So, I'm sitting on the couch chowing down on some chips and dip and drinking a good old fashioned, wonderful diet coke. On the table beside me is the package of m&ms I am about to dig into when I finish my chips. (Does the phrase "couch potato" come to mind?)
Rusty walks through the living room as non-chalantly as he possibly can, and with an excitement in his voice announces to me that we (WE??!~!!???!!) are going on a 21 day Daniel Fast for the church and our community.!
Since I am so spiritual, sitting there gorging on my chips, dip, and soon to be devoured m&ms, I reply, (a little too quickly I might add)- "Well, God hasn't told me that!"
It was one of those moments that if it were a cartoon, you would see my animated self, reaching in the air to grab those words and stick them back in my mouth. Ooops! Did I say that? Yep, I sure did. My true "spiritual" colors were shining brightly that day!
That was over a week ago. I have since repented, asked my sweet husband's forgiveness, and started dealing with the fact I will have to REALLY, REALLY, die to self during this time. Just to let you know how I am dealing with it, here are some insights into my thoughts the last 2 weeks:
- I'm walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, and more than ever I am barraged with thoughts like-
- "There's some chocolate - grab it! You won't be able to eat it for 21 days!!!!"
- "Diet Coke! Buy all the diet coke! You won't be able to drink it!"
- "You need some chips, popcorn, and MORE chocolate!"
- I have these sudden urges to go through McDonald's drive-thru for stuff I am not even remotely hungry for.
- I am praying, and I find myself trying to reason with God that He knows I can make it without that stuff, so why bother to fast.
I know, I know. You are WAY more spiritual than that. But this is the real deal and the real me, and I am scared to death! I am embarrassed to admit it, but it has been 16 years since I went on an extended fast. But let me share with you the victories from that:
Glenda, my oldest daughter, was about to be a senior in high school. The year was 1992 and she wanted me to go to church camp with her as a counselor. I knew that our time together with her at home was getting short, so I jumped on the invitation.
She and I packed all our stuff and headed to the wonderful Hot Springs A/G campground. I remember the services being very challenging and uplifting. To be honest, I have no idea who the evangelist was- or anything other than on Wednesday evening, I sought God with all of my heart. It was the old tabernacle- the same building where many times before as a teenager I had layed on my face before God, seeking Him, giving Him every part of me. I found the same corner of the tabernacle. I got into a quiet place and began to seek God for more of Him. - More of Him in my life. More of Him in my marriage. More of Him in my parenthood. More of Him in my ministry. I didn't want to be satisfied with the status quo. I wanted to live up to the potential that God had placed in me. I wanted Him to anoint me to overflowing for ministry.
It was there in that corner that I heard His Spirit whisper into my spirit, "Go on a fast. For 40 days I want you to go without Dr. Pepper and All My Children." Now please understand, in my sweet little 'innocent' world, these were my "addictions". Dr. Pepper was what I lived on. I didn't eat a whole lot, but I sure guzzled the DP down. And All My Children.... ( I am so emabarrassed to admit this.) Well, that was my lunch hour no brain activity. I would come in, fix my lunch and sit dumbly in front of the tv until time to go back to work.
Going back to my corner- I heard God whisper in my ear those words. There was no misunderstanding, no question. I knew what He had said and what He requested. It felt as if the air was completely sucked out of the room. "My favorite things!" But I was so desperate for more of God, I immediately responded with, "Yes! I will!" That was the easy part. I finished my praying, asking God for strength and going back to my duties as a counselor.
Then the hard part came- the snack stand! Tradition has is that after service you go hang out at the concession stand. Eat junk food. Drink sodas. And fellowship. Whooaa! I had never had nachos with ..... with..... w...w...wa..... wa...wa.....wwwat...terr.... water! Ugh!!!! But, I wanted to be obedient and to put Christ above those things in my life.
So, for 40 days, my life changed. During my lunch hour, I went to my bedroom, closed the door and knelt before my Savior. (Please, please know- I am not sharing this for any other reason but to Glorify Christ. I am being brutally honest and transparent.- Giving you plenty of ammo with which to judge my definite lack of spirituality.) I drank water, lemonade, and some tea. Daily, God began to show me things in my life that did not please Him. Things that I had NO Clue about before. It was as if God had this giant magnifying glass up to the motives and the thoughts of my heart! I didn't like what I saw!
It was not an easy 40 days. During those 40 days we had a vacation to Florida! Oh, how I loved me some Dr. Pepper while laying out on the beach. But, I crucified the flesh - only through the help and encouragement of the Holy Spirit- and drank water and lemonade.
Long story short, I learned a lot about my carnal self that I never would have known, had it not been for dieing to self and living through the Spirit.
Now for the big victory: Are you ready? For 9 years before that Rusty and I had been seeking God for children. I had been told, "You will more than likely NEVER have children. You have too many strikes against your reproductive system." Around somewhere of 3 days left of my 40, I found out that I was pregnant! You talk about shouting "Victory!"- oh my goodness!! I couldn't sleep for 2 days!
I believe with all my heart, God had a bigger purpose than I could ever have imagined. I learned somewhere in my 3rd month of pregnancy that in some cases (weird cases of people with infertility issues) that caffeine can cause infertility..... Hmmmmnnnmmmmm......
Ya see what I mean? Isn't God just awesome!
So, in my spirit man, I am excited to see what God has in store for us as a church during this fast.... (nope - I'm not talking about more children - physical that is!!! I am believing God for many spiritual children brought into the Kingdom of God.) In my natural self, I am bemoaning eating only natural fruit and vegetables without diet cokes and m&ms or ANY chocolate. But as one of my favorite tv evangelists says.... "Get ready! Get ready! Get ready! Get Ready!!!!!!!!!!"
For more teaching on Biblical fasting, please go to my husband's blog- www.pastorrustysblog.blogspot.com
Love you all!