I love food. If it was a love language, it would be in my top two for sure. I’m a pretty stingy person. I hate spending money on actual things, but I have no problem with spending “dolla dolla bills ya’ll” on food. Any kind, I’m not biased — fast food, Starbucks, pizza, chicken, ice cream… All good. All welcome here.
So when I participate in things such as fasting, I don’t often sacrifice my food. I’ll typically give up things like certain types of food or TV or social media. But never all food.
At the beginning of this year, I felt like God was asking me to do a personal fast. I know fasting is something that is absolutely necessary (especially when leading a ministry or starting down a new road He has called you to) and is completely under-practiced by many of us… namely me. I thought about it for a while. I knew I needed to do it, but I just kept putting it off. Then finally, I decided to dialog with God about it and really try to do this thing.
“But You see,” I told Him, “Emerson (that’s my eldest baby girl), her birthday is tomorrow, so that’s not really a good time for me.” I really wanted to be able to fully participate in all of the festivities surrounding our daughter’s birthday. It seemed selfish to me, for some reason, to choose to do a fast and not celebrate completely with her.
We do this so often, don’t we? No? Just me? Okay, cool.
No time ever seems to be a good time to do what it is God is asking me to do. I am a master at finding reasons why I can’t or why I shouldn’t.
Want to know what God showed me in response to my excuse?
1. Fasting is not about convenience.
And, sidenote, when did it become that? When did I begin only fasting when I had nothing going on, no sacrifice to make, or when I wanted to drop some pounds to fit into my beach attire?
2. Everything is not about me.
My fasting will not upset my daughter’s birthday. We can still do all the things we had planned to do for her that day. And she will still have an absolute blast. Why? Because her birthday is not about me. It’s about her. But here I was, making it about me.
Ouch. Those truths felt like a slap in the face to me, but in the best way possible.
See, I’ve been asking Jesus to make me more like Him, to help me love others the way He does. And you know what, He was answering my prayer. He will help us be more like Him if we ask, but the process can often hurt.
| The selfishness of me was hindering the Jesus in me, and it had to go. |
But it won’t leave unless I am, first, aware that it’s there, and He knew that.
Goodness does it hurt when we try so hard to be Jesus followers and love the people in our paths and, then, become aware that we still have so much selfishness residing within us. I am a firm believer that selfishness is the number one destroyer of everything good — relationships, ministries, everything.
So how do we get rid of it? I’m not sure we ever fully do. The first step is to be aware that it’s there. After this, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help keep us in check, to continue to make us aware of when we are operating in selfishness and to give us wisdom and strength to move past it and rid us of it.
After this painful realization, we decided on when I would fast (pretty much, ASAP), but God and I had to settle the what. Through that process, God revealed even more to me. In the next blog, I’ll share what the Holy Spirit showed me in regards to fasting, dependence, and how it relates to everything we do (and I mean everything, sister).