Earlier this year, I felt pressed to do a fast. I shared previously about how completely selfish I was… how completely selfish I am… because, let’s be honest, I’m still working it out all day, err’day.
After me and Jesus settled the issue of when I would fast, we had to tackle the what. I knew He was asking me to give up food. Not just certain foods like I had previously done, but ALL foods. Ugh. I wanted to pretend like I couldn’t hear Him or feel His nudge on this one. I began reasoning with Him… again. As if the second round of reasoning would yield a different result than the first (I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of insanity).
My excuses this time?
I have kids. Have you met them, God? I need all the energy I can get in order to take care of them.
EXCUSE #2 (And one that I use often):
I’m just not sure I’m “called” to give up ALL foods.
Every time I have tried to give up all foods before, I have never been able to follow through. I inevitably break my fast within a matter of minutes to hours. So how in the world do I think I am going to be able to do it this time??
His response? “Why don’t you ask Me to help you?”
What? Ask You for help on something that I’m doing for You?! That just doesn’t seem right. I wouldn’t ask a friend for help on something that I was doing for her.
I’ll be honest. In all of my years of following Jesus, in all of my years of hearing about fasting and participating in fasting, I never once thought to ask the Holy Spirit to help me with it.
Oh friend, how often we do this in our daily lives (or at least I do). We begin doing things for God and forget to ask for His help. I am so often guilty of this. I feel like I should be doing it all by myself since it’s for Him, but that’s not what He’s asked us to do. He wants to help us. He wants to do things withˆus. He wants to do things through us.
He made it very clear in a talk that John recorded. You can find it in John 15:4-5.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
The thing is, I knew this truth. I had even given a talk on it just a few months prior! Most of us who are Jesus followers know this truth, yet we seem to forget it or not give it the seriousness it deserves. Jesus wants us to bear fruit and do great things, but He doesn’t want us to do it apart from Him or without Him. He wants to do it through us.
If we don’t ask Him to help us and stay connected to Him, we can do nothing. That hurts to hear sometimes, because I like control, and I like to work hard and achieve things. I also really do enjoy doing things for others. So when I am doing things for God, I like to achieve it on my own. But that’s not how He’s designed it. And boy, is that freeing.
So whatever you’re doing. Whatever you’re working on. Whatever the daily grind is for you. Whether you’re mom-ing, wife-ing, running a business, working at a business, blogging, writing, designing, creating, serving, leading — don’t do it on your own or in your own strength. The only thing that will yield is exhaustion and frustration, and eventually, you may throw in the towel. Instead, if you’re a Jesus follower, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. There is no situation or struggle or mediocre task that He doesn’t care about, and that He isn’t willing to help us with.
So what are we waiting for?