Something I haven’t talked about much yet, is the upcoming missions trip Ben and I are leading over the March Break. We’re taking a group of high school students from our church down to the Dominican Republic for a week of construction, teaching and hanging out with kids at the Lighthouse School. I’m sure I’ll have lots to say about our trip and what we did, learned and experienced, but this post isn’t really about that.
As one of the fundraisers for our trip, we challenged our church to take a Water Challenge. Because the community where we are going doesn’t have access to clean water, the school we’re helping out with has built a water filtration system that services the community, providing clean water to thousands of people who would otherwise go without. So as a way to get our entire church on board, and help everyone to feel a part of this mission team, we challenged them to go the entire month of January drinking only water. Any money they saved on other drinks (coffees, cokes, beers, etc), they would then donate towards our trip. The other side of the challenge was that it was to serve as a reminder that even the water from our tap is SUCH a blessing. (oh, and I totally ripped this idea off of Cait, who did this exact same thing a while ago for Blood Water Mission. If you don’t read her blog already, you should. Go ahead…click her link for a moment…I can wait)
Anyway, because we challenged our church to do it, it only made sense that we did it too. And now that it’s f-i-n-a-l-l-y February, I have some reflections on the month and how it all went.
- I really don’t like being the bad guy: People at our church who didn’t do the challenge/gave up, all of the sudden felt the need to hide every drink from me that wasn’t water. I personally didn’t care – it’s not about me – but people felt compelled to justify any drink they had in front of me.
- I really like coke/carbonated beverages. I always knew this, but didn’t realize how much it really completed a meal for me, until I couldn’t have one.
- This also meant I didn’t eat fast food all month, since having a warm, salty crispy plate of fries weren’t as satisfying washed down with water. Good for my gut, good for my wallet. A win-win if you ask me.
- It is incredible how creative people can get when “rules” are placed in front of them. I had one person tell me they just had to have the milk in their fridge because it would go bad, and well, wouldn’t that be worse and more wasteful? I had another person tell me they would have any drinks bought for them by other people, since they didn’t have to fork out the money themselves.
- That led me to think about the other things in life that we as Christians make legalistic, when God’s intention for things was so much more free. The whole point of this challenge was to make people mindful of the good things we have, get them to pray for our trip and hopefully raise a little money in the process. People got so caught up in coming up with creative ways to get a coffee/not feel guilty about failing, I think some of the point was lost. I wonder how often I do that with God: take something he intended to be so good (example: times alone with him in devotions), and just spend my time coming up with rules of how I should do it, and justifications on why I didn’t do it. And then when I don’t do it, I avoid Him for a while because I feel guilty that I didn’t get it quite right.
- That being said, it was really cool to see people try hard at something that I think was a struggle. Not everyone did it, and of those that did, not everyone succeeded completely, but it was really cool to see people try.
- I couldn’t believe how much a drink (not referring to alcohol here, although I do love a good glass of wine) could satisfy me. It made social hang outs more fun, it made food taste better, and just made me content. I’m kind of glad I had to actually stop and think about it for a month, because I don’t really want food or drink to dictate how I feel.
- That being said however, I feel I should confess that Ben and I got a gift certificate for the Keg, and intentionally held off spending it until January passed, since neither of us could bring ourselves to enjoy a quality steak meal with a lame glass of water.
- I peed a lot more.
- Umm, I can’t think of any other reflections, but kind of feel dumb ending this list with pee….
All in all, it was a great month. It led to good conversations, a neat sense of camaraderie amongst those who stuck it out until the end, and we raised about $1000 in total, which far exceeded my expectations for the challenge. I would do it again, but just give me a few month to re-stock my blood stream with the carbonated goodness of pop.
*the drink, not the drug (that’s for you Dave, in case you need the clarification)