Twenty-One Days

A lot of the friendships I’ve strengthened and valued most in the past year have been those formed through faith-based events: gals I’ve met through volunteering at a Christian school; the retreat I attended in the spring; the Bible studies I’ve attended. These women are beautiful creatures; I feel blessed to know them. Would that I could be more like them.

The men I’ve met in the past few months haven’t wanted to scratch the surface. When I look at my reflection, I can see that I’m not giving them much of a reason to want to do so. At the same time, though, I want to find the man who’d be inclined to dig a little BECAUSE the surface seems so ordinary. God know there’s an abundance of complexity beneath.

The church I’ve been attending for the past year or so is doing a twenty-one day fast and holding prayer hours at six a.m. and again at noon. I can’t make the noon ones because of work. Last week I managed to get up at five a.m. for four days and show up to pray with and for others. The first two days I loved it; the next two I felt like a farce — like the demons in me balked at the goodness of it and mocked those in attendance because of how they prayed. I was too unsettled by the hypocrisy I felt to continue.

Who among you struggles with this in your faiths? How do you overcome it?

I’ve heard that you can create new habits in twenty-one days. I understand why this number was chosen for the fasting and the praying. I know that I would love to create new habits, that life begins outside our comfort zones, and I have been much too comfortable these days.

Last night in Bible study, a friend spoke of how her husband had matured over the years, especially when he’d begun digging into the Word at the start of his day. It sounds like such a fine idea, but part of me can’t bring myself to do it. Is it fear? Is it laziness? Is it that I don’t want to be uncomfortable? How could I bring myself to get up at five a.m., dress and drive twenty minutes in the dark to pray with strangers for an hour, but I can’t bring myself to get out of bed and open a book for that amount of time? Is it the weak student who never studied and can’t bring herself to do so now as a struggling adult? How do I silence the doubt and skepticism so that my faith can grow?

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