At the very end of 2012, I committed to following God’s prompting and begin to share more authentically here. And it’s turned out to be easier said than done, honestly, and I am not even quite sure why. But I know part of it is my own fear.
And what better way to fight a fear – and trust the Lord – than to just obey. So here we go.
I hope to share regularly, as I feel led, about what God is doing in my life, and I hope you’ll share with me as well what God is doing in yours. God is worthy to be made much of, and so He will be made much of here.
I recently completed another fast. Y’all might remember me bemoaning the Daniel Fast last year as I, for the first time, gave up sugar, soda, caffeine and pretty much everything short of tree bark.
Hummus, natural peanut butter and quinoa became my BFFs. Okay, not the quinoa.
But the truth is, with God’s help – and because of His gentle prompting – I was able to give up some things I never thought I could. Because self-discipline is not my strong suit. And saying “no” to myself does not come easily. I like doing what I want to do when I want to do it.
I like it. I like it a lot.
I’ve always known this about myself. It’s the reason I procrastinate. It’s the reason I have 215 partially-read-books speckling my house. It’s the reason I once asked my husband to go on Weight Watchers with me before a big event… one of those I-can’t-believe-I-have-to-go-to-this-fancy-affair-can’t-I-just-stay-home? kind of a deal. He lost 15 pounds and I gained 5.
Thankfully, my dress was part spandex.
But I’ve always been convinced that I simply lacked the self-discipline to do anything differently. I mean, I’d managed some short spurts of eating healthier, or being more disciplined, or not procrastinating. But it always felt like white knuckling. And, not surprisingly, I soon gave up. One can only white knuckle it so long.
And then came last year. Our church began the Daniel Fast in January. And we (Asher, my husband, and myself) decided to jump in. I gave up my beloved Diet Coke, Starbucks Caffè Verona and Little Debbie Everything. But this time, the goal wasn’t to eat healthier or to be more organized. The goal was to walk out day-to-day obedience in something the Lord had put on my heart.
Out of this fast came a real fascination with this man, Daniel. And his relationship with God. And the more I studied him, the more inspired and encouraged I became. I was especially in awe of his wisdom. His unshakable devotion. His unflinching response to all that Nebuchadnezzar and his contemporaries tried to throw his way. And in everything, God revealed Himself to Daniel, protected Daniel and loved Daniel.
And so, I began to pray for wisdom.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. — James 1:5-7
And God answered my prayer. Not in the way I had been anticipating – not quite sure what I was anticipating – but what God revealed to me was more of Him. His Goodness. His Holiness. His Perfection. In contrast, it also revealed more of me than I’d ever known. Or ever really wanted to know. My self-righteousness. My pride. My selfishness.
And, it grieved me terribly. But God didn’t leave me there. All along I have had such a sense of His presence, as if He is tenderly carrying me, wiping away my tears. And, as I sought forgiveness and fully accepted the weight of my sinfulness in light of His perfection, as well as my complete and accomplished forgiveness in Christ, I am quite certain that He smiled.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. – James 4:10
And so, I fasted again this year. I almost-kinda-sorta jumped at the chance. Because looking back I can see that God began a work in me that began during that first fast — and He still continues. As I obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, God draws me closer to Himself and I am learning to cling to Him and let go of the things of this world, little by little.
Focusing on Him means focusing less on me. So the five extra pounds isn’t my focus any more… the goal is to honor God in how I care for my body. The procrastination isn’t my focus any more… the goal is to honor God with my time. Everything changes when, in your pursuit of Him, He gives you insight into Himself. Because the more you see of Him, the more you desire to see. And to obey. And to rest in His love.
And that is something I don’t ever want to miss again.