Freedom provokes something within us which calls us to act, a propulsion, movement. Most of us however find ourselves gridlocked and going nowhere. About a week ago the season of Lent got underway and my Exodus brothers and I decided to take up all of the disciplines from the Exodus 90 program for the 40 days leading up to the Feast of Easter. As the name connotes, the point of Exodus, just like the story in the Old Testament, is meant to lead those who embark on the journey to freedom.
Part of the prescription of Exodus is that you choose to stay away from desserts, sweets and any sugary drinks. Our group went a step further and ascribed to our Intentional Encounter Wellness Plan which calls us to rid our diets of all of the hyper-palatable foods that surround us and replace them with high quality real food (if you can’t pronounce the ingredients – it’s not real food). A week into reclaiming these disciplines I quickly realized the hold that these over stimulating foods had on me.
During the past month or two of the exhausting busyness of life I allowed crappy “normal” food to become too normal for me. This didn’t happen at home, as my wife tries to prepare whole foods to feed our family, but rather in the hustle and bustle of life at work where the sensation of hunger is quickly and easily dulled by a trip through the drive thru.
Over the years I have gone “hard core” for a time and cut out everything that is not “real food” and slowly and intentionally added things back like rice or dairy because my body tends to tolerate it well. The rust begins to build however, and momentum slows when I can’t plan or rather don’t plan what I am going to eat and I end up at the nearest fast food joint or convenience store to grab something on the go. For me, if I’m not intentional, these occurrences go from the occasional hunger emergency to over indulgence in fried goodness seemingly overnight. That’s when gridlock happens. I become enslaved, numb and unable to move. Whole foods appear flavorless and uninviting when compared with the plethora of flavor options that are at my fingertips.
This is why I have found that discipline is the essential grease that keeps our axles moving. By reclaiming good nutritional habits I can see things begin to move again in all parts of my life. Through this simple decision about what to put on our plate we can begin to taste freedom…and freedom moves us. Decisions become decisions again, not just automated reactions to an outside stimulus. We can begin to see more clearly and find opportunities to be our brother’s keeper, hold our tongue when what we have to say isn’t necessary or good for the other or make time to waste with God.
The time of Lent can be mistakenly seen as merely an obligation to instill discipline for discipline’s sake or to somehow earn favor with God. However, I challenge you to view discipline as the grease for your axle which leads to freedom. If we have freedom, we can finally move and act and love.
“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)