Seeking time is back, and I’ve already come up against my old nemesis: pizza. It happens every year; I get all ready for a set-aside time of fasting and prayer, and suddenly I want pizza so badly I think I’m going to die. You might think that is foolish or funny, but we all have something that is a huge temptation for us. If you determine to press into the things of God, something will show up and demand to be heard. My something just happens to be pizza! Yours might be chocolate or TV or Facebook. Feel free to fill in the blanks with your “whatever” in these survival stories.
In 1998, half-way through my first full 40-day fast, I decided to make a Bi-Lo brand frozen pizza for my kids’ supper. I had been cooking for my family just fine up until that point, so I didn’t think anything about it. I popped that thing in the oven and, before you know it, my house smelled like Pizza Hut. My mouth started watering, my hands started shaking, and I started having visions of me yanking that thing out of the oven and eating every single bit of it by myself. When I did take it out of the oven, I stood over that thing and cried. No kidding! I literally started crying. Everything in me wanted that pizza until I heard this little voice… “Just think of all the people who will die and go to hell if you eat that pizza.” Now, I don’t know how God talks to you, but He talks to me in ways that will impact me. I knew people weren’t going to go to hell if I ate pizza. But what I also knew Holy Ghost meant was that I had entered into something that was really changing me and that many other people would be impacted by it. If I held my course, and didn’t give in to some lousy pizza, it could mean the difference between life and death for someone else. Then I started laughing… I mean LAUGHING. Was it really worth fasting 20 days already to just eat a piece of cardboard with some tomato sauce and cheese on it? I don’t think so!! The moment passed and I survived the pizza… that year.
In 2002, I was really enjoying the time I was spending with God during Seeking Time. I woke up every morning with my spirit singing some praise song. Then on one fateful day, about 30 days in, I woke up to the tune…”Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime. When pizza’s on a bagel, you can have pizza anytime.” I couldn’t get the song out of my head!! Before you know it, all I could think of was Bagel Bites! Even worse, on about day 35 I had to go to the grocery store for my family. Guess what was on sale?!! Guess what was piled high in several places around the store?!! No joke, it was Bagel Bites. I stopped my buggy in the middle of the frozen food aisle and called my best friend. With tears pouring down my face, I yelled, “Help! I’m surrounded by Bagel Bites!!” Of course, she fell out laughing, but she also talked me through it until I could make it to the check-out and out the door. I was victorious over the pizza… again.
I don’t always commit to a full 40-day fast, but I do usually commit to eating things that are good for me, which pizza is not. My seeking times are often filled with images of myself surrounded by all the minions of hell, and I’m crying out loudly, “A pizza, a pizza… my Kingdom for a pizza!” (That’s a nod to Shakespeare’s Richard III, in case you’re not a dork like me!) Why does it have such a pull on me? I don’t know… it just does. But I have learned a couple of things over the years…. if I’m going to make it through Seeking Time, I have to STAY AWAY FROM THE PIZZA!!