How I Sharpen the Spiritual Focus of My Fast

September 10, 2017 at 1:44 PM

“Over the years I have found that the level of difficulty transitioning into a fast is an accurate measurement of how far my living has wandered from intimacy with God.” 

After a packed summer juggling long hours at work, outdoor sports with my son and overeating with friends and family, there finally came a deep hunger to slow down and get spiritually centered. September ushers in shorter days, cooler Canadian nights, and a blush of autumn color, reminders it’s time for my fall fast. So last weekend I purchased all my juicing produce: ten pound bags of carrots, red peppers, celery, apples, tomatoes, spinach, kale and cucumbers. For my fresh fruit juice ingredients: melons, pineapples, oranges and grapefruit. In Canada, fall is the best time to juice fast, the produce is local, fresh and cheap. My fridge was full of produce and I was overflowing with anticipation of the great time I was going to have with Jesus. 

Typically, my fasting posture is sitting on the sofa with bible and laptop or kneeling on a pillow in prayer. But for the first few days of the fast I felt restless and distracted. I found myself jumping up to do jobs that where persistently coming to mind. I could not still my mind and focus. I struggled with this unconscious, compulsive desire to do something. Anything. Organize my kitchen. Backup my summer pictures. Paint my balcony. Call a friend. Wash my kitchen floor. I say unconscious because I didn’t become aware of it until after a few days, and then it hit me. I have not even opened my bible or got on my knees and prayed. My whole summer had been on overdrive and the transition to stillness was actually feeling painful, even a little empty and depressing. 

Over the years I have found that the level of difficulty transitioning into a fast is an accurate measurement of how far my living has wandered from intimacy with God. The unconscious part was really simple, I was avoiding God, like a husband who has lost connection with his wife and spends all his evenings working in the garage. It’s just easier to putter around in the garage then face the coldness that has settled into the relationship, a coldness that testifies to negligence and laziness.

I’m been here before and knew exactly what to do.  First, I took care of that long list of to do’s clamoring in my head by sitting and writing them down on a paper. And then I put some restrictions in place ASAP. I would do none of the jobs on that list until my fast was done. This was only going to be a short 7 day fast with the Lord and I did not want to waste a minute of it cleaning a kitchen floor. That one was easy. I felt better already. Next, I work at a school and there is plenty of opportunity to socialize.  The next restriction was I would work as much as I could in my office and reduce my socializing to a minimum. I would go out for my lunch hour alone, sit by the lake and meditate and pray. Done! Next, I would go straight home after work. Instead of driving 30 minutes to my favorite park, I would walk in the smaller park by my apartment. I would keep the TV off, only answer essential phone calls and texts. Sure enough on the third day I began to feel that wonderful connection to Jesus return. 

There have been many times in my Christian walk where I have discovered that my willful busyness has pushed God out of my daily living. In these times, I have often pictured Satan holding a board meeting, he stands in front of his demonic supervisors and repeats over and over, “it’s not complicated, just keep the dam Christians busy. Last thing we want is them focused. Way too dangerous!”

When I sit down and plan next summer, I’m going to do things differently. The measure of a summer is not how much I can cram into it. On the top of my list will be “Spend time with my Father.” 

Posted in: Fasting

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