by Christa Teachout
I want lasagna. Super cheesy from scratch lasagna with mushrooms and Italian sausage. A side of garlic bread would be heavenly, and a salad with garden fresh juicy red tomatoes and crisp leafy greens…and cheesecake. Turtle cheesecake with caramelized pecans and dark chocolate.
Okay. I’m hungry. I’m also fasting. I both love and hate fasting. I hate it for obvious reasons, but I have never fasted and regretted it later. While I’m fasting meals I might have some regrets because of how hungry I feel, but afterwards reflecting on all that God said and did, it’s always worth it.
At times when I’ve fasted it’s been about transitioning. God has used a time of fasting and prayer to speak to me about new opportunities for and change that He wanted to bring about in my life. Other times, He has called me to fast, so I can better hear what He has to say. For me, though, this particular fast has been about surrender, trust, and openness.
It is easy for me to be so focused on what I want and where I’m going that I miss out on who I am meant to touch and what I am meant to do on the way. If I'm honest, I don't always invite the Holy Spirit to do what He wants to in my life, the way I do when I fast, because I'm afraid He just might show up and interrupt me. There’s not always room for interruptions in my nice neat little schedule…even interruptions that God might want to bring about in my life. While certainly my responsibilities are important, I think sometimes they are my excuse for not listening. When I say, “I don’t have time,” I’m really saying, “I’d rather not.”
When God did the miraculous in the Gospels and Acts, though, it wasn’t because someone scheduled in that Jesus would heal the blind man at 9:30am. Jesus and the disciples allowed themselves to be interrupted. They were open to what the Holy Spirit wanted to do through them and made it a priority. Their plans and expectations for the day were set aside to make room for the Spirit of God. The disciples didn't tell the lame beggar, “Sorry. We don't have time for you. You're going to make us late for synagogue.” They were ready for what God wanted to do through them, even though it inconvenienced them. Fasting postures us to have this attitude, as well.
Fasting takes “I” off of center stage causing our focus to be on God and His kingdom more than on us and our own. When “I” is in charge of things, my life stays pretty comfortable. I like routine and love schedules. I don't like interruptions, and if I'm truly honest, I don't keep myself postured in dependency on God as much as on my own self-sufficiency.
So, while I look forward to this fast being over, and finding some delicious Italian-style food, right now I am grateful for it and what God is teaching me in it. I am challenged to live not only during this fast, but even once it is over, in a posture of submission to and dependency upon God. The Holy Spirit should be welcome in my life, not only when I’m fasting and expecting Him to speak, but every single day.