Here’s something no Christian ever admits about fasting: IT’S HARD AS CRAP! I don’t blame them, though; you probably can’t say “Crap” on a pulpit, but if I ever have a church, I’ll say it. I’ll let the choir sing it!
So, yes, I did my first all-day fast on Wednesday. I’ve done sundown fasts before, where you don’t eat until supper, but those had become stale and, a it was only as hard as soft, airy crap now. So, it was time to go deeper with God with a day-long fast. The first day wasn’t so bad, though it was trying. The second day, however, effectively took my mind off of WHY I should be fasting.
Fortunately, God honored the fast and kept redirecting my thoughts to seeking Him first. Matthew 6:33 says, “but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all [your needs] will be added to you.” That sounded great and I felt it speaking to me very powerfully. I realized I was asking what to do and said, “Yes, I know, seek you, yeah, but…”
There it was, the “Yeah, but…” that cripples so many Christians like me. Is God strong enough? Is He good enough? Yes and yes, so why am I worried about the extra? I felt like maybe I should indeed do that second day’s fast as a way to seek God. Unfortunately, that didn’t work so well.
Thursday was the day when the “Hard-as-Crap” meter jumped up to “I-swallowed-a-rock-and-here-it-comes.” I was frustrated, sick, and dreading everything. But I wanted God’s blessing and anointing, so I powered through. Fortunately, my wife has an outsider’s perspective on me and she helped me to realize that I was fasting to get God’s blessing, not seek God himself. There’s a difference in seeking God’s face and seeking His hand.
So I decided to drop the fast halfway through the day because it was empty and I’ve resolved to do nothing empty in the name of Christ. I need to focus more on Him, so I decided on a couple things…
My morning prayer needs to change. I need to seek God himself, not just bring my list of needs. The list can wait until my wife and I pray in the evening. I need to give God my heart and everything on it, and truly seek Him, not just his benefits.
My reading habits need to change. I’m an avid reader, but I tend to forget what I’ve learned shortly after reading it. Kind of like the seed that fell on stony ground in Matthew 13:20-21. No root or depth. The biggest offender is my Bible reading. I read, put it down, say Thanks to God, and five minutes later forget what I read. I need to stop, ask, “What did I just read,” and if I don’t know it, read again.
Finally, I’m going on hiatus for a week.
I’d been thinking about this earlier, but my “adventure” with fasting clarified it. I am an easily-distracted dude. Blame the internet or what have you, but I have a hard time focusing on what I’m supposed to be doing. So, I’ve decided to do a sort of “entertainment” fast for one week. Some theologians say it’s not fasting if it’s not food, but do we REALLY want to argue semantics?
Fasts like this must be customized to whatever is holding you back, so mine is a little awkward and I’m not recommending it to anybody else.
The first thing I’m dropping is TV of any sort. I don’t have actual television, but no movies and no video games from Sunday morning until the following Sunday after church. These aren’t the biggest distractions, but I’ll explain in a second. The biggest part of this fast is no internet. NONE whatsoever. This here is my biggest distraction of all time, and while the internet is helpful and can be used for good, I’ve been abusing it as a tool to entertain me and feed my ADD, rather than controlling it.
I’m doing this to focus on three things this week:
1. God. I keep wanting to wrap up my prayer time or do it quickly because I want to do other stuff. Not anymore, just me and God for as long as He needs.
2. My wife. That’s why the movies and games are gone. They’re okay, but we don’t really interact at all, same with the internet.
3. Writing. I’m not boycotting the computer because I need it to write, but the internet browser must be closed at all times. I can still read books because through them I better my time with God or my writing, but that’s it.
It’s hard to go without stuff like this, but God has recently shown me how important it is to be rid of them, to make myself master over them, and God master over all of us. And going without is the best way to do it; you MUST master yourself because you have no choice. I plan on taking those lessons away with me when the fast ends.
Now, this seems odd considering I just put up an ad asking to share your works with me for free editing, critiquing, and reviewing, but rest assured, this is still on. I still have my Kindle and can download any writings to read them offline. As I said, the internet is off-limits, but my computer is not.
So, no updates from me from January 6-January 12, and I also won’t be reading any posts during that time. I’ll be back for my regular post on Tuesday, January 14.
Oh yeah. There will also be a SECOND hiatus the week after that because I’ll be on a mission’s trip. Apparently, January is a routine-shaking month.