I've heard of people 'giving up' things for lent, but wasn't really sure I understood why...? I've been researching conflicting reviews as to whether God calls us to observe this and 'fast' something of importance for 40 days in preparation for Easter or not - I will just honestly say: I don't know all the answers with this, but I've never whole-heartedly considered participating in such a thing until this year, probably because of my most recent revelation (see my last blog post). Regardless of the dates lent & Easter are recognized... I am fully aware that my Savior. died. for me... with that revelation comes the realization that I 'forget' this important fact on a daily basis! I must be forgetting, because I constantly allow my flesh to choose my identity...
I'll give you today as an example: If you read any of my earlier posts you'll recall my struggle with lethargy/depression/laziness... whatever you want to call it - well today it all tried to creep up on me once again. I didn't get to bed as early as I would've liked last night, but honestly I've gone to bed earlier & couldn't fall asleep til later and got through the day just fine... something funny was going on... After putting Sarah down for her nap, all the guilt and self-loathing flooded in... how could I basically ignore that precious life I brought into the world with the love of my life??? How can I allow my flesh to win over my deep desire to love on my baby girl and shower her with love, affection, & attention as often as possible? How could I let my low energy steal my joy & time with my princess? How much time was wasted lying on a couch, hoping my daughter wouldn't notice I was practically falling asleep all morning???
I looked my evil, seething struggle in the face and named it. Then I claimed what Christ did for me. His blood covered that... this isn't my battle - He died for all this so I could claim victory over my flesh & move in His strength, power, & might. I wrote the word on my hand, drew a little drop above it to remind myself... His sacrifice, His blood, covered this 2.... then I stared at that selfish little word & just wanted to kick its @$$!!!
The best thing I could think of that would be the opposite of laziness was to: Workout (high-intensity cardio when I had NO intensity to give! lol) - Clean the house - Make supper for my family - & had lots of fun playing with Sarah after she got up from her nap (since her mom had clear perspective now!). Every time I was tempted to sit down & quit what I was doing I saw that word on my hand & refused to disrespect the precious blood of my Savior that covered this sneaky rat & kept pushing forward.
The struggles with my flesh (sins) ebb & flow with each morning I am given - sometimes it'll be a familiar struggle, sometimes it may be something totally off the wall... something I didn't even realize I struggled with, but in the end: there it is again trying to steal my ability to experience fullness of joy, peace, & love! The word on my hand is going to be different some days, but this really is my focus right now... not just because it's lent, but because it's timely and so necessary.
What am I 'actually' giving up? Well, I'm going to take this week by week so I am staying 'fresh' with what God has for me in this time. For now, I am only drinking water (still eating food). So no more pop or juice or whatever else you can drink. I oddly had a sense that red wine was ok...??? To assure you that I'm not a lush looking for a get out of jail free card: I do not like wine. Period. The point is that I am able to take communion with red wine (like a sip or a shot... well u know those little communion cup thingys? A shot sounds so un-christian... anyways!) along with bread to be taken in remembrance of Him and what He sacrificed for me. I find it interesting and yet not so ironic that God has been showing me so much in regards to understanding what I am freely offered... so close to the beginning of lent? Well I'm rolling with it ;) call it a sign, whatever, I'm convinced! There's a purpose...
The 'what for' in all of this is painfully obvious, but along with all of this revelation and purging of my selfishness - I do feel called to pray for something specific. Steve came to mind so quickly and obviously when I asked God if there was something specific I should go to Him in prayer with whenever I'm tempted to grab whatever I'm abstaining from, so for the hubby it is! With this of course will be prayers over our marriage, his role as a husband, a spiritual leader, a father... you get the idea... (note: this should be the daily cry of my heart anyways, but I'm taking it seriously now!)
The revealing of all this is not to boast, brag, or otherwise make myself look holier than thou by any means. This blog, in its essence, is a place I felt compelled to store my thoughts, dreams, & revelations to look back on for my own use and hopefully to inspire others. I do think that the fasting in the bible is in regard to food, but I'm gonna go with if you can 'sacrifice' something important to you then you will draw closer to God in prayer during your fast... and much more often! Is drinking water only a stretch for me? Well, I would go as far as saying I am addicted to mountain dew... this will be my greatest struggle with drinking only water and the occasional (but daily if desired) sip of red wine for communion purposes. I don't like to drink water... ever... unless I'm working out that's all I want, which is also new for me, but anyways...
This is where I'm at - feel free to hold me accountable ;) I don't know what each new week will add on to my 'abstaining-from' list... which makes me a bit nervous, but I trust it'll be for the best. I will continue my research on fasting, intercession, & the lent season as I venture forward. I'm expecting deeper understanding/wisdom/revelation in my walk with God & breakthroughs for myself, my family, & our relationships with others.
"Lord may your will be done in our lives. Give us grace when we fail You, perseverance to push through, & an awareness of the things we allow ourselves to struggle with... many times for absolutely no reason at all! You are forever faithful & worthy of any sacrifice we could ever fathom giving."