There’s this book for fasting someone shared with me (The 40-Day Surrender Fast by Celeste Owens) a couple months ago. So much stress was weighing on me. There was a spiritual funk just lingering and I wanted it gone.
With little motivation but hoping for progress, I took a peek at it. The book suggested it could be from food or an attitude (e.g. fear, envy, unforgiveness) or anything else. It sounded good. A group of people had already started the fast and were meeting over conference calls weekly. I called in a couple of times not wanting to lag behind, but had zero clarity on what to fast from. I was almost ready to give up and shove the book aside, then God got my attention.
I was wound and ready for a thoroughly productive day. There were assignments I needed to complete, a book draft that needed attention, and countless other things. Normally I would pounce onto my list of tasks immediately, but this morning I was nudged to give God a little more than just my “Hello. Good morning. I know You’re up there”. I went to the Elevation Church website where Pastor Steven Furtick was streamed live. The ironic thing is I hadn’t heard a sermon relevant to me for some time. I even started tuning some preachers out that I once listened to on a regular basis. It had been a serious spiritual funk for me far beyond “Oh dear me I cant find a sermon” but you get the point. Then here came this extremely relevant sermon onto my screen.
He started with “Discern distractions”. In life we have so many important and urgent things or people flying at us it’s difficult to tell what or who should have our attention. Then come the questions of – for how long? and how often?? If my body requires a particular diet that involves a lot of planning, but a child I’m tutoring the next day needs help in a subject I’m rusty in – do I focus my last bit of energy for the day on reviewing the subject and prepping or do I go shopping, cook then pack my meals? Or do I push to do both and compromise my rest? When I wake up in the morning with a work deadline in my face, an urgent text from a friend and needing time with God – which is the distraction? Which comes first? Think about this happening in real time – what do you do?
After the sermon it came to me what I needed to fast from – my priorities. I was reminded that when God says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8) He means it! I was so comfortable with my priorities that it frightened me to give them to God. My stress, the spiritual funk, was all fueled by my fear of surrender to God. Looking back I see He had a better way in mind. He knew what my heart needed to relax, to heal but I wouldn’t let go of my ideals.
What will He do? How will He re-arrange them? What will that require of me? All of these thoughts and waves of feelings fought off my conviction to surrender my priorities, my heart, to God. My control freak nature went frantic but the Holy Spirit made me pause. If my priorities were so fantabulous I wouldn’t be crying out to God in frustration or ignoring Him out of bitterness. There would be no “funk”. It was clear in that moment that what I was clinging to was not worth keeping. It was clear that this bewildering journey of surrender was worth a serious try.
What does your heart want to hold on to? Is it worth keeping? How has it worked out this far?
What will you do to let it go?
Please share your journey with me below and check back for my next article where I share my progress with you!