Think Fast

There are few things in this world that I love more than gummy bears, Oreos, and Sour Patch Kids. To be honest, I’m not sure if I love anything more than those delectable sweets.  Other than burritos.

However, I’m giving up all that sugary goodness.  Not for a lifetime, but for three weeks (which feels like a lifetime).  I’m giving up all sweets, sodas, and alcohol during those 21 days.  Not because I think those things are bad, but because I need to refocus.

There is a lot of noise in my life.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad, most of it is distracting.  Life is too busy and there are too many things competing for my attention. Despite my good intentions, a lot of my days are wasted.  Those days quickly turn into weeks, months, and years.

I need to prioritize.  I need to refocus.

I need to fast.

I’m not sure of all the theological underpinnings behind a fast, but it’s a pretty simple idea. I think about gummy bears, Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, Coke Zero, and Coronas approximately 217 times a week.  Instead of hitting up the vending machine or searching for Amanda’s secret stash of junk food when I get a craving for high fructose corn syrup, I’ll say a prayer.  It won’t be anything fancy or impressive, but just a quick prayer of thanksgiving. A quick prayer asking God to help me love people more. A quick prayer that the Metro won’t be single-tracking during my commute home.

Those brief moments of prayer and reflection throughout the day will hopefully lead to a substantial attitude shift.  Instead of merely trying to squeeze God into a tiny compartment, my hope is that I emerge from these three weeks of sweet sacrifice with a faith that permeates every aspect of my life.

But, on the day, the hour, the minute the fast ends, I will be yelling, “SHOW ME THE GUMMY!”

Think Fast

Faithin’ Ain’t Easy

Although my wife says I’m perfect, I’ll admit it, I have a lot of flaws.  For example, I talk too much.  That probably means I annoy some people.  It also means that I don’t have many secrets.  Well, here’s one:

I think believing in God is kinda crazy.

I’ve spent most of my Sunday mornings at church.  I paid attention “most” of the time.  I go to a dynamic church here in the DC area.  It has helped transform my life and my marriage.  I pray a few times a day.  Occasionally, I even pray for things other than the Washington Nationals.  I try to read the Bible each morning.  However, I often fail and the snooze button gets the best of me.  My days sometimes end in disappointment because I desperately want to live a bold and passionate life like Jesus lived, but the stresses of life consume me.  Plus, I waste too much time looking at Facebook.  And Instagram.  And Twitter.  And sports websites.  And pop culture blogs.  Meanwhile, the things that I know matter most, the things that I desperately want to pursue, are pushed off until “tomorrow.”

In short, faith has always been a challenge for me.  Outside of sporting events and Sarah McLachlan pet adoption commercials, I’m not a very emotional person.  I conduct a calculated cost-benefit analysis before making life decisions.  I don’t take dramatic leaps of faith or do risky stuff.  My wife doesn’t like watching movies with me because I point out all the plot holes or stupid things that make no sense.  Meanwhile, she just wants to admire Ryan Gosling’s incredible “acting skills” in peace and quiet.  I’m also a lawyer.  I love facts, evidence, and reason.  None of those things mesh easily with a belief in an infallible God who has always been, and forever will be, chillin’ somewhere in a palace made of gold.  When I pray, I sometimes wonder why I’m sitting around talking to myself.

Despite the doubts, the struggles, the tragedies, and the endless questions, I still believe.  Here’s why:

1.  One of the greatest rock bands told me to “Don’t Stop Believin’.”  I don’t know about you, but I do what Journey says.

2.  I have traveled to 30+ countries, met my ultimate celebrity crush, hung out with a President, married a great lady, get to kick it with the best BFF EVER, have attended some awesome concerts and sporting events, work across the street from a froyo joint, and own a “few” pairs of fun pants.  However, the only times I’ve felt that I’m truly living life the way it was meant to be lived is when I’m following the two rules Jesus said are the most important:  Love God and love others.

3.  Why do I believe in God?  Because these things exist:

Faithin' Ain't Easy

Faithin' Ain't Easy. Yo.

SPKs

TB

4.  I know that I’m in good company.  Whether it was a Bible dude building a big boat or a modern hero of the faith like Martin Luther King, we’ve all had our doubts and we’ve all made mistakes.  My struggles are nothing new.

5. Finally, I refuse to believe that my life is the result of random chance.  I refuse to believe in a world without purpose.  I refuse to believe in a world without redemption.  Yep, really bad stuff can happen that shakes those ideals, like today’s tragic DC shooting, but I still believe there is a God who made us and loves us.  I wish I had some impressive theological explanation about why God allows bad stuff to happen.  I don’t.  All I know is that God has given us a priceless freedom.  We can use that freedom to do incredibly beautiful things.  Sadly, some will use it to do unspeakably evil things too.

So those are the five reasons I believe in God.  That might make me kind of crazy.  However, that’s nothing new.

Sonogram