21 Days of Fasting
Today I begin my 21 day fast. My church does a fast at the beginning of each year. Last year it was for 14 days, but this year they have extended it to 21 days. I always thought fasting was stupid. I thought it was just done by religious zealots as a way to prove that they are better than the rest of us… I’m not a huge fan of religious practices just because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do, but there’s no “heart” behind the actions. It seems fake and hypocritical to me to engage in such things… this is what drove me away from the church for nearly a decade. It seemed pointless to go because I didn’t really feel any different whether I got up early on a Sunday to attend, or if I slept in… the extra rest always felt more satisfying. Plus, the churches I always attended never did such practices such as fasting. I grew up in a Lutheran church, and every year we celebrated Lent, by first going to Ash Wednesday and getting an ashen cross drawn on our head, and then ending the Lenten sermons/preaching on Easter Sunday. What’s crazy is I had no idea you were supposed to “give up” anything during Lent until I was an adult. I had no idea that there was any sacrifice at all… we always just went through the motions and attended all of the church services like we were supposed to – all religious acts, but zero heart behind them. So, when my current church started talking of a church-wide fast last year I thought it was stupid, and a little nutzo, to be honest. I thought it was just for the pastors to participate in, because they were “better” Christians than the rest of us… but, I kept hearing God speak to me, telling me I should fast as well… so, I obeyed. I figured what the heck did I have to lose? (besides a few extra pounds I was carrying 😉 lol) I did a partial Daniel Fast – I consumed 2 protein shakes/day, and 2 plates of vegetables/day for 14 days. (significantly less food than the 7+ meals/snacks I normally consumed every 2-3 hours) I also fasted from all social media. What I experienced was nothing short of amazing… I really did draw closer to God during that time. When I quit satisfying my physical needs and quit distracting myself with things like social media, I suddenly found not only more time to connect with God, but also “feeding” my soul with His word instead of Calories. Over the past few months I have been drifting farther and farther away from God, and I know it. Satan has had me in his grips, and I honestly quit resisting. I let him bring me to a place of shame and disconnect from God, and I’ve just sat here, without any attempt of leaving this place. Even though I am hurting myself, I haven’t wanted anything better for myself. I have given up, and I know it… which makes me angry with myself because I am not a quitter! I am a fighter! But, for some reason I have quit fighting for myself lately, and I don’t really even know why… So, I’m hoping this fast will draw me near to God again, and break me from these chains that are holding me back from my destiny. I’m hoping I will begin to want these blessings for myself. I’m hoping I will finally muster up the courage to finally surrender my life completely – in every aspect – letting go of my pride of who I think I am, and finally lose my WHOLE identity in Christ. I hope I leave this fast with this courage to let God work in me, so I can leave it unrecognizable in the eyes of myself and others.
For the next 21 days I am fasting from:
Food – I am doing a Daniel Fast again, but this time I am keeping it to one plate of vegetables at dinner, with a cup of bone broth. (I may add a second cup of bone broth in the morning, if necessary. I don’t want to make myself sick again, so I will listen to my body if I truly do need this extra, and I won’t feel guilty or ashamed for not adhering to just one cup.)
Facebook & Instagram – these are complete time wasters, and I know it. They are a way for me to “check out” and not be present in what’s going on around me. They are a way to fill a void inside of me… the only thing that is truly fulfilling in that void is God, and I know it. So, every time I mindlessly go to scroll through my feed, I will instead open my Bible app, pray, or just “be” with God in some way.
Snapchat – this app really is the devil working on me. lol… seeking attention and validation from others. This is a terrible practice, and not fulfilling in any way, shape, or form… and it leads me to self-defeating actions and thoughts. It needs to stop. Immediately.
“J” – this a relationship that has drawn me away from God. I’m not saying in anyway that the person in this relationship is bad, or the devil, or not a good person. No, this person is actually a very good person to be honest, but Satan is using him as a way to lure me away from a close relationship with God. Satan does not reveal himself in the scary things in this world, no, instead he disguises himself in the things that bring us temporary comfort. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. -2 Corinthians 11:14 NIV This relationship has been one of my closest for the last year and a half, and has brought me much happiness and comfort at times, but it is not building my spiritual faith. He comes to church with me from time to time, but it has taken a turn in recent months, and I am ashamed of my actions… which has kept me hiding from God, and instead seeking love and validation from this man… my worthiness and identity are in Christ, and I’m hoping this 21 day fast will be enough to “detox” me from this situation, and draw me back closer to the most important love and relationship I can have – with Christ. I do hope I can maintain a friendship with this person, as like I said, he is a good person, and has been a very important person in my life… my hope is that I will help inspire him to draw closer to God, instead of this poison drawing me away from God. I hope God chooses to use me for that purpose, but if He doesn’t, and He wants me to walk away from this situation completely, then I hope I choose to obey. I hope God restores in me the strength I once had to abstain from these self-defeating actions, as I have grown wearing of fighting them myself… but, I know God has the strength to fight these battles for me… if I let him.
Swearing – this is a terrible habit for a Christian, and I know it. I blame it on working in EMS for nearly 19 years. Every-other word in that environment is the F word, I swear. It is just part of the culture. Prior to being in EMS I rarely cursed, but after a short time of being surrounded by it constantly, it just naturally became a part of my vocabulary. I’ve tried to quit, and I do swear a little less now, but it’s really hard to stop… it’s like trying to get rid of an accent. So, I’m spending the next 21 days really focusing on my vocabulary, and I am going to try and “rewire” my brain to use different words. This one will be very difficult to do, as it really is a reflex at this point, but I know it’s necessary for me to change in order to receive some of the blessings God has for me, and for me to fulfilling His calling on my life… this is where I hope I finally become willing to “lose myself” in him… instead of holding on to this image I have created of myself over the years. I hope to truly want to be an image of God working in me… I hope by the end of the 21 days this proves to be true: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:14 NIV Because as it stands now, I do not view myself in that way.
God, please work in me.