Flexibility vs. Self-Discipline

Fasting Journal, Days 7 – 12

I was on such a good roll with the Fast. Then, even though I should have known it was coming, I was surprised by my period starting on Day 7. Women “in their courses” are exempted from fasting. I thought I’d keep fasting anyway, since it was going so well, but halfway through that seventh day I decided to take the exemption. It’s there for a reason, after all.

So I had a break from fasting for four days. And though I’d love to say that I stayed totally focused on my spiritual development during that time, I actually spent a good chunk of it eating chocolate, watching BBC’s “North and South,” and trying squelch my impure thoughts about the main male character, Mr. Thornton. (Oh my. Did I just say that out loud?) Somebody please watch that show and commiserate with me here. I haven’t had such a teen-like crush on a movie character since I can remember.

Lord have mercy. I could stare at this picture all day.

Whew.

Okay.

I’m back.

Despite that momentary lapse, I have pretty much gotten a hold of myself regarding Mr. Thornton. And I’m back to fasting. The dumb time change happened in the middle of my break, so that’s made it a little harder. The sun sets around 7:00pm now, which makes timing dinner kind of awkward. And since Mother Nature decided March 14 would be a good day for summer to start in Chicago, we’ve been outdoors a lot, so I’m a bit more drained than I normally would be by the end of the day.

But it’s all good.

Part of what I’ve recognized through this past week is that things don’t stay smooth sailing for long. If life had continued the way it had gone during the first six days, the Fast would have been a breeze. But life happens. Menstruation happens. Time changes happen. Summer in March happens (not usually in Chicago, but we’re going with it). Distractions like Mr. Thornton happen. And though I joke (sort of) about his serious loveliness, it really was a distraction from what I’m trying to do during this fasting period.

But those kinds of detours and distractions are always there. Staying focused isn’t easy. But it doesn’t make sense to dwell when you get off track. Dwelling just holds you in one place and prevents forward movement.

So I’m looking more closely at the idea of going with the flow. Rolling with the punches. Acknowledging road bumps and detours, but then letting them pass and getting back on track. Accepting that things do not always go as planned or desired. Making the most of the circumstances you are in at the moment.

These are actually things I’m fairly good at already, but I don’t always accept as valuable. I tend to beat myself up for getting off track (though it happens often) or not being as focused as I’d like (though the nature of life with children makes sustained focus a virtual impossibility).

Flexibility is a virtue. Then again, so is self-discipline. Right now I’m working on striking an internal balance between the two. 🙂

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 6

  1. Anna Elliott

    I’ve been either pregnant or nursing continuously for the past 6 years (crazy, I know!) so I almost can’t remember what it was like to be eligible to Fast. But my husband obviously does, and this year started out great, fasted for 3 days . . . and then we all got sick with this horrible respiratory flu that for him turned into a sinus infection . . . he’s literally missed the entire Fast being sick! Life happens indeed, and you just have to accept that sometimes God has other plans, I guess.

    And I am SO right there with you with Mr. Thornton. The kissing scene at the end? Best. Movie. Kiss. Ever!!! I could watch it again and again. Oh wait, I HAVE watched it again and again. 🙂

    1. Motherhood and More

      I know how that is – I was nursing or pregnant or every year of the past nine, except one. But then we all got the flu during that one, so I only fasted about four or five days.

      Oh, Mr. Thornton. Let’s just take a moment shall we?

      [Sigh]

      I’ve watched the ending over and over, too. It’s a bit ridiculous. It’s like I’m 17 or something! Thanks for validating my obsession. 🙂

  2. Kelly Byrd

    I’ve been wondering how the time change would affect the fasting. I’ve even written a couple comments on your wall and then deleted them, thinking it was probably just silly. But a period to top it all off, now that’s a tough one! You’re right, that exemption is most certainly there for a reason I’m sure. You’re doing great though! Keep up the good work champ!

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