Fasting, Worship, and a Winner

Tuesday, January 15, 2019  ::  

Last week, I wrote about books I enjoyed last year and hosted a little book giveaway. I'm happy to announce Tia Edwards won the giveaway! I'll get your books to you soon, Tia.

And, because I want to and I can, I drew one more name for Storm-Tossed Family. Erin Anderelli, it will be coming your way!
Since I have you here already, I want to share some thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain lately.

This past Sunday, Chad spoke about fasting. If you haven't heard the message, please do so. A friend of mine told me they thought it was very helpful and dynamic. This link will provide years' worth of fasting messages if you want to learn even more.

Second Mile has engaged in a week of prayer and fasting since it's conception. Our first one was in January of 2005. If you've participated for years or this is your first one, I hope you will ask God how he wants to to engage in the coming week.
All of our beautiful booklets
I'm a practical girl, so I want to share some things I've learned over the years with you. I hope you enjoy my bullet points.

  • There are no rules when you fast. Chad will say this again this coming Sunday, but it can't be emphasized enough. There. Are. No. Rules. This causes a struggle for those of us who like rules to define our boundaries. In fasting, if you bind yourself up in any self-conceived rules, you may miss a lesson Jesus has for you, not to mention you'll be miserable trying to figure out/keep the rules. On Sunday, I told a college student I had never done a water only fast. He seemed genuinely surprised. The main reason I haven't engaged in that way is because I know my tendency towards legalism. So, liquid fasts, including juice, have been my process. We shall see how the Holy Spirit leads me this year. 
  • If you drink coffee every day, start weaning now. Seriously. Constipation, headache, and even muscle aches genuinely suck when you are also hungry. Just consider it your pre-fast. 
  • If you are thinking you can't fast because you have young kids, you're wrong. You can. It's just difficult. I do feel your pain and can empathize. My kids were little, needy, and always hungry, too. (They are still always hungry.) This specific aspect of discipline will give you an opportunity to be reminded that we are in the world, but not of the world. You will have your hands all up in your kids' peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, they may even shove it in your face to offer a bite... just like the world. But, the Holy Spirit enables us to say no to the temptations of the world, and he will give you the ability to say no thank you to the peanut butter. And if you forget and accidentally take a bite (speaking from experience), remember there are no rules, so just laugh at yourself, thank God for his good grace and mercy, and keep going. 
  • Don't go to Costco during sample time. Seriously. It's the worst. 
  • You're going to have to pee. A lot. But you must keep drinking water so your body can regulate and flush out all the gunky stuff that's stuck to your insides.  
  • You're going to be cold. I read about the cause once. The answer satisfied me, but I can't remember it. So if you want to know why, just google it. 
  • My favorite: this week of not eating makes me feel really weird when I'm walking around Tucson. I sometimes imagine how the people I see at the store or at school drop-off would react if I told them I hadn't eat in ____ number of days. They would certainly freak. You may even have family members tell you how unhealthy or unsafe this process is. It could feel isolating, but remember, we are part of the body of Christ. One thing that gives me great comfort throughout the week of fasting is knowing that I am not alone. My Second Mile brothers and sisters in Christ are engaging, too. Even the few times I was unable to fast for whatever reason, I disciplined myself to remember that I am part of the whole, that we all carry one another. I will think about the togetherness every day which leads me to think about it more consistently throughout the year. And, if I know anything about women, I know almost all of us struggle with loneliness from time to time. This week is an excellent reminder that we are not alone. We have the good gift of the Holy Spirit living inside us AND we have the body of Christ, the global Church, and our own local churches. For me, it is my beloved Second Mile family. 
I could say much more, but I should stop for now. 

Every year I'm nervous/excited about the Week of Prayer and Fasting. I'm genuinely excited to walk in obedience by fasting, but I'm nervous because I really like to eat. I wrote this post way back in 2011. It's an old one, but it may still be useful to some of you. 

This is a packed post, but I want to offer a few more thoughts on worship as you consider how you will fast and pray next week. 

A few Sundays ago, I was struggling. I felt hard-pressed on every side, so I chose to stand and sing as loud as I could. I needed to acknowledge that God is bigger than my problems and even bigger than the problems of the world. I wanted to focus on his righteousness, holiness, and love. Through the simple act of standing, singing loudly, and opening my hands to God symbolizing releasing my grip, I felt stronger in him. My problems, and certainly, the world's problems didn't go away, but God was glorified above it all. And, bonus, I let the enemy know to Whom I belong and where my affection lies. 

Let me encourage you, next time you are in your car listening to your favorite worship songs or next time you are at a gathering of people where you get to worship Jesus through music, sing with gusto. It doesn't have to be loud, but your heart needs to mean what you sing. If you can, raise your hands as an act of surrender. As you grow in not caring what anyone thinks (including yourself), allow your heart, mind, and body to engage in worshipping Jesus. Worship, to me, is also and act of defiance to our enemy and to remind him that he is doomed. When you think of the power of worshipping the Most High God, your whole self will want to engage. 

"Our exuberant worship of God -- our get-up-out-of-the-chair-and-lift-our-hands-and-raise-our-voices-to-heaven worship of God -- is an act of audacious defiance against the spirt of this present age relentlessly, successfully, and daily indoctrinating us in nauseating self-praise." ~Beth Moore 

I'm praying for each of you as you consider how you will participate in the Week of Prayer and Fasting. Send me a message or leave a comment if you have more thoughts and/or questions. I love hearing from you. 

Do you have any questions about fasting? What is your experience with musical worship? How and why do you engage? 

3 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Angela DeSoto said...

I just love your heart. You tired of me telling you that yet? In the midst of my heavy hearted afternoon your words bolstered my spirit. I'm looking forward to the closeness of God through next week's fast. It will be challenging for sure, but there's nothing on earth like it, so I'm ready to jump in! Let's do this already!!

Erin Anderelli said...

Hey! Woohoo! Thanks for the book, I'm really looking forward to reading this. I resonate with your comments about remembering that we are part of the whole. I have participated in the week of prayer and fasting in various ways over the years and the years I wasn't able to fast, I was nervous about missing out on the connection to the whole. Like you said, through discipline and asking Jesus to meet me there, I was still able to engage and deepen my connection to God and community. I'm not able to fast again this year but I'm holding on to hope that God will meet me here. I'm praying for you, friend, along with all my fellow Second Milers.

Laura K. Moore said...

thank you for sharing your heart angel! :) i am eager for this week and most appreciate the sense of connectedness as a body as we forge into "war" together. i'm desperate for that.

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