Deep breath. Ok. I sometimes question my own motives, and I wonder if I want to do things outwardly so that God will notice me or approve me. I spend time thinking about what my actions will say about me and what I believe. I worry about being misunderstood or judged or maybe even (gasp!) not liked.
The next 7 months could be all about me controlling a 'program' to improve my life. I could come up with creative ideas and quirky posts and we could all walk away feeling slightly inspired and all mooshy inside. And it would be like anything else I've done in the past to improve myself, or distract myself, or whatever.
I wonder sometimes- what's the point of clean living? Why sacrifice anything for a God I can't see? Does anything I do even matter? What does abstaining from anything really accomplish in the end?
Why should I 'fast' from possessions this month? Will He even notice? Will He care that much that I'm not driving my beloved Tahoe for a month, or that I'm giving away precious stuff, or that I'm riding the city bus? Truly, Jenna, what's the point? What are you hoping for? More self discipline? A grateful heart? What?
"Why have we fasted, they say, and You have not seen it? Why have we afflicted ourselves and you take no knowledge of it?" -Isaiah 58: 3 (amp)
The Israelites were playing the part. They were following the rules. I actually am mostly a rule follower. It makes me feel good. Why do Christians love 'rules' so much? It's like we belong to this 'club' and we dress the part, act the part, even do things -- good things sometimes -- that make us feel good about ourselves. We say NO when the culture says YES. We don't wear that, or pierce that, or go there, or drink that or watch this. And we think that all of that says something about us. And maybe to some extent it does.
But shouldn't our actions be more about GOD and less about US? Shouldn't the actions I take and the rules I follow be more about the God I follow?
We hear the word 'FAST' or 'ABSTAIN' and we think about self-denial. We hear the NO.
But check it out, again from Isaiah:
6 [Rather] is not this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every [enslaving] yoke?(B)7 Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house—when you see the naked, that you cover him, and that you hide not yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood?
This doesn't sound like a NO to me.
This is something different. Something compelling. Something wild.
Jen Hatmaker says a fast should not be about what we're AGAINST. A fast should speak to what we are FOR.
So what am I FOR? I guess it's time to find out.