Can I have a moment of silence….

Rest, if you will.  I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, I won’t fix what ain’t broke and research is not my love language.  Therefore I will reference, marvel and applaud those before me that have written wise words that spoke into my soul as if Jesus himself spoke them….okay, well some of them He did.

fast verb
gerund or present participle: fasting
“abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance.”(your google dictionary)
So this, this thought of abstaining, refraining from, removing from your world seems so foreign to many but is the basic thread that wove our nation together.  This ‘practice’ has been in place from the beginning of time and has been practiced by the finest, the purest, the elite of humanity.  When I think of fasting I don’t just limit it to my food, I think of it as an opportunity to eliminate, abstain and remove all toxic or even good elements of my life in the name of sacrifice, healing and restoration.  I think of it as stepping out of my comfort zone, out of anonymity and into spirituality.  This is where clarity creeps it’s head in and gives us those ‘aha’ moments of where we should be placing our focus, our energy.  As moms, we give every bit of ourselves to everyone that needs it, 24 hours a day. This is not me being dramatic, walk into my home at 2 am and you will see a sleeping child who has snuck into my bed…since this sleeping child kicks, talks and pokes, I am still at work with body pillows, “shhhh’s” and back rubs.  So if we can give ourselves away for the sake of these tiny humans we are molding and forming into (Lord help us) functioning, stable adults of society, then why can’t we take a few moments, days, seasons of abstinence and rest for ourselves?

“Perhaps this is why Scripture calls us to the practice of fasting-from food, from greed, from selfishness, from luxuries.  It isn’t just the experience; its the discipline.  It changes us.  Fasting helps us develop mastery indulgence, toward emotional volatility.” -Jen Hatmaker, 7

If you are a mom to a child or children, you may have conversations in your head much like this one….”Oh geez, that’s today? Crap!  Child, hurry, get your shoes on! No, I don’t know where they are just grab them!! Older child, help ‘younger child’ get their shoes on! Please…yes, I will give you candy…just help me! (younger child)..candy?! (me) Yes, put your shoes on and I will give you candy!  Hurry guys, mommy is running late!  (Older child) “why are we always running late?”…(me) “because, just hurry…not time for questions” and then there is the seat belt debacle.  I feel like in this season of life, rest is a mere myth that was made up by a previous generation.  If rest is a foreign word, how in the world can a word like abstinence exist?! Well the truth is that it does and it is feathered throughout scripture as a fundamental tool to force us to stop, be still and refocus.

5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5

You see fasting is a moment for prayer, clarity and conscious to seep back in to the world that is full of obligations, deadlines and pick up times.  It is a time for us to remove the noise polluting our heads with what we should be doing and hear the word of God reminding us of how we should be doing it.  Let me ask you, do you have too many obligations on your plate right now?  Is there anything you are just waiting to ‘end’ or be over because it is absorbing too much of your time?  Is there a relationship that is hurting you, depleting you or just not good in your present life?  Is your calendar so full that you can’t plan an impromptu lunch on a whim because you already know every Saturday is accounted for from here to eternity?  Are you struggling mentally?  Are you overwhelmed? Exhausted? Tired?  Sadly, I can answer “yes” to almost every one of these questions.  This doesn’t mean my life isn’t full of beauty and happiness but life will take over every time and throw the evil of “busyness” back in, suffocating us until even the good feels like a burden.

This is a time for us to stop, breath, pray.  Fasting doesn’t have to be a grand act of 40 days or even 40 hours.  Yes, the longer you sit in these moments, I’m sure the wiser you become but baby steps are okay here.  There is no exact formula.  Look at what areas in your life feel like too much and give yourself the excuse of rest, abstinence.  Read the book 7, An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker if you feel like you need some direction…a sort of ‘how to’ if you will.  She lists 7 areas that you can quickly start depleting to let God’s word, voice, make it’s way back in.  In fact, she even has a social experiment going on right now that condenses her 7 month journey into just 7 weeks!!! I for one am on board for this gravy train!  “I’m so sorry I can’t commit to that, I’m on week 7 of eliminating ‘stress'”  Let the excuses commence to give me the oh so deserved break from everything sucking the life out of me.

Lets get back to the roots friends, lets take the focus off of all the pretty and shiny things in this world and put our focus back on Him, His purpose, His plan.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

For me this will look like a pause, a moment for clarity but to prompt that I must eliminate.  Food that isn’t fueling me for the day, friendships that aren’t filling my soul and obligations that are depleting my energy.  This will look like moments of silence to sit quiet with my thoughts (if even for a minute) to just pray.  Pray for His guidance, clarity and direction.  This will look like not spending on a whim but just focusing on the necessities, which I’m sure are much less than I have become accustomed to.  This will look like less time (if any) on social media newsfeeds.  A fast, is just that, a fast.  This can be a small or as large as you make it.  Think of one thing you can abstain from for 1 day.  Social media?  Carbs?  Wine?  Gossip?  Spending?  Errands?  I promise you, your life will survive and will go on without your constant hand on it at all times.  When you see how eliminating this one element for 1 day not only freed you but gave you that oh so requested “time” we are always asking for more of, it will tempt you to continue.  Can you do it for a week?  a month?  I urge us to all take a moment and see where we can eliminate to allow the Holy Spirit back in?  This is not ONE more thing to do, this is one LESS thing to do.  This is a key to freedom, the gate code to release.  This is the answer to your prayer.

Fast, then feast.  Let life back in.

Xoxo,

Melanie

It is always my hope that these words make it to those they were intended for.  If even just one, that is enough for me.

If you would like to be a part of my daily conversation, you can join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Put “see first” under following and positive, loving words will be the first thing on your newsfeed over what Susie ate yesterday or how Jack’s son finally pooped on the potty 😉

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