“When your words came, I ate them…”
Not too long ago I finished a fast with some of the women in this group, from our month of prayer. To say I was successful would be a lie. I started strong, but I didn’t finish well. In fact, that is a theme we see many times in the Bible – men and women who started well but didn’t finish well. I was upset with myself, unsatisfied really, and I wasn’t willing to do much about it; but God.
God was not satisfied either. He couldn’t let me stay where I was with my heart in the position it was. Starting February 1st up to February 6th, it rained, it poured, life brought me to my knees. There was a mudslide of events and spiritual warfare that pushed my entire body to the ground and shoved my face in the suffocating sands of life.
When I got to the place, where I couldn’t catch my breath, from crying out in distress, my God, my daddy, my Savior reached in; to pull me from the quicksand I allowed myself to slip into. When I had nothing more to give, nothing more to say, nothing more to offer, he said, “look up and get up”. I had gotten myself to a place where my schedule, other’s needs, and wants, along with the sufferings of life buried me in commitments I had no strength in myself to keep.
I was being ruled by my schedule – and not God’s word.
I would not relent though, I felt like I could carry the world on my shoulders, solve the problems, do the things that needed to be done, fix the things that needed fixing, raise my young family, minister the word of God through multiple ministries, be the classroom mom, be the head of the HOA board, be the Girl Scout Troop mom; quite frankly, I had made myself god – everyone’s answer to prayer. Truth be told, God didn’t ask me to be their savior, He didn’t ask me to step in or step up in many of these situations. I did it because it is both my gift and my curse. Serving – my heart desires to serve. The problem is, I’m not seeking God’s will first.
That day, when God picked me up off my floor and brought from defeat to glory, He revealed where I went wrong. I was not making prayer my first response, I was making it my last resort. I was not depending on Him, I did not make Him my strength. I was trying to do it all, on my own. Even though I was fasting and praying, I wasn’t fasting from what was separating me from God – my schedule.
Yesterday, God offered me a do-over. Thank you, Lord, that you are a “do-over God”. He asked me to release my schedule into His hands, He asked me to surrender every commitment I made. He asked me to remove all that was keeping me from Him. So, I said no to an HOA meeting. I told my sisters I would not be on our daily calls until Sunday (which usually last an hour or two combined). I told my women’s leader that I would not be attending our study; I told my friends I would not be joining them for the dinner we planned, and I told my mother-in-law “no” to her offer to come and bake. God asked me to say no to each commitment I had made for the next 5 days.
On our Bibles and Basketball fast, I failed time and time again – but, I didn’t give up, I started over each day I failed. What I realized was that God wasn’t asking me for perfection, He was asking me for my treasure – my schedule.
“For where our treasure is, our heart is also”, (Matthew 6:21).
I made my to-do list my treasure – something I could tangibly conquer and see results in.
I failed in my last fast in choosing not to prayerfully consider what to relinquish into God’s hands. Instead, I offered Him what I assumed was separating us.
What I didn’t realize was, Facebook wasn’t what was consuming my every thought, emotion or creating my worry; my to-do list was. This time, I am giving up what He asked me to give up, with the expectation that He is going to move mountains in my life.
In fact, He already has. The peace and joy I have experienced in these last 24 hours are unmatched. I have done nothing and everything all at once. And this fast feels so much better, so much more real, and so much more meaningful – because He is leading it and I am following with a willing and obedient heart; not one of obligation.
Though I failed this last fast miserably, there was still fruit. I am feasting on His Word, in His glory and in His presence with a new understanding of what it means to truly fast from that which draws our attention from Jesus Christ himself. I feel Him all around me, he has been whispering my ear relentlessly, His promises, His affirmations, and His will. I am truly feasting in the presence of God.
I now know God’s purpose in this current fast is to hit reset on my life. He is asking me to refocus my attention and energy on Him, restructure my schedule according to His will, and recharge my spirit in His presence.