I’ve been in my own personal wilderness for awhile now. In January God began putting the idea of fasting in my path. I struggled, as things in my life continued to get complicated. I became interested in the idea of Lent. Of older more traditional practices of a religion I have never practiced. I find it interesting the way I began to be interested in the Lenten Season.
Matthew 4:4 4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” resonates in all of this for me. Fasting, Lent and pressing into God…
It began with devotions and articles I would come across about fasting. Again, an obvious sign God was speaking to me. The consistant coming around to the same subject matter in different places; articles, tv news programs, sermon messages, even daily devotionals on the subject. I heard God loud and clear, and knew He was focused on my desire to be healthy. I had talked to Him about it, a lot. Yet I hesitated, procrastinated, ran on an alternate path called avoidance.
Of course I did other things. Subsequently while I avoided God’s urgings, my life got bogged down with complications. Nothing God did, just life doing what life does. I had a lot on my mind. Honestly things were not all bad, although some were. I know, even knew, that to be obedient to God’s direction would have made my day to day journey easier to deal with. It could have even seen to it that some did not occur at all, but my humanity took over and I pursued other avenues that were not quite obedience.
I wrote an article on the Daniel Fast. It formed itself out of the research I did so I could do the fast properly. I was seeking a fast that would help me to get well. I had over the holidays begun to feel not well, again. My left leg was swelling up again, and I had leg tensions at night, again. I had begun experiencing monthly migraines, again. Two or three a month, usually attributable to a rise in hormones. Illness symptoms that had gone by the wayside since the summer. It dawns on me that all of these things were at some point gone, all of them.
Then it dawned on me that I had begun a quest to wellness in the spring of 2009. I had entered a contest on the Helium site where I wrote on the subject of teas. Earlier in 2009 I had begun to be interested in researching teas, as each time I wasn’t feeling well my grandmother would tell me what teas would help me. Over the 4o some years of loving this woman, it took those 4o years to hear her. So I researched and found the medical wonders of tea, and implemented them in my life. It worked, on my asthma and leg issues and my weight.
At the same time I was pursuing God with a vengence. To finish what I had begun years ago. My friends and loved ones were not always happy with the changes in me. I was. My quiet startled and left them unsettled, but I was renouncing sarcasm and negativity in my life. Our personal changes force others to change, at least how they are around the person changing, and sometimes they reject it. Sometimes they reject you, whether the changes are bad or good. Odd, but in our twisted world personal improvement is not always celebrated, even by those who love us.
So Lenten. In my search for a fast, I discovered that the Daniel Fast, which I had done incorrectly a few years ago for 21 days, was considered a suitable Lenten fast. Well, now my quest to be obedient became wrapped up in Lent! And there were articles to be written, for yet another contest. God is funny and persistent! I didn’t write those articles, but I did research them.
On Clean or Shrove Monday I began my fast. I am fasting beverages. I planned, and have been successful, thus far, in drinking only water and tea, for 40 days. You see the Daniel Fast allows one to consume only things that originate from the seed and water. Tea comes from the Camellia Plant, essentially from a seed, so it works! I am now combining the fast with Lent, how odd of God! :) He led me straight to what, I believe, He intended for me to find.
Then I found HighCallingBlogs.com, you can hit the link on this page. And what was some of their articles about? Lent.
As I said, I feel as though I have been in my own personal wilderness for quite a while now. Refusing to listen to anyone but God, alone, in all areas of my life. And again, family and friends do not necessarily take well to this. I have stood firm though. Taking every suggestion and piece of advise to God.
The reward for this has been amazing. Illness and the shadow of death has been looming over my immediate family for months, possibly years now. Right now we are contending with the possibility that my uncle is dying. The Uncle who may have been the closest thing to a father in my childhood. During all of this I pressed into God like never before, resulting in a heightened experience with God.
I found in my research and on the blogs on HighCallingBlogs.com was many things. In an effort to glorify God, since the dawn of Christianity until now, people and religions, observed periods of fasting for cleansing and repentence. Being born again, I know that I should only fast when led by the Holy Spirit. I know, as well, that I only need to repent once for my sins, God does not find it necessary for me to live in my sinful nature by reliving it at the beginning of each spring.
However, the traditions of old still have purpose. Fasting gives a body a good healthy cleaning while reminding to focus on God. I wanted healing, I asked God for healing, and I found:
I got an e-mail from HighCallingBlogs.com that I, now, cannot find. However, it said that Lent is about being in touch with our humanity. A place I have been forever, it seems. Being in touch with one’s humanity means many things. For me it means that I realize that God chose me with ALL of my imperfections, as if they didn’t exist. Therefore I have to trust God, that those imperfections do not exist.
Through the Atonement we are cleansed, freed from our sin mentality. It is our job to rid these things, these imperfections, generational curses from ourselves. God will assist and support us in all manners of this, but it is our job to get it done. To determindedly rid ourselves of what is contrary to God within us. Because when we indulge in these memories, these family lies about health and religion, we stop in our forward movement. When we stop God continues on, and we can miss blessings and miracles that are planned for our lives.
Lent and the practices within the observances give us a vital way to press into a loving and forgiving God. A Father who will gently guide us through the processes of seeing ourselves as He sees us. Perfect and free. It is our inheritance, we are the children of the King of Kings. All of this, from Clean Monday to Resurrection Sunday was about us. About God’s desire to be reconciled to His children.
The practices of Lent transcend any specific religious belief. They are simply a vehicle for each of us to realize that regardless of what we have done or will do, our humanity makes us the apple of God’s eye.We have been redeemed.
Lent and fasting is allowing me to find a closeness to my God that I didn’t have even 2 weeks ago!
You see, in my obedience to fast, when it was necessary to press into God for real answers a few nights ago the experience stepped up several notches. Honestly in the early hours of February 15th, God forever changed they way we communicate, the experience of His presence when I press in and the way I pray. Past that, I cannot seem to articulate the experience effectively yet. I simply know that it is all wrapped up in the observances of Lent and the practices of fasting.
Blessings Friends. :)