Well it didn’t take me long. Day 5 of a 21 day fast and today, I blew it. As you may know, the item that I am doing without is sleep. I have chosen to get up one hour earlier every morning so that I can spend time with God. This is my effort to recalibrate my walk with God. I am realigning myself with Him and His will. Various people are fasting various things (food, television, caffeine…). This is what I feel that God has directed me toward.
This morning, when my alarm went off (I set my iphone next to my pillow so that I do not wake up Letha), I just really struggled to get up. I made it up and went downstairs. When I sat on the couch to read my Bible, I could not focus. I was so sleepy. So I just laid my head back for a minute – and you know what happened.
I had done fine up to this point. My only temptation all week was to go to bed earlier each night to catch up on sleep, but that would have defeated the purpose of the fast. But this morning, I unintentionally broke my fast.
Wait, I have a valid excuse. No really. I slept very little last night. I had real trouble going to sleep in the first place. All of the issues with the Haiti earthquake and our efforts to help these poor people was on my mind. So I did a couple of hours of tossing and turning before going to sleep. But it gets worse. In the middle of the night, I had these terrible pains in my head that I think is a sinus infection. I was wide awake instantly and the pain persisted for several minutes. Sleep escaped me most of the night. So valid excuse or not, this morning, I lost the battle.
Is God mad at me today?
I am not discouraged.
I am back on the wagon today!
I am finding out that many of the people who are fasting are also having significant challenges to their fasting. We are in this together.
There is something that I am considering today. It is the “spirit” of the fast as opposed to the “law” of the fast. We don’t hear this talked about much but it can be very easy to become legalistic about a fast and miss the point of the fast. I don’t think that God cares as much about what we eat or don’t eat. I think He cares about the intent of our hearts and our submission to His Spirit. The “law” of the fast says that we have no margin for human weakness. The law says that if we mess up, God is upset. I think that this removes the working of God’s grace in our lives. The “spirit” of the fast says that nothing we can do physically can assure God’s blessings but we are passionate about pursuing Him. The intent is to release our total lives to Him. If/when we “fall off the wagon”, God is not angry. He understands that we are made of dust and He wants us to go on. He applies His grace, we remotivate ourselves and we continue on the journey.
Listen, if you are fasting from food and you get sick, God probably won’t mind if you eat something. He gets no glory from your illness. If you blow it with your fast, or even if you didn’t even start a fast, it is not too late. It is not about starving yourself or being miserable for 21 days. It is about a heart totally surrendered to God.
By the way, God is good and He provided my extra hour with Him already today.
I am climbing back on the wagon today. Want to join me?