Just a short post to say, No headaches!! This is monumental for me. Major. Huge. Ginormous.
I explained in a previous ‘fast’ blog that I get terrible headaches. Triggers are skipping meals, stress, etc… hence, fasting is not normally my friend. Well, this past weekend was very stressful and emotional and just plain hard – yesterday in particular. On top of that, I only got a few hours of sleep last night – the cherry on top of a nerve-racking sundae. For me, that is usually a recipe for a major migraine. But today, while driving to work, I noticed… no headache. I thought to myself, Okay, we’ll see how I feel as the day goes on. This will be a true test of my healing.
I am happy to say that it is afternoon, and I feel great! 🙂 Fasting and I have bonded, healing is mine, and Satan is a major loser. It is a good day.
Well I really had planned on posting more than I have during this fast. First of all, it has been a crazy busy week, but also this week has been weird. Still, God has shown me some cool things.
Let’s start with the weird. I have been kind of emotional this week. Not ridiculous, just kind of down off and on. Not normal for me. I had a nightmare on Monday and then another on Tuesday. Also not normal for me. When I woke up each night, I didn’t feel any lingering fear or dread (also weird after a nightmare). I began to wonder if God wanted to show me something from these dreams. Did the characters and events mean something? I have found myself to be more and more hungry to hear God’s voice during this fast. I just want Him to say something… anything. I have heard and been lead by His voice many times, but I have never felt such a strong desire for it. I began asking Him if He was telling me something in these dreams. For two days the only thing that kept repeating in my mind was, I’m listening to God. If He has something to say, He doesn’t have to scare me or freak me out. He’ll just say it.
I have also felt some fear trying to very subtly creep back into my life. (I had a lot of fear and rejection issues after my divorce that God removed from my life.) After a couple days of this, God said, “The enemy is speaking rejection to you.” I thought, So that’s why I’ve been feeling this way! I’m thinking that maybe the nightmares and emotions were just an attempt at an attack from the sneaky enemy. Newsflash… it didn’t work, and you don’t scare me.
Even with the weirdness, I have had a really deep peace. As I said earlier, I have been very hungry for God’s voice. He speaks to me in different ways – sometimes He speaks directly to me, but most of the time I just get a sense. I call it a vibe. I know it’s God, but sometimes I have trouble putting words to it. Then I think to myself, If it’s God, why can’t I articulate what He’s telling me? I’m reading Unveiled by Alan Smith. In a chapter entitled The Importance of Hearing, he says, “God’s words, phrases, images, and impressions sort of emerge into my consciousness fully formed. Then my brain has to unpack them into a linear sequence of words if I have any intention of writing them down or speaking them out loud to someone else.” That makes so much sense to me! Man, that made me feel better.
I often use prayer and listening to God as a kind of verbal journaling. I ramble on and on, stop and listen, and ramble some more. I talk about what’s going on and how I’m feeling and what not. It helps me sort things out. Most of the time I have to be very careful not to hog the conversation. I find myself doing all the talking, and then stop, tell myself I should do better at listening, and ask, “What do You want to say to me?” I know… I should always just start this way. I’m learning. About half of the time, when I do ask, I don’t hear anything specific. So yesterday morning He told me that when He doesn’t speak, He’s listening. Quality time! It’s my love language! He loves to hear me ramble on! It was such an unexpected sweet moment in His presence. It brought tears to my eyes. It was very affirming. God is just so cool. He knows us in the deepest part of our hearts and loves us exactly how we need to be loved.
Yesterday at church, our pastor said that fasting humbles us and positions us to hear from God. I am finding this to be true. I was tossing this around this morning while driving to work and wondering about the details. How and why does fasting humble us? God brought to my mind pride and self-preservation. Pride says, I can have that; I can handle it. But when we deny ourselves, we give pride the stiff arm. Self-preservation says, But I need that! When that kicks in and we don’t give in, we have deepened our dependence on God. Our spirit receives strength when our flesh is denied. It’s a fact and something hard to grasp until it is experienced. Fasting is a feed the spirit, starve the flesh experience. Everyone knows that what you feed is what will grow; fasting is kind of a radical approach to this. It is something temporary that we do, but if the concept of fasting is applied to our lives daily, what amazing changes we will see. I’m not saying that we have to deny ourselves of everything, all day, every day. But we, as Americans, are typically indulgent. We have been known to be an excessive and entitled bunch. I don’t want to live my life this way. I like nice things, good food and a great movie as much as the next guy, but how much of these things do I make a priority in my life? How much time and resources do I give to these things? What is my focus? In living life, we get caught up in things and doing. Fasting is like a slap from reality asking us to reassess what is really important in life.
And what is not important is the remnants of the strawberry cheesecake blizzard that has been in my freezer since before the fast. I am sad, no happy, to say that it will go the way of the trash can. Pride and self-preservation can talk to the hand.
What a headache I have had today! So confusing and frustrating. God says He wants to heal me, I believe I am healed, I take authority over the pain, tell the enemy to take a hike, and I still have a headache. I don’t get it. What am I missing? I’m just being real here. I was venting to God, and He said, “Don’t let your feelings or circumstances discount what you know I am doing in your life.” Immediately my headache eased. I don’t know all the specifics; all I know is I trust Him. He is a good God, and He is so good to me!
My love for Him has increased even more during this fast. Not for what He has done for me but simply because of who He is. When we turn our face toward Him and truly seek Him, He reveals more and more of Himself to us. He is always there, waiting for us to slow down, calm down, sit down, and listen to His wisdom, feel His love, pick His brain, love on Him. Whatever we need, we find in Him.
This fast is about me….. dying to myself. It’s about what I can get from God….. more of Him.
Happy Wednesday! The fast has gone well so far. Actually, I am loving it. I asked God on Monday to show me what all the hubbub is about fasting. What is so special about it anyway? I know, I know… it is denying your flesh and whatnot, but I want more. I want something from God especially for me that will mark my life. I want to become a faster. Did I just say that? Oh, yes I did.
I am pretty much sticking with my food plan with just a few alterations. Protein drinks, salad, chicken, tuna, eggs… do you see a protein pattern here? I have been extremely busy and tired this week, so I have to confess.. I have hit the snooze button every morning. I will purpose to do better starting tomorrow. I am still having a morning quiet time, but my few minutes of extra sleep has cut it shorter than it should be.
So what of the spiritual journey of this fast to date? Well, let me just say that God is so freaking awesome. He is so faithful. It’s good that He can read my mind because sometimes He just leaves me speechless.
The last three days have been kind of heavy. Not in a bad way, I have just really felt God. It’s different and tangible and really hard to explain. The headaches I mentioned on Sunday – God showed me something last night about them. I have suffered with headaches – mild, bad and really bad – since I was 17. I can still remember my first headache. It was so intense that it scared me. I will sometimes have a headache that lasts for days or even weeks. I have had to learn to cope and just accepted them as what it’s like to be me. I don’t know what causes them (other than stress, sickness, not eating) and have prayed for healing for years. Then a few months ago, completely out of the blue, God told me, “I want to heal you.” Some healing did take place, but my headaches didn’t stop completely. Last night He showed me that it is an attack from the enemy, and I have authority over it. Now, I knew this already and have taken authority over the pain for many years. I was raised in church; I know what to do. But last night this knowledge was different; it became more than mere knowledge. It’s like He implanted authority in me; He handed it to me.
Wednesday evening –
I got a raise at work today!! A substantial raise!! Talk about a shock. It was completely unexpected. Praise God! (Insert big ol’ smiley face here.)
On a different note – I have issued an alert of the emergency pull yourself together… you are fasting! system. My kids are gone this evening, and I am home alone. Now when that happens, which is not often, I just want to eat junk food and sit my butt down in front of the TV. I don’t want to do any of the ‘mom’ things that I normally have to do. Not to worry, though. I am armed with tuna, celery and a good book. I will conquer.
Today starts a 21-day fast lasting through February 4. There are churches (including mine) and ministries all around the world participating. You can find more information at awake21.org. This is a big deal. Let me be very clear – I am not a faster. I decided to blog about my experience.
I rarely fast but have been thinking lately about making it a regular habit. I have been thinking and praying for the last few days about what to fast. What would be the most spiritually significant thing for me to give up for 21 days? I’m going to fast TV (which is my go-to fast), but that’s not enough this time. I’m not that big on Facebook, so that’s out. I don’t have a lot of hobbies I could give up. Hmmm… I am a lover of all things food, so for me something significant would be… I guess… food. Darn.
I’m late in making my decision – it is evening of the first day of the fast – but better late than never. I have eaten pretty normally today, so I guess I’m starting tomorrow. I am going to eat some; I have food in my refrigerator that I don’t want to spoil. Money is super tight for me, so I really try not to waste. I tend to get really bad headaches if I don’t eat, and I went through treatment for breast cancer in the last year and am still recovering. I have also started an exercise routine, so I need my protein.
On that note, here’s my plan: protein drink for breakfast, salad for lunch, and a protein drink for dinner. I will allow healthy snacks – fruits, nuts, veggies. The main goal is to eat very specifically, and not eat as much as I normally would.
I’m going to increase my quiet time also. Instead of hitting the snooze button, I’ll get up when my alarm goes off at 5:30 each morning (okay maybe not Saturday). Evenings will be spent reading, journaling, etc.
There is something different about this fast, this time, this me. There is something special going on. I can feel it. I think God has been preparing me for a couple weeks, but I was unaware until now. I know something is coming, a stretching of sorts, but I don’t know what. This is the start. I believe this stretching will involve a few different areas of my life, and yet be confined to one area of me. Be gentle, God! 🙂
“Clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:4
Everyone wants to be beautiful.
Beautiful. What does that even mean?
The word beautiful encompasses many meanings for many people across countries and cultures. It describes people and places, emotions and feelings. It relays what we see with our eyes and feel in our hearts.
The definition says: having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about; delighting the senses or mind. It is a somewhat generic word, thought by each individual to have a very specific meaning. For most, it is an ideal to aspire to.
Where do we find our beauty?
The saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So the real question is not, “Am I beautiful?” The question is, “Whom should I ask?” Ask the Father. Ask the God who made you more beautiful than you can even imagine. You are beautiful to Him without even trying. You don’t have to change or perform. You just have to be.