Moving Is Like Fasting

September 20, 2012 at 1:41 PM

"It felt like the beginning of my first fast, years ago. Vulnerably, fear, insecurity. I felt striped down, not in control of my life and environment. The idea of ever writing in this place seemed impossible." 

 

I have not written anything for over two months. Knives, books, TV remote, socks, favorite sweater, and creativity were all packed in boxes. In fact my whole life was packed up, shoved into a truck, and moved 100 miles down the road.  

They say that moving can be one of the most stressful events in your life, and they’re right. That’s especially true for someone who struggles with a touch of OCD. I hate to admit that I’m controlled by anything; I have the allusion that I’m completely free like a bird, a minimalist that has no earthly attachments to stuff. I picture myself living out of a backpack, traveling the world, being an equally prolific writer in wilderness or the concrete jungle of New York City. This last move taught me a lot about myself, and some of it, I don’t like. 

First of all, I’m not the minimalist I thought I was. It took me twice as long to pack, needed three times the boxes, and the truck I rented was too small, saved only by my friends who thankfully owned SUV’s and a minivan.  Standing behind the truck and seeing piles upon piles of boxes jammed into the truck, I despaired at how in denial I can be about myself. And this was after weeks of serous purging old clothes and things I thought I was no longer using. I stood there wondering why in heavens name I need all that stuff. Once boxed, I couldn’t even remember what it was all for. In fact, I had been living perfectly fine for the last week or so without it all. 

After a long moving day and finally alone in the new apartment, with boxes piled everywhere, I felt depressed, began second-guessing my decision to move to a new home and job. I longed for my other place, the inviting shape of the livingroom, the larger kitchen and closet space. Here, everything seemed alien and impersonal. I felt very alone in a city where I had no connections. Over the last three years of living in my apartment, I had slowly accumulated more and more stuff. Not just because I needed it, but it’s simply fun to buy stuff. Moving from farmland to the city, my new apartment was smaller, with less closet space, so I was forced to purge. I could not believe how hard that was. Rule number one: if I’m not using it, wearing it, reading it, or watching it—it’s gone. “But maybe one day I will need it.” That sounded like my father, who keeps every nut and bolt, just in case. I had to grit my teeth, get rid of stuff, and admit to myself I had become like my father, not the minimalist I dreamed of being. I was not as free as I thought, but emotionally attached to material things. I had slowly begun to depend on the familiar things around me for security. That’s ok if that’s what you want, but that’s not what I want. 

Honestly, I was shocked how strong the feelings were. It felt like the beginning of my first fast, years ago. Vulnerably, fear, insecurity. I felt striped down, not in control of my life and environment. The idea of ever writing in this place seemed impossible. 

Experiencing negative, uncontrollable emotions can be very demoralizing, and humbling. But being humbled is not as bad as it feels as long as you respond with the right choices. You can hit the Liquor Store and smooth out the rough nights, but that makes the mornings worse, so trust me when I say, not a good solution. One thing I learned from fasting, is there’s times you cannot trust your emotions. They lie to you. Moving is one of those times. So instead of trusting my emotions, I trusted God.

Being in the fasting state while in my new apartment is like decorating the walls with positive moments. Often we become attached to a place because of the good memories it holds. I had amazing moments with God in my former apartment—but you guessed it. The veil has been ripped and God no longer dwells in temples no matter how lovingly you decorated them. God lives within us, so wherever I go, He goes, with all the blessings of love, joy and peace. Here’s the thing. I was in a good, prayerful place when I decided to move and change jobs, so I will not doubt my decision. That made a big difference. Once, unpacked enough, I started a fast. I’m writing this on the day 2 of my fast, and sure enough, there is a great feeling of peace and joy. 

Now that’s true minimalist living. It took two days of fasting to remind me of that. My new home will have as much love, joy and peace as my last place because God will be there. Hey, I like this place after all!

I’m back!

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Comments (2) -

Canada Tanya Desjardins says:

God gave us the gift of "emotions." They are like a compus - meant to guide us on this complicated journey thru life. Not only thru the good times, but thru the chaos & difficult times as well. Therefore we should not only trust in Him, we should trust in ourselves.

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Canada Lorie Hartshorn says:

So fun to find your website and blog.  Wow!  You are truly the fasting expert.  Isn't it great that our Connect Group is discovering this.  
Thanks for your honesty.  Welcome to Whitby!  God is clearly in you!

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