Dealing With Discomfort and Not Numbing It.
So this morning as I was reading and talking to God about somethings going on in my life, I asked if I should fast about it... again. You see, I have come to love times of fasting. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard. There’s a reason it’s called a spiritual discipline. Fasting may be one of the hardest things I have ever done because I enjoy food. I like making it, sitting down to eat it, enjoying the smell and the little nuances of flavors. Right now my fridge is full of the ingredients to make some crock pot pumpkin/apple soup, beef marinated in an espresso balsamic, and some spaghetti sauce with red wine reduction. All that to say, I enjoy food so fasting isn’t easy and not something I ever thought I would want to do. But when I went to Bible school 15 years ago, God started to teach me the power of fasting. I don’t want to say it’s a silver bullet when it comes to answered prayers in that it forces God’s hand and ensures us getting what we want. It’s so much more. Yes there is power behind fasting (Mark 9:29), but I have heard it taught about as if it’s the right code for a vending machine to get God to do what we want Him to do. For me when I fast there is a peace that follows me I can’t describe. I also have less physical energy so find myself taking more down time to be with God and enjoy His presence. It feels like an escape from the pressures of everything and my faith really does feel more real. Fasting connects my heart to God in a tangible way where it’s easier to believe God for the big things that often try and weigh me down. It’s like being nestled under His wing where I can almost feel the protection of His loving arm. I feel removed from the stress. I feel far from the problem. I feel strong in my faith. I feel like the eagle tattooed on my arm that’s soaring to heights previously unknown. I’m thankful that God taught me the importance of fasting and how to fast and that He leads me to fast in certain seasons. But today, I am tempted to fast to try and force God’s hand. I want to see Him move now. I want to see Him answer the prayers I’ve felt Him put on my heart and I don’t want to have to deal with the discomfort of the in between. I don’t want to have to deal with the discomfort of the waiting.... Oh man, I don’t want to to deal with the discomfort of trusting without knowing what God’s up to. Instead, like Peter did when he experienced Jesus’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:4), I want to stay on the mountaintop. I want to stay where faith feels easy and I feel indestructible. For me, that often includes fasting. So this morning as I was praying I wanted to fast not out of obedience but out of wanting to take the “easy” way out. I don’t want to feel the pain of waiting and trusting. But I felt God bring Romans 12:2 to my mind. I felt Him showing me that this morning not only do I not want be of this world but I don’t want to feel like I’m of this world. I am longing to be removed from the pain of dreams still in the process. I’m longing for heaven....That’s it, I’m longing for heaven when I will see Him face to face. When I won’t have to deal with the uncertainties of trusting I hear from Him. I won’t have to deal with the heartbreak of living in a fallen world.
Then, I gently feel Him reminding me that He gave me this longing for a reason and this homesickness draws me closer to Him. It teaches me to depend on Him in a way nothing else can because there will always be a sense of “life should be more” inside of me. In the past I’ve tried to fill this longing with some unhealthy distractions. I also like numbing it through tv, reading, staying busy, and a myriad of other good things. And this morning I wanted to numb it with a great thing. God assured me once again that He is moving in my life and He gave me the dreams I have and He alone will make them come to pass. He reminds me of how when I try to take matters into my own hands, I just delay His process and have to deal with the consequences of my rebellion.
So I find myself once again, typing my internal struggle as I sit in my bed where I am blessed to live with my best friend and her son who is like a nephew to me. I’m enjoying the sun coming through my window and see my grandmother’s mirror hanging on my wall... My heart still hurts because I'm missing my grandma and grandpa like crazy and missing their voice and prayers. I’m fighting off all the “what if’s” concerning my book and the possibility of failure. But in all of this I’m choosing to trust God in the discomfort of the unknown, holding on to the fact He is totally trustworthy and has me. He loves me and has so far led me down this exciting path so I won’t numb the longing for more. Instead, I will allow Him to use it to serve as the reminder that I need Him like I need air. And He reminds me that if I numb the pain, I will also numb the joy.