I’m Terrible at Fasting…

In an attempt to always share real life, I need to confess: I’m a terrible faster.

But really, I’m so bad at it.

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I didn’t grow up with fasting being a regularly practiced spiritual discipline; despite growing up in a passionate and God centered home, that wasn’t something we did.

Prayer, Bible study, learning, teaching, serving etc.. All normal practices in my home growing up.

Fasting? Not so much.

In fact, I was in my early 20’s the first time I fasted! – That was a bad day, and I was hungry and frustrated all day.

I can confidently tell you that as I am about to turn 32, I’m still bad at fasting, but I’m practicing it more regularly now.

I have fasted food, social media, TV, meats and dairy products, sugar, caffeine… So many things, but every single time I come back to the understanding that I think I may be doing it wrong lol

Here’s what I have decided and/or learned as I practice fasting:

Fasting takes practice. 
It isn’t about success or failure for me, it is entirely about learning HOW to fast well. Because, if I am being honest, I don’t entirely understand it… I mean, I understand the concept, but it doesn’t seem to be for me what other’s explain fasting to be…

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have experienced a more full and fulfilling life while fasting!
I have had a shift in perspectives!
I have even been able to see something’s grip on me get broken (think you may have an addiction to food, sugar, social media, tv? – Fasting is where it’s at!)

Fasting is hard.
Literally, it is actually really difficult to fast.

Fasting sets you up for some really bad days.
I have yet to experience a day/season of fasting that wasn’t actually really frustrating. I have concluded that all of the things that come up while fasting are classic case devil tactics. – I recognize the tactics for what they are, but sometimes not until much later… After I have been ready to kill people (oops) haha

Fasting can kill your focus.
Reportedly fasting can give you mental clarity… That has not been my experience. At. All. – In fact, on days I fast, a lot of the time I find myself unable to focus on anything longer than two minutes; and end up rotating between 15 different projects in order to see some sort of productivity!

Fasting by yourself is the worst..
I have fasted alone, and I have fasted with others… Fasting alone is terrible. I can never seem to get it right when it’s by myself. My focus, attitude, attention, perspective, all awful.

AND, sometimes I forget to even pray on days I’m fasting.

I’m terrible at fasting.

Fasting with others can make all the difference.
When someone is agreeing with you in prayer, and when you’re able to share the frustrations of the day, it makes or breaks the fast… (at least for me currently).

When I fast with others, and talk about it with them; we began to notice more of the prayers being answered, clarity on each other’s behalf, and we can see more tactics being used by the devil. Not to mention, more solidarity as we learn to navigate through how to fast better when we reflect on the successes and failures from the day/season.

Fasting requires preparation.
If you go into a fast willy nilly style and expect God to show up, you’re going to fail. Every time. – But really, this has been my experience.
If you are doing the Daniel Fast, you will need to prepare with the right foods.
If you’re doing liquid only, you need to prepare your day.
If you’re fasting social media/tv or something else, you need a plan for what to do instead. Otherwise you’ll fill your time with equally useless things…

But, you also need to know what you’re praying for/over, otherwise your focus will prevent you from praying well… or maybe at all.

I think it should be said again: I have fasted before and forgot to pray for the ENTIRE DAY.

Fail.

Fasting should include Bible reading.
Read your Bible kids… I have failed at this frequently. How do you forget to read  your bible when you’re fasting? I dunno, but I do!

More than just reading your bible, know what you’re looking for and planning, otherwise it can feel like empty words. (trust me)

Fasting doesn’t always mean better Jesus time.
I often find fasting to feel more like an uphill battle trying to connect with Jesus rather than a sweet beautiful or intimate time with Jesus and the Holy Spirit!

Fasting can make all the difference.
I know with all the confidence that some strongholds can only be broken through prayer and fasting… I’ll let you know when I experience a life changing stronghold being broken. I have complete faith that this is crucial and important, which is why I continue to press in and practice fasting.

One day it will make all the difference.

Fasting isn’t as simple as people make it out to be.
Fasting isn’t as simple as: “I’m going to pray, read my Bible and then *BAM* the Holy Spirit shows up and we have a beautiful time together.

Fasting is actually really hard mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even spiritually. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that either these people are lying, or they just have more experience at practicing fasting than I do. So, because I believe that fasting matters, I continue to press in. I continue to practice, and I will slowly get better at this… Maybe. 😉

What I know for sure is that I am terrible at fasting; but, I need to hone my skills and tactics for doing it better…

But, as of today, I am still pretty bad at it. 🙂

Is there a classic spiritual discipline that you’re terrible at?

Community Prayer…

Community is something that God is pretty clear about how important it is to Him. Even HE is a community of sorts (the Trinity.. Three in one..) He decided it was not good for Adam to be alone, that he needed a community, but not just a group that was exactly like him, Adam needed diversity and companionship. Which means, we are supposed to have community, which is hard, and messy, and beautifully diverse, and it literally changes our lives.

Literally, all throughout scripture you see community being incredibly important. Even in the New Testament Jesus pulls a community of people around him. There are spheres even in his circles, He had his three close “inner circle,” then he had the twelve, then there was a much larger group that included women, even his mom and brothers.. and it was more than 100 people!

Community is important. Very important.

But, it goes much deeper than simply just wanting people to be around. We need their faith, their wisdom, support, love, care, sometimes we physically need their help (especially as a woman), and other times we just need them to physically be present in our hurting… But, I would also say that a crucial and sometimes forgotten part to the community puzzle is the prayer for each other.

Oh sure, we remember to pray on occasion for each other, and sometimes we even remember to regularly offer up quick prayers.. But, that is not the kind of prayer I am talking about. I am talking about touching someone and praying the intense, purposeful, expectant of answers, and sometimes the petitions on our knees before our Creator God kind of prayers.

Please do not misunderstand me, both are good things, and prayer is important no matter what, but I have (re)discovered recently just how profoundly different it is to be prayed over with intensity, intentionality, and expectation. Something about community prayer changes things. I know God made it that way, but it amazes me how much it truly makes a difference. Two weeks ago I was prayed over by a few people, and a couple of them said things that literally caused something to shift inside of me, a switch to be flipped, and suddenly the pressure of things I was using to beat myself up with were gone. Without their prayers over me, I am confident I would still be struggling under the weight of those things.

I want to understand what Jesus meant when He said in John 16,In my discovery, the prayers over the 3×5 cards on my bathroom mirror have started to shift slightly. I am really trying to learn how to pray, and asking God to teach me.

“…Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.”

.. Because in my book, anything is actually pretty specific… So, I am asking God to show me and teach me.

I re-discovered literally last night, after spending the vast majority of my day dwelling in and spending quality time with my Lord, the evil one really begins attacking. I knew exactly why he was attacking, and I knew the area in my life he was hitting… I also was keenly aware of the fact that I needed reinforcements, so I reached out to my bff. She knew exactly how to pray for me, and we were able to talk, she was able to share her insight and wisdom, and when all was said and done, I was left amazed at God even more than before.

Prayer changes everything, and community prayer multiplies that ridiculously.