That’s a bold statement so I know you’re wondering what on earth is she talking about? Well, one of my mentees asked if I had any recommendations for resolutions now that it’s the new year, (happy new year by the way), and I told her I didn’t. I don’t really make resolutions. However, I did share one of the best things I’ve ever done (third, of course to inviting Jesus into my heart and making Him Lord of my life…yes, those are two different things). I wondered if it might be helpful to you so here I am…
Serious question: Have you ever thought about fasting? I know some of you may have lost all interest, but before you roll your eyes and click over, let me tell you about my experience last year as we talk about what fasting is.
Fasting is a discipline.
I started fasting when I was 22 years old, and I really didn’t know how to do it. I knew that a fast is the choice you make to abstain from food for a spiritual purpose, but that was about it. I did it all wrong that first time. I prayed with my church because the church had asked everyone to commit to it, and I was blessed because God has a soft place in His heart for obedience.
However, I didn’t change anything within my day to day interactions, and I was hangry all the time. Discipline is good for you. We admire people who are disciplined in the gym and disciplined in developing their skills. It’s time to have the same admiration for disciplining ourselves in the things of God. Now, years later, I fast multiple times a week because the discipline has been soooo good for my soul. I’m telling you if I feel procrastination attempting to sabotage my growth, a fast fixes it real quick. Matthew 6:16-18 tells us about fasting, and, not once does Jesus indicate that fasting is a choice. It’s a discipline: a good one.
Fasting is inspired by God.
Because the discipline has blessed me so much by helping me apply the same principles to my financial management, lifestyle choices, and health (in every way), I still commit to a few larger fasts every year and smaller fasts throughout the year as the Lord leads. Those desires in our flesh that are inspired by temptation sound so loud sometimes. We have to quiet everything down to hear God’s word and will for our lives. And that right there can be a sign that God is leading you to fast. Are you having trouble feeling motivated enough to read God’s word? Have you grown disinterested in listening to others talk about God? It’s time to fast.
But for those of us that have a hunger for more and more of God, I want to share a good reminder someone shared with me. Fasting is not a competition. It’s not a competition to see how much more He’ll do in your life than your friend’s life. It’s not a competition to see how much deeper you can be than last year. It’s not a competition with anyone: including yourself. It must be led by God in order to be successful so seek His face to inquire what He would have you give up, for how long, and what prayer should motivate it. Luke 4:1 tells us that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to fast. It’s the same Holy Spirit that leads our choices to fast today. Let’s lean into His leading.
Fasting Without Prayer is Just a Diet
Fasting does require a lifestyle choice. As Wendy Speake, author of The Sugar Fast, recently said in an interview, “Hunger pangs are like church bells calling you to prayer,” when you fast. Fasting shows God that you want Him more than you want to satisfy your desires. It requires you to stop watching your favorite TV shows, listening to anything that does not encourage you to grow closer to Him, and limit your conversations considerably. Why? So that you can quiet everything to hear from Him more adequately. Ezra 8:23 shows us what moves God’s heart: fasting and prayer. Let’s choose intentionality with our time.
So…now…why was this the best thing I’ve ever done?
Last year (2020), I saw The Colorfully Candid Paradigm grow in ways I never expected it too. We published a book with twenty-two authors (and I’d only asked God for five). We received a grant that we didn’t even apply for, and we continued to mentor the young ladies entrusted to our care-despite the…flexibility we all had to develop. I hosted a local event days before quarantine shut our country down, and then I hosted an international conference in the middle of a pandemic. My marriage became more delightful, and I began to shed a few weights that had attempted to slow me down and hold me hostage for more years than I might even know myself. I don’t have anyone to thank but God and how He led me to fast throughout the entire year.
See, when he led me to give up meat for the year, my lifestyle had to compliment it. I didn’t have anything else but to study my word, pray about everything, and listen to His heart. He was the one who inspired and brought every single one of those blessings to pass, and I am grateful.
Before we leave, I have to tell you that the best thing I ever developed last year and the thing I’m most excited about this year is intimacy with God. I felt closer to Him than I ever have in my life. He settled all of my anxiety and helped me to get back to the path of becoming the person He designed me to be. I want the same for you. Comment below if you’ve made up your mind to fast or if you’ve seen incredible results from personal fasts you’ve committed to as well.