Fasting, Stillness and Celebrations

For the most part I love social media. I think it’s a great avenue to connect, learn and grow….along with sharing pictures with friends. I have made friends just from online communities that I spend time with IRL, and I have found ways to decorate and cook as well. Recently though, I was having a bit of a chaotic mind and heart that I was frankly compartmentalizing and distracting with social media.

For the first few days of November I took a fast from it all. My head and my heart craved the quietness, the space, the stillness. It was nine days of finding a heart that needed to breathe, a mind needing to settle. Honestly I needed to learn to pare down and shut down, to listen more to my self and the call to my heart from God.

heads and heartsIf I am honest with you all, it was difficult the first couple of days when it got quiet. I’d want to go to the phone for distraction, but as the days grew on I realized my dependency on noise to fill the quiet was not healthy. For me, it’s become a noise-filled culture that my head and my heart really can’t quite come to terms with living in 24/7. Even more so, as I have spent time in prayer and reading and just being still I have come to find it’s allowed me time to reflect on the seasons I have been in over the last few years and hear more from God on the one I am finding myself in.

As I was reading the last bit of my study of Esther this morning, I couldn’t help but realize that we’ve subbed out reflection and stillness, in remembering God in our midst and at our defense for quick snippets of Scripture and posted prayer requests for the masses. (I am just as guilty y’all) We quickly jump to the very next thing without sitting in the moment of God’s provision, His timing, His beauty. We can celebrate God’s great strength and faithfulness in our circumstances, but how good are we at marking them for remembrance in our own hearts and lives? How well are we doing at tuning our minds and hearts to see His providing, His rescue and His defense in our lives every single day? I’m really good at knowing what’s going on in my HOA group online, but not so much about God’s working in my heart if I’m not careful.

As I read deeper about Purim, first marked in those pages of Esther, I found that often we forget the faithfulness of the God we love and serve. We move on to the next project, next task, next circumstance without celebrating the goodness of a God Who intervenes, who wants all things to turn out for good in us, who asks for our attention and who absolutely deserves all our devotion.

For me, it’s about tuning out more of the noise and tuning my head and my heart to stillness and quiet, to reflection and celebration of God’s unwavering faithfulness in my¬† lives of others. That means fasts from social media, choosing time alone, and recognizing the ways in which He provides daily.

Learning in Relationships and in Singleness

There are days when I wonder what God is up to in me. Then there are ones like the one I had a few weeks back, where I get a glimpse at the top of the page of the story He is writing for me. All I can do is smile and rejoice.

I rejoice because my singleness is not in vain. It is not some struggle or war God has given me to endure. No, it is a gift. He is preparing me-He’s working in me already. He’s gifting me with time and space to grow in Him, to reveal areas at which He is at work in me that I did not know needed work. His expectations of me are to love Him and to love others. Why can’t those be enough for my own expectations of myself?

As I was driving home a few weeks ago I realized how all of the ones I have dated previously have molded me. I have learned something about who I am because of who they were. Various relationships didn’t work out but it has taken me to this point to see how they are inherently linked. Dude 1 taught me that I cherish a man who values me completely, and not just in part. Dude 2 taught me that men can be romantic, but that a man should not make me his world. Dude 3 broke my cold-heartedness to reveal that it’s okay to cry in front of a man and need him to be the rock at times. He also showed me that a man’s ego can get in the way of his heart if he allows it to do that. Dude 4 taught me that I can be open to having feelings sooner than I thought if I put down my guard. He also taught me that I do like to listen to problems, but I cannot solve them all in an instant.

I have needed this time to reflect, to see what it is that I truly desire in a partner, in the man that would be my mate. And also to see what God’s desire for me in a companion is as well. Most of all, it’s given space for me to fully believe and trust that God must come first or there can be no relationship. If He’s not at the center of my heart, how can I expect Him to be at the center of the relationship?

I have needed time for God to work in me in a way He could only do on His timing, in this time. He was at work in me all along, just as He is now…I just needed to be quiet, be still, and listen.

Questioning Tuesday: The Fast

I know you’re not supposed to talk about fasting, that it takes the allure or the sacredness of the intent away. I normally don’t go with the flow on those things. I talk about things that you probably shouldn’t talk about with individuals because we only live once, we walk through life and choose to do so in community or alone. I choose community.

So I am taking a break from social media for the next week. I need some rest and refocus. That comes when you shut everything else off.

My question for you today is, when you need a break or quiet, what is the “thing” you have to shift away from or remove?