I have a lot of thoughts right now…
First, I am really stressed out, so I thought it was the perfect time to update my blog.
Second, I read other people’s blogs and I always wish that I had something interesting about my life to write. So I wish that I had updated this more in the past 30 days, instead of trying to cram all that I have learned into this one post.
The past 30 days I have embarked on a fast, partnering with my church and ministry team. The church does a 40 day fast every February. The pastor and many of the members drink only water and fruit juice for the full 40 days. Talk about Spirit led! No human could do THAT on their own strength!
At the end of January, I knew that I had to do something for the 40 days…not because I felt peer pressure but because I felt the powerful leading of the spirit. So I decided to do what is called a Daniel Fast- abstaining from everything except fruits and vegetables. I also decided that I needed to come up with a game plan before the fast began, or else I would convince myself that anything was ok. So I decided that the fast would end two days before I left for my spring break trip (that would be TOMORROW!!!).I also decided that I would not go on facebook, because I knew that denying myself of one thing would tempt me to fill it with another thing. So I had a good friend change my password, so that I couldn’t even go on.
Many people asked me what the point was… Do I have a prayer request that I am praying for? A need that I am asking God to meet? But the nature of this fast was different- I had a spiritual goal, but it wasn’t that God would meet a physical need that I have- but instead that God would break me and use me and teach me (and boy…he sure did).
Here are just a few thoughts/jottings in my journal:
Fasting- abstaining from a physical gratification to obtain a spiritual goal
Fasting is saying NO to me and YES to God
“Do you want to improve your prayer life? Then turn off your TV. Turn off your phone. Turn off your music. Say no to your physical cravings, even just for a short time.”- Pastor Mann
“When you fast- you will find out where you spend your time.”- Pastor Mann
Fasting put me into a place of even greater temptation and that time of denying myself truly shows me what I CANNOT do.
I have to admit that as I finish off this fast, I am rather dissapointed in myself. Yes, I did go 30 days DENYING myself. But it’s not about what I have accomplished, but what has changed in my heart as a result of Christ. I have a lot to learn about the discipline of fasting. I need to learn how to fast AND pray- never in the Bible are those two things separate. For most of my fast, it has been just fasting, and not coupled with an increase in prayer.
I have learned SOOOOOOOOOO much during this fast, however.
Here are a few things:
1. I have learned that whatever I take out, I will try to fill it with something else. Since I took out facebook, it became Hulu. When I took out Hulu, it became blogs. When I took out everything but fruits and vegetables, it became eating fruits and veggies whenever I could. When I took out all snacking and resolved only meals, then it became gum. There have been times that I thought I would die. But that is the point. I need to be at a place that I absolutely feel like I would die- because then I truly turn to Christ with surrender in my heart.
2. Fasting is not fun. I have learned so many things about how dirty my heart is. How much I truly think about things other than God. How much I complain about what I have- when I truly have sooooo much more than I could ever ask for.
3. Food is an idol in my life. I eat it when I am bored. I eat it when I am sad. I eat it when I feel like it. I eat it when I socialize. It is no wonder so many people in American are overweight. I never thought that I had a food problem until this month. I don’t have what would be considered an eating disorder, but I sure do love food- and I probably love it even more than I love my God. Isn’t that UGLY?
4. Satan is ready to fight. As soon as I took something out, Satan began to tempt me. Little things. Things like…well, I did just get invited to dinner, so I can break the fast just once, right? Or…oops, those will go bad if I don’t eat them… Man, he is on top of things, and he is certainly an enemy to watch out for!
I have a lot more thoughts, and maybe I will continue to post as I break the fast tomorrow and then see what I learn from there. During my fast, I read a book called Fasting by Lynn Baab. It was a very excellent book, and I would highly recommend it. In closing, here is a quote from the very last chapter of the book:
Fasting makes space for God by giving us the freedom to set aside our habits for a brief time. Fasting lightens the load by yoking us with Christ in new and unexpected ways. Fasting calls us to pray, enables us to pray, and gives power to our prayers in ways we cannot completely understand. Fasting engages us experientially in the mystery of God’s love and power. In our day we need fasting more than ever.