As a church we began a fast on March 11th. Lives were changed and clarity was brought to our vision as a church. We are thankful for God’s movement through our body, and we want to share that with you. During the month of April, we will be posting 21 different stories our tribe has shared with us.
So my main fast for Easter was social media. I know a lot of people do this in some form but it was a huge deal for me. I was 100 percent addicted to being super active on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. At the core of this issue, I found out the driving force behind my need to be constantly visible on those outlets: my ego. I love words of affirmation and hearing that what I’ve done is approved of “liked”, no pun intended. This opened up to a heart issue. Why was Jesus not enough to me? Why were my wife and the people in my life God blessed me with not sufficient to keep me from staring at my phone? I knew what had to be done and that was to rid myself of distraction in this area. During this time, I heard the voice of God more clearly than I have in years. He showed me how I had neglected the needs of my wife who oftentimes came in 2nd to social media. Removing this allowed us to communicate better and develop a closeness we had been missing for a long time. It was as if God took the blinders off to show me what I had been missing and taking for granted. Most of all, He showed me that this distraction took so much away from my relationship with Him. It boiled down to knowing that I needed affirmation outside of His approval of my life. This is also known as pride. God took me to a place of forgetting opinions and titles and reminded me that regardless of any of those things, I’m His son. That alone is my identity. I found a rest in that like I’ve never experienced before. In a practical sense, this fast drew me to God in such a way that it visibly and vastly improved my marriage. In a spiritual sense, it helped me to clearly hear the voice of my Father, the One who calls me chosen, the One who calls me HIS. It helped me regain my God-given identity of simply resting in the fact that I’m a child of God. Don’t over complicate it. Pastors, doctor, teachers, nurses, we are all His children and we rest in that, allowing Him to do the heavy lifting in our lives. I’m so thankful that this was not only for the fast but allowed me to see that this needs to be a permanent change in my life. Parameters are in place and I will not be seeing you guys as much in the land of social media, but I will spend time with the people He has blessed me with IN PERSON and continue to focus on hearing His voice clearly and daily.
So several weeks ago I started a journey to discovering the Holy Spirit! After finishing my study I was doing I got baptized and I knew that would be my first step in my journey! After my baptism, I felt this struggle on what my next steps would be….so all this happened to fall into the time our church did a 21 day fast! My husband and I spent the time praying and trying to figure out what our fast would look like! So we decided to clean up our eating habits and get rid of social media and the distractions that kept us from each other and from our time with God! In my heart, I knew and expected God to show up and move in a mighty way and show me what my next steps were! As we get into the fast I began to struggle a lot and feel like I was doing something wrong! I felt like there was this silence between me and God! I felt so broken and hurt! I had been looking for a job and trying to find something different so I found and applied for a job in the medical field! The Friday before our fast ended I had the opportunity to go for an interview and about 10 minutes after the interview I got a call saying I had been accepted for the position! I didn’t realize how much of a Godsend this job was until having a conversation with a sweet wonderful friend of mine Danielle Riddle! I realized that all my scared feelings and all this uncertainty with this job were God’s way of showing me that this is His plan and His way of showing me what’s next! Recently I have learned that sometimes we get comfortable in our life’s we have built! We get comfortable with the people, the lifestyle, and the routine! As I begin this journey in chasing after the Holy Spirit I have learned that He will uproot everything we are comfortable in to put us in situations where we see His amazing power and rely solely on Him to give us strength and wisdom! I began this journey with this shaky feeling, not understanding and with this fear and hesitation! Now as this fast has ended and God has shown me what my next steps are and I have started opening my heart and I’m ready to say yes to whatever God has next for me and my family!
During the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, I really felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and do something different and actually physical. In the past, I have fasted Netflix and social media. I chose to fast those for the simple reason of clearing my mental space and filling it with truth and God’s word. This time was different. I chose to fast those mental things and also submit to a vegan diet for the 21 Days. I felt the Holy Spirit in such a tangible way every single day, especially in the morning during my worship time, because I was physically submitting to an intentional sacrifice. Giving up many of the things that would give me comfort after a stressful day or just after working in general and learning to cast all of that stress and anxiety on Him instead.
During the 21 day fast I chose to abstain from entertainment like Netflix and Hulu. At one of our Uprising groups during those 21 days God dropped some direction in my heart and within two weeks I was accepted to Liberty University. In May I will begin classes to obtain my second Bachelor’s degree—this time in Biblical and Educational Studies. Upon completing this degree, I believe God has called me to teach the Bible, possibly in a high school setting. Something I’ve always struggled with is putting my faith and trust in something (or someone) that I can’t see or feel. Since the fast ended I have literally felt the Holy Spirit fall on me. Although I have anxiety and hesitation, I am ready to pursue whatever God has set in front of me!
This year was much different for me when it came to our corporate 21 days of fasting. There was a weightiness to it as I felt desperation rising. I wanted God to move on behalf of our church and I needed Him to do something in my personal life as well. This year I knew God was asking me to do something much “harder” than I had ever done. If I can be honest, I was terrified and knew it was something I simply just could not do. During this time God showed Himself to be my physical sustainer. What I thought was impossible, God showed me otherwise. I felt faith rising as my fatigue began to fade away. During this time He brought about great clarity and taught me what it looked like to completely lean into Him. What a mighty God we serve! May l remain ever so mindful of this lesson now and forevermore on this journey set before me! I am His and He is mine.