I must admit. Last week was intense.
It was simultaneously a little taste of heaven.
Peter and I were still off of work. We gave our homeschooling kids one more week of Christmas break. (Why not?) And my writing deadline was fast approaching. Book manuscript due: January 15.
So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday—every day looked like this…
I woke up around 3 a.m. and crept downstairs. (Don’t feel sorry for me. I actually love those early morning hours. And yes, sleep definitely needs to be addressed in another month of THP.)
I spent four or five hours at the dining room table, wrapped in a blanket, sipping my coffee, praying like crazy, pouring over my Bible, and pounding out words.
Sometime between 7 and 8 a.m. I would hear Amelia padding along the hallway and down the front stairs. Stuffed animal under one arm, thumb in her mouth, she would come and climb into my lap. We would cuddle at the table for a while, or maybe we would go back upstairs to the big bed, and I would take a proper break.
When Peter was ready to rise, I would head back to my study station, and he would start breakfast. Soon, poached eggs and bacon and bananas would suddenly appear at my elbow. Like magic.
After breakfast we would do our little family exercise routine. (More on that another month too).
Then the kids might play—while I wrote and Peter sat opposite me, preparing a Sunday sermon. Or Peter and Grandma might take the kids out to do something fun, leaving me alone in a blessedly quiet house to write—all the livelong day.
Come dinner time, delicious smells would once again waft from the kitchen. Then Peter would call us all to the nook for some broiled pork chops or steak with a side of sweet potato and broccoli. We would enjoy a magnificent meal in the nook, followed by our newly-instated, after-dinner family prayer time and Peter’s nightly reading from The Hobbit.
Then I would fall into bed along with the kids, only to wake up at 3 a.m. the next morning to do it all over again.
Like I said, intense. Long days and more writing in one week than I’ve ever done in my life.
But sort of perfect—especially when you add in that not-having-to-cook piece. I actually do enjoy cooking, but I’m pretty sure I could get used to living with Peter the Personal Chef.
Some background, in case you missed it…
On January 3 I announced that we Worralls have decided to spend 2017 exploring and practicing—in new ways and old—what it means to love God—heart, soul, mind, and strength—and our neighbor as ourselves.
We’re calling it “The Holiness Project.”
Every month we’ll pick an area or two in which want to grow, we’ll be intentional about seeking transformation, and I’ll let you know how it goes. Please join us if you’re so inclined!
For January we are focusing on two things: Diet and Prayer.
Today I just want to answer one simple question: “Why start there?”
They may seem like two random and unrelated areas of life. Diet and Prayer. But we don’t think so.
We chose our diet because—physically speaking—it was our most obvious felt need. We weren’t feeling great. We had gained some weight. I was once again addicted to caffeine. And our Christmas sugar consumption was out of control.
Too, we chose diet because we knew exactly what we wanted to do—another Whole30. Having been through the program before, it was an easy start. We already had good resources and understood the expectations. We had actually maintained several of the Whole30 habits, so this wasn’t a total diet makeover for us this time. I simply went through the kitchen with a garbage bag, tossing out leftover Christmas cookies and a bowl of M&Ms and any other rouge-ish foods. Peter went to Costco and stocked up on some meats and eggs and vegetables and fruits. And we were good-to-go.
We also chose diet because it is so foundational to health. Obviously it’s a major player in physical health. But diet is also critical to mental health. And I don’t think it’s overstating to say that we believe that our diet even has spiritual implications. I don’t want to “over-spiritualize” and say that we must pray over every bite we enjoy or that we should never consume sugar or chocolate or bread. But I do think that a basic way that we can love God with all of our strength is by feeding well this body that He has given, that He has made, that His Spirit indwells.
We chose prayer for very similar reasons.
It’s another felt need. We were craving more. We knew we needed more! And, of course, foundational to spiritual health is our communication with God.
Last month when our church announced the 31-Day Prayer Challenge, that confirmed it for us. January needed to be about prayer. We weren’t alone in our desire to seek God’s face more in 2017. And what better way to start the year than to bathe it in prayer, in community?