These are two of the most dreaded words in the Christian circles (next to obedience, submission, sacrifice and giving). This is just my opinion anyway, though I’m sure I’m not too far off from the truth.
Prayer is one thing, but fasting???? Oh boy. Not that. Anything but that. Fasting means going without [insert thing here] for a period of time to draw closer to the Lord, to receive an answer. And who really wants to give up [name of thing you inserted] to get closer to God. Hey, I’m already close to God! I’m saved, God! What more do you need???
That was me to a T. Last year, God was calling me to a time of intense fasting and prayer. How intense, you ask? Not just a 24-hr fast, or skip-one-meal fast, but a liquid fast! One day, without warning, my appetite just fled like a horse spooked by something in the night shadows. I mean, poof. GONE. I was so confused, fearful…ANGRY. Why God? I don’t have an issue with eating, why in the ham sandwich would you cause me to lose my appetite? I had fasted in previous years, but I was in severe bondage to fasting at the time. I had never experienced this before, but somehow I knew that God was trying to get my attention. He wanted me to draw close to Him in worship and prayer, but I was having none of that. He had been trying to get my attention in previous years, but again, I won’t having it. Now, you may look in disbelief at what I’ve written and conclude that I am as bonkers as they come; legalistic, overzealous, too on fire for God. There’s absolutely no way God caused your appetite to go away. I understand your thought process, trust me. But after many many times of God trying to call me to Himself, I have found out some things about God that I could not know unless I submitted to Him. He works with us in different ways. Just because I don’t understand how God uses you doesn’t mean that you’re not hearing from God, it just means that he’s working in you in a way that He chooses not to work with me.
And that’s ok!
So…this went on about three months. Yall, I had gotten SO skinny…I’m not that big anyway, but I was smawl. I finally went home and confessed to my mom that I wasn’t eating, and of course she fussed as moms do. I didn’t tell the real truth about how God was trying to deal with me, and I was running from Him, and fasting was the way I needed to submit myself. Of course no one would believe that. After all, God can deal with you in plenty of other ways other than through extensive fasting, right?
Of course He can. But God know our individual needs, and what circumstances we need to endure so that we are made more like His Son Jesus. So, I needed to submit and come crawling to God in prayer, not eating, only focusing on Him. But I ran. I resisted. I fussed (and yes, I did cuss. I have since repented to God). I would sit there and eat and eat and eat, and I wouldn’t be hungry; I just wanted my appetite back. My heart would be wrenched in two because my spirit longed to be obedient to what God was calling to, I longed to fall on my face in worship, to steal away and have sweet communion with the Holy Ghost, but because of spiritual immaturity, I did what my flesh wanted. I was spiteful towards God. I stayed angry at Him for making me endure the season that I wasn’t even being obedient in. God was even calling me to fast at work. “How in the world did you barely eat at work, Janelle!?!?! My Lord!” I know. God gave was giving me supernatural strength to endure the season, but I wanted no parts of it. I didn’t want God to give me grace/strength to endure my trial, I wanted to be done with it and for God to leave me alone!
Fast forward to this year: Back in July, God was dealing with my about fasting during a family trip. Uhh….God? I hate to break it to Ya, but I’m on a family trip here. I ain’t fasting! Family trips are for fellowship, fun, FOOD! The more time you spend with God, the more sensitive you get to His voice, and you know when it’s time to shift. I had no appetite whatsoever, and *TMI alert* I was on my monthly cycle! Hullo! Who fasts during THAT time of the month? No way! But that’s what I was called to. I didn’t obey yet again… but don’t you know the faithfulness of our God is REAL? He will bring a trial back to you so you can hopefully pass it next time.
Fast forward to November of this year. Again, I was planning to go on a family trip the week before Thanksgiving, and I felt the call to fast. Uh oh. I thought I’d be able to fast the few days before my trip and be free to eat while on the trip. Not so. God spoke to my heart to fast the entire trip (three days). GULP. Wow. And…*TMI alert* my cycle was due to come on during that time. Coincidence? I think not. God is specific and strategic, He will give us what we can handle through Him, nothing more, nothing less.
So, yall…I submitted this time. Praise God, I said “yes” to Christ and He filled me in a way that I could’ve never been filled. He broke addictions, unleashed me from things that I’d been trying to get rid of for years. I had to tell my family that I was fasting during the trip…that was hard, but I knew I had to do it BEFORE the trip. . I needed to break free from the opinions of others, and that was certainly a way to do it. It wasn’t that I had an issue with overeating, per se, but would I trust God to temporarily strengthen me with HIS strength while He dealt with me? Would I humble myself in that season so I could come out like pure gold? (1 Peter 1:7)
Fasting is an ongoing thing for the believer (or should be). Not fasting everyday necessarily, but if God is calling us to it in a particular season of our lives, we oughta be able to hear His voice and do what He says. We like to think we aren’t like the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years, but we’re no different than them. And once we submit, we can go on to the next trial. Praise God for enduring trials! I couldn’t say that before, I wouldn’t say that before. Now I know better.
It’s still tough to hear God calling me to fast, but I’m a lil better than I was earlier this year, Do whatever He’s called you to do, whether it be a 24-hr fast, partial day fast, week fast, skip-a-meal, Daniel fast, no social media, etc. He wants to get you back to prayer, to sweet fellowship…