Ok, I promised a report on my Seven fast, so here goes! First let me say that this endeavor was well worth it....I'm kind of sad it's over. So, basically, I chose to spend 21 days making space in my life to hunger for God. At the beginning of this journey, I was feeling totally unfulfilled and frustrated in my spiritual life. The enemy had me in a state of focus on my huge lack. The first week was super rough. Sometimes in our lives, things get worse before they get better. That's what happened with this fast. I'm going to give you some glimpses into my journalings through Seven, and maybe share a little more about what came out of it.
Day 3.....My fears and questionings and frustrations have only gotten worse since I began this feeble attempt to create God-hunger. Today was better. I'm clinging to God as the Unchanging One. He is faithful and remains the same regardless of my changing emotions, beliefs, and unfaithfulness. I am already beginning to feel the void without my usual entertainment and chocolate stimulation....especially with the weekend approaching! These things are more of an addiction than I'd like to think. It's scary how much I crave the least important stuff, the self-indulgent stuff. Oh, that I would crave God this way!
Day 4....Today Melody (my sister) and I talked....huge encouragement! God impressed me yesterday morning with the words of a song...."Sun and rain, joy and pain, you're the same, You never let go." I meditated on His unchanging nature. The same God who parted the sea, conquered armies, calmed the storm and raised the dead....is alive in me now! He is holding me; He won't let go.
Day 6....My prayer today from the message in church. Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you do not know."
Day 8....I've been slowly working through the Gospels chronologically. I just read the parable of the sower three or four times! I usually identify most with the thorny soil. Since I'm fasting from media entertainment, it is clearer to me that all this tantalizing, flashing stuff constantly calling for our attention in this American luxury has become a huge weed problem. It so quickly becomes addictive and chokes out our hunger for the Word of God, which is living water to our souls. Our spirits gasp and choke through each day as we continually give more time and attention to things that please and sparkle rather than feeding on the life-giving Word of the Life Giver. I want to make excuses for these things, even to say that I need them sometimes to give me a rest from reality and pressure. But every time I give an inch, the flesh takes a mile. And I'm actually ignoring the Fountain of Life who promises real rest to every soul who comes to Him.
It's amazing how many things throughout the day remind me of a movie, or a quote pops into my head. And how hard it is to know what to do with my free time!
Day 11...It takes awhile, but the light is breaking through. Now that I've time to clear the cobwebs from my empty spaces, I'm getting more hungry and thirsty for God. I know my Father is calling me into the land of promise. Now is the time to go in and take the land! How can I go back to where I've been? There is so much more to God. He is wilder than our wildest dreams. A disciple is disciplined. I can't stop with 21 days....I must have a plan for continued discipline, to keep making space for God hunger.
Day 15...I definitely want to keep the morning prayer pause a daily thing. I'm thinking of disciplining myself to only do extra computer time every other day, and keep the off evenings free for God space. And limiting myself to one movie a week, if even that. I have so many better ways to spend the time. I've been reading more of Radical, which continues to challenge me. I've started asking God to make me a true follower.
Day 18...Father is providing a place to live and a job for the next season. But I don't know what to decide about the ranch now anymore than I did last year at this time. And the message of Radical is messing everything up. I wonder if following Jesus looks like throwing away the few shreds of security I have now and going into full-time missions overseas to take the Gospel to people who have never heard, or to pour my life into serving the poorest people on earth. Could it also look like living simply in America and pouring my life into kids at His Ranch and meeting needs in the surrounding community? Or (insert dream that I'm not writing yet because nothing is moving at this point). Or investing in ladies at Margaret House and reaching out in the community in Medina along with a group of other God-desperate souls? (referring to the halfway house where I'll be staying this winter and a small group of Christian friends) It could probably look like any or all of those things at some point, and even more. How do I know the best way to obey God's call and live in His kingdom? How do I get His heart and perspective into me and turn right-side-up while most of the world is upside-down? How do I fully embrace death as the ultimate gain and reward and extravagantly "waste" my entire life on Christ? How do I live as one who is already dead in this world and whose only aim is the glory of God? So many questions. Seven is giving me a hunger boost, but is it enough? Radical offers a one-year challenge, and I am scared to go for it! But I have to keep climbing.
Day 20...I went to jail ministry this morning. What a God-thing! I thought I was supposed to go next week, and found out that it was today. I was feeling lousy with a cold yesterday, so didn't know if I'd even feel up to going, and I didn't look over my study that I had prepared a week earlier in case I needed something to share. When I told my friend Lori that I sort of had something prepared, she said to go ahead with it. So I shared my study on Caleb. My partners had a lot of great insights to add and we got lots of discussion with the ladies. It was awesome! The best time I ever had at jail ministry!
Day 21...Part of me doesn't want this fast to be over. In a way, it is easier to completely abstain from something for awhile than to discipline yourself while you have freedom. This fast has created a space for God hunger that I want to continue. I will continue to set limits on myself....I think the next step to being a God-chaser is to take the Radical Experiment challenge.
So, there you have it! Once I got past the first week or so, I didn't miss the entertainment, or even the chocolate, nearly as much as I thought I would. Seven provided a badly needed push into stronger desire for God. I know it would be easy to slip back into my old cravings if I go to stuffing myself with the "junk food" again. Thus the plan for continuing discipline. Any results worth their salt take hard training, and sometimes blood, sweat, and tears.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only run receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it." 1 Cor. 9:24
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Heb. 11:6
I want to be a God chaser.