Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Wonder If I Should Fast

I wonder if I should fast. This seems pretty serious.

My friend Allison was scheduled for an MRI. She had been operated on for a brain tumor a year ago, and this was a routine check up, but I knew she was nervous about it. Kevin and I had been praying, but a little added oomph seemed in order. That’s when I got the idea to fast.

I realize that fasting doesn’t change God’s mind about a situation. It’s not a method for manipulating Him to do things your way. It’s more a means to humble yourself so you can hear His voice more clearly. And nothing spells serious like going without food.

My problem is, I become Miss Cranky Pants when I miss a meal. Which isn’t good if you work with the public, serve in ministry, and write a newspaper column about God’s grace. Aha.

As I pondered my dilemma I noticed the title of the book we were studying in our Sunday school class, “Me and My Big Mouth.” I turned it over to view the synopsis on the back, and read one of the chapter headings: Fasting Includes Your Mouth. Oh dear.

Further investigation led me to Isaiah 58, where God rebukes the Israelites for fasting food but continuing to sin with their words and wicked attitudes. The word that choked my conscience was in verse 9, where God says, “Remove the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness.” Hmm.

I’ll fast complaining, I thought. Every time I’m tempted to grumble or be negative with my mouth, I will pray for Allison instead. I was so proud of my bright idea, I began immediately.

While getting ready for work, the thought presented itself to criticize my hair like I do many days. "What good does it do to have naturally curly hair if the curls don’t go the direction I want them to? This mop is a mess." Oops! Fasting complaining. I almost forgot. “Lord, help Allison to not be scared today during her MRI. Let her feel your love.” 

While rushing to check emails before leaving the house, the temptation came to grouse about my overflowing inbox. "If Facebook didn’t notify me every time someone glanced in my direction I could manage these emails better." Oops! Fasting whining. Get your thoughts in order. “Father, speak to Allison during her test today, please. Help her believe your love for her.”

All morning long I fought with griping gremlins and disparaging demons. By the time I looked at the clock and realized Allison’s test was over I felt like I’d wrestled a grizzly with my bare hands. And I wasn’t sure who’d won.

I’d mistakenly thought managing my mouth would be easier than taming my tongue. I was wrong. The habit of negative words and thoughts was stronger than my appetite for food. Bummer.

The one good thing that came from this bright idea, other than a realization of my need to be more positive? Allison got a ton of prayer and a clean bill of health!

Do you ever fast? How has it helped you hear from God or stay healthy? 

P.S. The above story is an excerpt from my top selling book,