The SoulFast Chronicles Week 1: Are you listening?
Happy new month!
You may have realised by now that I absolutely love new beginnings, no matter how small. March is the beginning of Spring, and Easter, which represents the ultimate new beginning, is also this month. This week, I want to take the time to update you on how things have been going with the SoulFast. This should be the part where I talk about how I woke up, happily stopped eating and everything fell into place.
In case you missed it, I previously talked about how we tend to obsess over new things without really understanding their significance. I do this when reading books, feverishly flipping through pages, with little time to digest themes or read between the lines. Trying to get to the finish line, without going through the training process. It was the same when it came to Lent and fasting in general; even though I had been feeling the need to reset myself since last year, I told myself that temporarily saying goodbye to social media and sweet ‘n’ salty popcorn was good enough. I knew that God wouldn’t force me to do anything I didn't want to do, so I kept postponing it. As the feeling to commit increased, the more I ignored it... until one day my body started to reject food completely. I literally couldn’t get anything down without feeling violently ill. (If you don’t slow down in life, life itself will definitely slow you down). It was a very strong and physical reminder that fasting isn’t about impressing God, being a Good Person or doing the right thing, it's purely for our own benefit. It’s an exercise in personal growth, one of the many activities in this life which is designed to help us to reveal our true selves.
For the past six months, I’ve been trying to figure out what the next phase of my life could be, and the struggle has been realer than ever. In ignoring the nudge to declutter, my questions multiplied, and the cloud of haze that invaded my mind grew thicker. As mulled over my spider-web of questions, a single thought danced across my mind:
What if the answers you're looking for are on the other end of this fast?
It dropped squarely into my lap. It felt different from all my other thoughts, it had a carefree, unimposing authority about it. I had no smart comeback, the question was loaded with an irresistible scent of exploration and discovery, what did I have to lose?
So now I'm on my SoulFast journey, committed, expectant and all in. Since starting the thick cloud of questions is slowly thinning out. I can't explain why but the white noise is being silenced. I haven’t had all my questions answered completely, but each day is filled with a greater sense of understanding about this God-life.
In the midst of this discovery, I started to think about you.
Do you have a recurring thought or feeling that you “should probably do ________________”, but for some reason, you've put it off? This might just be the perfect time to get started.
So many of us think that God only speaks to us about major life events or to special extra-holy people (none exist by the way). But I believe that God speaks to all of us, all the time - regardless of what we believe. The difference is whether we are listening, even when it doesn't look or sound like what we would expect. The story of the gold coins springs to mind:
You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities
While this principle is usually taught in the context of money management or using our natural abilities, I suspect that it can also be applied to hearing God’s voice. Most of us want answers, but what if listening in the 'small' moments is what equips us for the large ones?
Take me for example: what does responding to the persistent, yet gentle urge to fast have to do with bringing me closer to where I need to be in life?
Absolutely nothing. Everything apparently, but I would have never known if I hadn't listened.
I believe that in our lives, the big things start to fall into place when we start paying attention to what we're being told about the small, less glamorous things. As a wise man once said, ‘you can only connect the dots backwards’.
So this March, I challenge you to act on that quiet, confident voice that has been on your mind*. Let’s say to God, speak, we’re listening, you never know what you might discover.
Welcome to the adventure.
*Always check that what you're doing is in line with the spirit [the deeper more significant meaning] of the Bible
Image credit: hillsong.com