Things We Lost in The Fast (Part I)
I do not typically dedicate a post but in this case I am doing just that. This post is dedicated to our Pastoral staff at Centerbranch (Luke, Will and Jonathan) and to a young lady we will call “Elizabeth”.
Before continuing, let me explain “Elizabeth”. That is not her name, she is a girl in our youth group. While I do not mind providing first names of adults I come in contact with, the relationship with the youth needs to be protected. Elizabeth is appropriate because it is my Great Grandmother’s name. This young woman, reminds me of my Great Grandmother. (Not something a teenager probably wants to hear.) You have to understand that my Grandmother was a spitfire and a person of deep faith. This young lady is early in her journey but something in her spirit makes me think this is what my Grandmother would have been like at the beginning of her journey. If “Elizabeth” is really like my Grandmother…watch out!!! (If she shows up at youth with a tambourine, I’m going to start asking questions about the family tree.)
Things I Expected to Lose in the Fast
Honestly, my will to follow through was the first thing I expected to go. I would have been very happy making it through one day of the fast. I have tried countless diets. I realize the fast is not a diet and has nothing to do with losing weight, but in the past I equated fasting with will-power, self-discipline. Things I was tragically lacking when it came to food.
I expected to lose my mind. I expected to be fighting to try and get my family to participate in the devotionals, not even trying to get them to partake in the fast – just the family devotion. I wanted to make a point to recommit during these 21 days to a time of family devotion.
I expected to be miserable. Suffering for the sake of Christ. I anticipated a horrible episode with my migraines. I expected to be arguing about meals with my family. I did not speak these things out loud and prayed for them not to take place, but these were real fears and expectations of just 2 planned days of fasting from 6am to 6pm a week.
What Has Been Going On Elsewhere in My World
“Elizabeth” shared that she had experienced doubts. Doubts with God that she was working through. It only took me till I was 40 to do the same. (Childlike faith ringing in any ears yet?) She spoke of being timid. Although being timid has never really been an issue for me, being a people pleaser has been an issue for me. To hear another confess to that same burden, released me from a little bit of shame that I had been carrying around. I doubted myself. I doubted God and therefore; I did not trust in God.
Remember I mentioned I struggled with unworthiness. I also told you I signed up for an online bible study that turned out to be about Shame, which of course is the root of unworthiness. Today, I was running my bible marathon. (I’ll explain in a moment…Sue don’t run.) The statement was made, “What we don’t reveal, cannot heal.” I started thinking back to everything I have revealed in my blogs. Perhaps…no I am certain this has been a healing tool. I have revealed, am revealing and have plenty more to share. In this process, I have healed exponentially. (I have also single handedly kept Puffs in business. Helpful hint, if crying do not use the ones with lotion.)
Let me explain my bible marathon…
I have been out of work since May 11. (But I RETURN TOMORROW – AMEN) I started One-on-One discipleship this week on Tuesday. I work a little in the workbook each day. It is a 10-week commitment. Monday we started the 21 day fast, which has an accompanying devotional guide we are doing as a family. I started an online bible study called “Unashamed” (http://www.faithgateway.com/unashamed-study/). I did not pay close attention to the dates so I am invested in that for 5 weeks. At 6:30 AM we had Youth Bible Study at Panera Bread each week (just cruel during a fast). Tonight I have my connect group at church at 6 PM. I have literally spent more time reading my bible, about God, about faith, or in a faith based activity today than I have sleeping in the last 3 days. Hence – bible marathon. (Told ya, when I commit, I cannot be deterred.)
What Have I REALLY Lost in the Fast
All my expectations…gone. Done. God pretty much made sure that was blasted right out of the water, day one – like before lunch time. Let’s just go over the list and remember, it’s only Thursday – day 4, we have 17 days to go.
- Day 1 – Received a call from my boss (I’m out on work comp, remember) that I will have a 3.5% raise when I return to duty. We began tithing regularly when we joined the church in May. The raise annual amount is almost the equivalent of the amount of tithe we have given thus far.
- Day 1 – Signed up for an Online Bible Study (honestly did not remember signing up for it) but it started on 8/15 and it turns out to be about “Shame” the root of unworthiness, one of my challenge areas.
- Day 1 – Ideas started pouring out for my blog, for my novel, for future projects. So many in fact I am forgetting some things before I can get them written down.
- Day 1-4 I have had more people read my blog than ever. My mother is now a regular reader of my blog. (And she was smiling when she was talking about it – I could hear it). This in turn boosted my confidence and made me more aware of my content and proofreading.
- Day 2 and 3 – It was revealed to me that I have definitely made a connection that will become a very dear friend. Even if she made my hunger pains worse, at least she made me smile through them.
- My family has joined in devotion together every day so far, even with Joe getting home so late from work.
- I was released from my doctor today and am returning to work tomorrow.
- My husband is fasting with me 6am to 6pm, and we are doing it every day.
- My son announced he is going to fast on Saturday and Sunday.
- I have prepared dinner 3 days this week so we could eat between 6-7, and have not eaten anything while prepping. (You may not think that is big, that is huge.)
Based on the list I think we can agree, I have gained a great deal in the fast. I feel my faith growing. Do not mistake me. I have had some uncomfortable moments where temptation was strong, but I prayed and I did not give in. We had our “hangry” moment Monday, but we did our devotional and things were set right.
It is not about will-power. So much is being revealed to me about my walk with God, about my family, and about me. I am having ideas for ministry. Not little ideas…big ideas, like I had 23 years ago when I was thinking about bible college and wrote an outreach play. I do not know where the road is going, but I know who is walking beside me and that is what matters.
I am going to leave you with a verse that our youth pastor’s wife speaks frequently. It is fast becoming a favorite of my mine.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life; and have it to the full.” John 10:10