Living in the Fast Lane

Lately, I’ve been considering what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus. I’ve thought about what it takes to be someone who isn’t just playing church, but is wholeheartedly sold out for God. And as I have been thinking and praying, God has been patiently, lovingly nudging me toward the idea of fasting.

And in my usual stubborn way I have been trying to dodge the issue. Putting it off because the time was not right, my life was too hectic, or I was just too afraid to face the fact that I might be too selfish to give up my favorite foods. Socially acceptable seasons of fasting like Lent would come and go with only the smallest effort of sacrifice on my part.

Honestly, the thought of any kind of fast was petrifying. How in the world would I make it through the day without the three major food groups – Coffee, Diet Pepsi, and Chocolate? To be truthful, I could live without meat – but dairy and bread? Come on, Lord – I’m a midwestern girl!  You know those two groups make an appearance at every meal. 

And so I quietly resisted. Assuming that fasting was intended for someone much holier than me. Continuing to pretend as if I didn’t hear the call.

Until now.

On Saturday, I began my journey on a 21 day Daniel fast. It will be three weeks without dairy, meat, bread, sugar, caffeine or processed foods. In addition to that, the Lord has called me to a deeper fellowship time with Him that does not include TV or social media. (So to all my Facebook friends, except for publishing my blog, I won’t see you again until October.)

This past week as I prepared for my fast, I cut down on my sugar and caffeine intake and tried to eat as organically as possible. Still, on Friday morning I had an unexpected major meltdown. I was on my way out to school and was stopped at a red light when I started crying. Of course, there were other cars on both sides of me. Their passengers gawking at me probably wondering if the little blonde woman in the car next to them was having a mid-life crisis. As I wrestled a napkin from my lunch to catch the waterworks I was wondering why didn’t I listen to my mother about always carrying a Kleenex in my purse!!

It had begun because I’d been thinking about the fast. Suddenly I was gripped with an overwhelming sense of fear and guilt. Fear of not being able to go through with it. Guilt over the fact that if I was considering backing out then I was obviously addicted to food. But even in that panicked moment I felt God’s comforting presence. I began to pray and I remembered that in God there is no fear and no guilt. Those are schemes of the enemy. I spoke God’s Word over my anxiety and allowed Him to replace my fear and guilt with love and mercy.

And so off I go into the land that is not flowing with milk and honey. But I go knowing I am not alone. Only when I am willing to totally surrender my life can He can take away the things that separate me from Him. And in my state of physical hunger I will wait for Him to satisfy my spiritual hunger. I am ready now, Lord. Ready to encounter the loving God who wants to pour out His heart to me.

This is not My Home

I received a text from my younger daughter this morning telling me she had missed her flight out of Miami and would now be spending the day in the airport waiting for a flight home. I could sympathize with her frustration. A couple of years ago I had a similar experience when I missed a flight home out of La Guardia. I had been in NYC with my two sisters visiting family and enjoying the city. As we arrived at the airport to depart for Indianapolis we encountered a problem with airport security. The airport officials had closed down the check-in line we were in and when things were finally settled our plane was already in the air.

We spent the next several minutes haggling with an airport agent trying to book a flight home only to be told there were no seats available on any outgoing flights that day. Although my younger sister was able to secure a flight, I was told by the agent that I should “just go home and come back tomorrow.” All I wanted to say was, “This is not my home!”

I wonder how many times that thought has flashed across the minds of others. Is that what Abram thought when God called him into a new land? Genesis 12:1 records that, “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” What was Abram thinking when he heard that call to leave his home and family? Did he think “This is not my home?”

Or what about Mary and Joseph when they fled to Egypt with Holy baby in arms? They went in the night to escape the wrath of an insane king, but I can’t help but think that they were wondering about the home they had left. What blind faith it took to follow after the voice of an angel in a dream to a strange, new land. A land that was not their home.

In truth, we too are wanderers in a place that is not our home. The struggles we face remind us that our temporary home on this beautiful blue marble is an imperfect place. A place where physical and spiritual hunger abound. Our need is great, but God’s grace is far greater. And as I reside in this land of earth and sod I pray that I can listen closely to God’s call on my life. I want to hear Him when calls me to a new land.

But not only that. Lord help me be willing to travel to the foreign spaces. The places where only You can lead me. Father, help me to go willingly to where the unknown opportunities of ministry await, because I know that is the only place where I will truly be at home.