Fasting. The Lord has been saying that word to me over and over for a couple of months now. I haven’t known exactly what to do with it. Obviously I should fast, but from what? And for why? I struggled for awhile because I was concerned about my motivations behind agreeing to a fast. Is it because I just wanted to feel better? To lose a few pounds? Why was I really choosing to fast? What was I hoping to achieve with this fast? If the answer didn’t have some spiritual element to it, I was concerned I was just choosing to fast for selfish reasons. And yet… “FASTING” still rang loud and clear in my head and heart and I just knew it was the Lord.
Just last week, I had a friend invite me and some other people to do a 40-day fast together… from sugar.
If God had not already been saying “fast” to me, I would have said, “no thank you” to that invitation! Y’all. We just wrapped up the holidays which means I just wrapped up about 5 pounds on my person after all the lazing around, cookies, pies, and sweets. And soda… oh mercy. I need a soda once a day to survive the chaos that is my life.
That last sentence right there is why I knew that I needed THIS fast.
“I need a soda once a day to survive the chaos that is my life.”
I hit my limit and then I run to caffeine and carbonation to sustain me instead of Jesus. That hurts to admit, but it’s just plain true. Stop right here and ask yourself, “Where do you run when you hit your limit near the end of the day?” I’m not talking when your world falls apart, it’s easy to run to Jesus for the really big things, but what about the small things that we try to handle on our own? What do you need to help you handle it? What is your “soda”?
My eyes have been opened by one small sentence uttered in the corner of my mind as I read the introduction to the book guiding our fast. “I need a soda once a day to survive the chaos that is my life.” I can’t even handle a single day of my life without some sort of help. And to be truthful, soda may help for a moment, but it’s hurting me in so many other ways.
Sore and achy muscles.
Anxiety and irritation.
Trying to fill Jesus’ role in my life.
OUCH. That last one is painful, but I was confronted with that truth. I am turning to a sugary can of carbonation that is only hurting me in the long-run instead of the Living Water who only ever brings good into my life.
Why am I not just turning to Jesus? How did I get here?
Thinking about the fast coming up, I started to get very afraid of failure. “There’s no way I’ll be able to abstain from sugar for 40 days, I can hardly make it a day!” “Wow. How weak am I? I am afraid of putting down sugar for a few weeks.” “You’re just a fatty.” “You will fail at this.” “Other people know you’re fasting so they are all going to watch you fail because you cannot do this.”
Notice how the thoughts in my head went from me voicing my fears to the enemy making accusations?
When we allow fear-filled thoughts to swirl around in our minds, we open the door for the enemy to come and torture us. We start thinking his thoughts about us. We start believing lies about us and about God’s heart for us.
What happens when we take those fear-filled thoughts and questions and present them to the Lord instead of ruminating on them ourselves? He gives us hope for uncertainty.
I wrote in my journal all the reasons why I knew I was going to fail at this fast. All the reasons I was afraid to do this fast. I didn’t just confess these things to myself, I was confessing them to God. What happened next began a change in me… I gave him all my fears and uncertainties and in return, he handed me hope. My thoughts changed from questions and doubts to hopes and dreams.
What if this crippling anxiety eases up as I quit turning to sugar and turn to Jesus?
What if my body quits aching as I turn to Jesus over sugar?
What if my kids see a difference in me throughout the day?
What if my husband sees my attitude change?
What if our home is filled with more peace and joy… just because I let go of sugar and grabbed hold of Jesus?
What if I gain infinitely more than I lose in the next 40 days?
What if people see more of Jesus in me after this?
What if I hear His voice more clearly?
What if I crave his presence and am filled to overflowing?
What if I’m a new person on the other side of this?
Maybe you aren’t planning a fast. Maybe you’re thinking about one now! Go through this exercise written below and then allow the Lord to bring to your attention whatever your next step should be. Just take some time today to ask yourself, “What am I turning to instead of Jesus just to make it through the day?” If you’re like me, after answering that question and then thinking about giving it up… your mind may start swirling with fear. Maybe you don’t need to even answer that question for fear to start swirling. You may be walking through deep waters right now and are already filled with fear and uncertainty.
Whatever you’re going through, don’t allow the enemy to terrorize your thought-life by dwelling on uncertainty and fear. You don’t have to pretend those thoughts don’t exist. Burying our thoughts and emotions that are negative or uncomfortable doesn’t actually get rid of them. They’ll crop up in other ways. We can’t escape those things this side of heaven. You can’t just wish them away… you have to take them to the throne room. Those fears, questions, pains, sorrows… those all belong at the feet of Jesus, not stuffed in a forgotten corner of your mind or dark crevice of your heart. Share them with the Lord and allow him to give you hope in place of your uncertainty. Trade your sorrows for joy, your uncertainty for peace, and your fear for hope.
Here’s the take-away:
WRITTEN BY: Lyndsay Terry
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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