I hate this fast. I really really do. I want my clothes back. I want to feel like a woman again. This seemed doable, and Hatmaker said that this month was easier for her…I would go back to eating dry chicken and sweet potatoes any day. I am tired of wearing the same darn outfits. And I can’t believe I have twenty more days of this. And I feel this is the very worst time to be a part of a fast like this. With banquets, and parties, and all the holiday festivities, I feel like I am missing out.
I cannot imagine a worse time for this.
And in the same moment that my mind is filled with grumbling, a gentler part of me creeps up and says “I cannot imagine a better time than this.” Advent. The waiting. The anticipation. I am stripping down the “pretty” of the season. Yes, our house is glimmering, and I am participating in more traditions than I think possible as a single mom, with elf on the shelf, gingerbread cookies, trees, nativities, and lights…All that beauty is surrounding. But with my repeated outfits and lack of coverup, I am immersing myself in the nit and gritty of the season, and ridding myself of the “pretty” to make room for the beautiful. An ugliness of my spirit is coming out like never before. I don’t know if it is the stress of the season, the fact that I am back to drinking three cups of coffee a day, or the tension of the now and not yet (I am sure it is a culmination of all these and more), but I have heard fasting has a reputation of bringing forth the ugly, so that our Redemptive Creator can take it, heal it, and deal with it.
So in the midst of denying myself the things that I attribute my sense of beauty with, God is bringing forward and pushing out (like puss…in a zit….gross) the ugliness of my soul that can so easily hide behind a prettyfied face.
It is a perfect reminder of what the season is about. In this denial of self, I am forced to look at Christmas and all the things that come with it in the eyes, and say “I waited well. I focused on you, Lord, and denied myself the things that so often crowd my mind.” The stench of my clothes reminds me of the stench of my sin. The weight of my leggings not yet dry on my body reminds me of the weight of waiting. There’s something about not feeling pretty and waiting in desperate hope that just seem to go hand in hand.