I fasted from dating when I was in my twenties. It didn't last long. I tried again, then again and again, failing miserably every time. It was the most difficult fast I ever attempted. I suffered from something embarrassingly called "Love Addiction." So desperate for love to fill in the holes. How awful to admit! As a matter of fact, I wonder why I don't just keep the ugly hidden. But I know you've got them too - holes you've worked in vain to fill with all the wrong stuff. People and chocolate, toys and boys and noise. Oh yes, the noise.
Maybe you've found yourself addicted to the noise, filling every moment like just maybe it will fill you up too. Even as you sleep there's a TV on, or a radio announcer giving a play by play of your dreams.
There was a season in my life when I'd wake up, reach over, and hit play on the radio before my feet hit the floor. Bringing it into the bathroom with me as I cranked the shower to hot. Singing through my house and my days, always music. And it feels good and there's nothing wrong with it... unless it stops you from hearing, and I had stopped hearing. So I fasted from music, because I had grown addicted to the noise that canceled out any conviction.
Around this time I think my favorite CD was probably The Dixie Chicks', Wide Open Spaces.
Cowboy take me away - Fly this girl as high as you can, into the wild blue Set me free oh I pray - Closer to heaven above and closer to you.
Hmmmm... The past is suddenly uncomfortably clear - I'm pretty sure, looking back, that these two fasts must have walked hand in hand. This song and that no-dating thing. And since I'm on a roll now, confessing all my uglies, I might as well tell y'all that I married the last guy who broke my no-dating resolve, and this was the song we danced our first dance to. We did the Cowboy Cha-Cha.
That was a bit more backstory than I had planned to divulge. However, the main point about that particular fast is this - While Pandora is great and iTunes stands at the ready and your home is wired for surround sound, it's hard to hear when the volume is all-consuming. Consuming every hole with decibels, entertainment and voices... but not the voice that matters most.
Sometimes we just don't want to hear. Other times, life gets busy and we don't recognize the way our music has waltzed us off in its embrace, leading us so far away. And the TV in the background has become a steady rush of static. No clear messages coming through, just the buzz of nothing. The sound of the needle at the end of vinyl. Sometimes you just have to turn the music off to listen.
There are many different ways to fast and pray.
This lady here is on a shopping fast, because she doesn't want anything keeping her from God. As a matter of fact, Lisa Whittle wants God so passionately... she wrote a whole book about the wanting. I want God is more like a torch than a paperback, promising to start an all-consuming fire if we're willing to turn off the static and seek Him, turn from the filling and be filled, turn from the attempts to be loved, and simply Want. His. Love.
Are you ready to be consumed by the Love of God? Well, don't you know you've got to let go of the all-consuming to be consumed? The all-consuming noise, people, screentime, food, that's filling up each waking moment, and be consumed by God, from the inside out. It's a funny thought, letting something consume us when we are the consumers. Buying, worshipping, eating our way to the goal - satisfaction is that goal. But, as we know, "I can't get no Satisfaction, and I've tried and I've tried and I've tried and I've tried." We've gone "looking for love in the all the wrong places - and we've tried and we've tried and we've tried and we've tried."
No, the consuming never fills the gaping need. Because while we were made to Crave, the only way to be truly satisfied is for God's Holy Spirit to consume our lives from the inside out. It's the only way to be filled. Ironically consuming God, feasting on Him, can't even fill us on its own. We must be consumed by His Holy Spirit. The filling is what He does - we can't even earn it by ingesting Him. We must surrender and let Him fill us from within. Not from wihout. Within.
In my heart and my soul Lord I give You control Consume me from the inside out.
(From the Inside Out, Hillsong)
Is your life all-consuming? No margin, it's all filled up - all-consumed? Then maybe you need to fast from the go-go-going. This 40 Day Sugar-fast is getting less and less about SUGAR, and more and more about our hearts, in total surrender.
15 days into our 40 day fast, and we've feasted on 40 scriptures, renounced lies and believed truth, talked about what fasting is and what it isn't, but here's what I'm finding now... We need to turn off the static. Is there anything else in your life that's filling your life without satisfying your heart? Anything else God is calling you to let go of, so that He might grab hold of your ears and make you to hear Him?
Let's turn off the noise, the going, the food, and the screens and simply Want God... that He might do the miracle work of consuming us... from the inside out.
Dear Lord, speak to my heart today and enable my ears to hear. Is there anything in my life that's all-consuming that I need to let go of, so that I might say yes to your consuming love? I want You, God. I've just been wanting other things for so long now that I'm a little unsure how to go about coming back to your heart. I know you're in my heart, but I've lost the ability to hear your own heartbeat. God, please help me. Humbly, weakly, and all-together needy, Yours. Amen.