Tuesday, February 16, 2010

forty days (+)

It's time for Lent! After ceasing to consider myself Catholic, I kinda thought I'd never do Lent again. I felt like Lent was pointless if it was the only time of the year I sought discipline for God. I wanted to bring Christ-like discipline into my life year-round, not just in the springtime-- but we all know how hard that is. And right now, having a period of focusing on discipline would be GREAT. So I've skipped out on Lent for the past two years, but this year imma do it. It's a beautiful opportunity to start on something I've been thinking about for a while. Last week in small group, I mentioned there are lots of little areas of life that remain undisciplined, that I just haven't given to God.

One of these is my eating habits. While techinically being a relatively healthy eater these days, I have unusual restrictions on my diet that I just blatantly ignore. I have a chronic pain disorder called Interstitial Cystitis. If you've ever heard of it, it's probably because your grandma has it-- I'm one of the youngest cases recorded in the U.S. It's weird, I'll explain in person sometime if you ask me about it. And-- if you're reading this and you didn't know this about me before, don't worry, it's not fatal or debilitating in any way. It's just annoying.

Anyway, there's an extremely restricted diet that people with IC are supposed to follow. Basically, you can eat like 3% of foods in the world. Anything acidic, anything processed, anything artificial, anything carbonated, anything with lots of sugar, anything with lots of salt, anything caffeinated, anything with vinegar-- basically anything with flavor-- all out. What's left, you might ask? Pears, blueberries, and honeydew melon are the only okay fruits. Almost all vegetables have low acidity, which is nice. Meat without flavoring or sauce is okay. Breads & pastas made without preservatives are okay. As far as drinks go, your options are water, milk, decaf peppermint tea, pear juice and carrot juice (both of which are actually delicious!)

Following this diet is pretty much your only chance for the IC to go into remission, which you'd think would be incentive enough for me to do it. But I've never been intentional about it- it's HARD to say no to normal, healthy, seemingly okay foods all day long. I was diagnosed in 2006, and while I've cut out the super acidic stuff, like orange juice and lemonade, you will still see me eating apples and salads and chocolate and drinking coffee on a regular basis.

So then, Lent. My idea came about last week when I was thinking about making this issue part of honoring God in everything I do. He has given us beautiful, strong, glorious bodies as vessels to live out his truths and glorify him. And never did he promise health or perfection. So these weird sucky conditions that I have? They present not problems or annoyances, but opportunities: to grow in discipline, to glorify God, to learn to love him better.

So for the next forty days, and hopefully beyond, I am going to try and move through each day saying no to apples and bananas and Cherry Coke (ahh...) and salad dressing and spaghetti sauce. Oh man, and coffee. Shoot. I'm going to be praying that God align my desires in this situation with his, that he would bend my heart to know his perfect love for me, that this desire for discipline would flow from a heart set upon his glory.

Prediction: I'm probably gonna become one of those people who always have a Klean Kanteen in their hand.


  1. Hi Emily-great idea for Lent! You should check out our website www.ichelp.org and check out our Facebook Fan page. There are lots of others on there who are around your age and who are having some of the same problems with sticking to the IC diet that you are. Also, we have lots of info about the IC diet on our website. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions! Alison @ ICA

  2. Emily, we must have tea sometime, i have lots to share with you about diets!! I was on an incredible restricted diet for a while..i have fun recipies!!

  3. I'll be honest...I didn't read this whole post...I stopped right around..."After ceasing to consider myself Catholic, I kinda thought I'd never do Lent again." I am dying to hear your testimony! Would you mind sharing it with me?