBILITY not punishment.
2. COMPETITION VS HONOR
Competition in general is not a bad idea. However, if it takes away from a person (steals), treats them lightly (definition of cursing), flattens what their doing (kills), or makes them small or unworthy by it (destroys), then it is not from the life giving source.
A few people specifically have responded in such competition and dishonor that has revealed to me exactly their heart was toward me.
Immediately, after hearing what I say I’m doing, they turn it around on them and say similar to, “Psh…that wouldn’t even be hard for me” or “Psh..I can totally do that no big deal” and then they change the subject. I’m left with my jaw open. In that moment, in the midst of my challenge and sharing my heart, they respond with no encouragement, no respect, no honor, no care, or even curiosity. I’m just left with competition, disrespect, diminishment, and lack of honor. It’s crazy!
Compeitition usually means I’m right your wrong, or I’m big your small. There can only be one winner and that my friend counteracts the gospel. Yes, competition has its place and is so fun with sports and other things, but in personal relationship it can just be plain evil at times.
My victory is your victory. When you honor my victory, you can receive from it!
Those competitive people (that we’ve all been at some point in our lives) tend to be self-serving, and the patterns of their minds always make them better than others. So, to hear someone doing something possibly admirable goes against their narrative.
This inspires them to diminish me. :-0
I don’t like that….
3. SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE
I love my supportive people out there. I really do! Even the ones I barely know, or the ones that I’ve known for years–thank you for seeing the reality of another’s actions. Thank you for your true empathy, not just a habit of words. Thank you for interest, integrity, and kindness. Thank you.
These people usually respond with, “Woah, thats crazy. Good for you! Have you learned anything yet? How is it? Have you felt different? Is it hard?”
These people then open up the conversation. They are the true expansive listeners who care, and who–like me–want to see what emerges from the conversation and what they can learn from it. These conversations end up allowing me to share 1) how easy this is for me 2) how God inspired me to do it, and 3) how I’ve learned that where he leads, I can follow with his strength not minE = GLORY TO GLORY.
At the end of this first quarter, I am left with so much spirit its ridiculous.
I don’t even know what to do with it sometimes. God is healing me and creating things in me that I needed to give him space of my time and strength to do so.
This challenge has now become a fast.
I am leaning into God more than I ever have and recognizing more of when I’m not seeing his perspective, when I’m not listening for what he wants to do, and when I can release the power of heaven without limitations.
Again, drinking or not drinking has nothing to do with it! It’s the fact that I have removed something NORMAL for me.
The definition of without honor is to be treated commonly. So think, “What have I treated commonly? What is normal to me? How can I change that pattern?”
This second quarter will be for intercessory prayer. I have been doing this all along, but now is the season to stand firm in it. God hears our prayers, and when we fast and pray, oh boy does he have more room in us to manifest his goodness!!!!
Half Way There: July 24
Half way through the year, and I have yet to taste the bitter sweet romance of alcohol. As you read above, the Lord has been showing me a plethora of revelation and has imparted so much of his movement in my life on a spiritual basis. In addition to that, God has shown me a very simple principal on a more practical level.
How much time and money do we spend on alcohol?
How much of our lives are revolved around having and drinking alcohol? It’s interesting, because I see this with a lot of other substances. For example, eating at restaurants. How much of your time and money do you spend at restaurants instead of cooking your own food? It’s that same concept.
How much do you put the necessity and investment into alcohol over other things?
When my husband and I went to Nashville, Tennessee we saved so much money, because I wasn’t drinking. We ate out and went out and yet I ordered a water everywhere we went. It’s not as obvious on a daily basis at home, but in those situations you really become present to the question of, “What do I spend my money, time, and energy on?”
Since my not drinking alcohol decision began, I have found myself doing different things on the weekends than I normally did. And trust me, I still go out with friends and go to BBQs, because not drinking doesn’t stop me from still being around people who are drinking–it has no affect on me in that right. What I mean is, I normally wouldn’t get up at 6am to go work-out on a Saturday if I had drank the night before. Or, have the extra money every month to maybe buy some work clothes or sandals that will actually last rather than deteriorate over a 3 month period. Drinking costs money, costs time, and costs energy. Some people would rather pay for alcohol than those piano lessons they always wanted. How can we all justify having the lack when we spend our money on alcohol? or eating out? Or whatever your vice may be?
And its not only the act itself, but the patterns of thinking and behavior that surround it. All we do in life will reflect the desires of our hearts and the values we put on it.
So many people are justifying, creating, and supporting ways of me stopping this commitment, and it almost feels like the ultimate test for me. Normally, I can be a sucker for other’s opinions and cave into things pretty quickly, but this is not the case with this. Their opinions just aren’t phasing me.
“Oh well, you’re not in California, so it doesn’t count.”
“6 months is really the longest any person should go that’s not pregnant.”
“You have to drink when you are in Italy! Theres no other option with that one!”
“Well, when you’re in Italy, it’s going to be a vacation–that doesn’t count. Vacations is when you pause everything and that should count too.”
All these responses can seem rational, however a commitment is a commitment! And, you can live life fully and not drink! Some people actually choose not to drink at all, ever! Just cause.
When Jesus rebuked Peter in the garden, I can see, just slightly, of where Jesus was coming from. Obviously, my situation is much different than Jesus’, but sometimes people seem to have loving intentions with their advice, but its just not the way. No one can decide for you what is best, it has to come from within yourself.
There is a bigger picture for me at hand here, and boy is it fun discovering it!