Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. ~Joel 2:12-13
Today marks my 18th day for a 21 day reading about fasting and that was part of the verse for the day. I’m actually going on my 5th week of consecutive fasting and 8th overall since December. I fasted in December because of that emotionally trying time- I thought God would work my situation out and He did… just not with the answer I thought He was going to at first. This month however, I’ve been fasting because I felt God want me to go on a 40 day journey with Him. To dedicate my first 40 days to Him and see what happens. To be a living sacrifice to Him and worship Him with my life.
On this journey it’s been incredibly changing. I’ve completely changed many of my habits- I haven’t touched hulu.com, I’ve barely watched any movies (except the Ultimate Gift and Facing the Giants), and so many things that used to matter to me (facebook, games on facebook, IMing/texting) have disappeared from my life and been replaced with Him. Experts say that if you can get past week 5, you are much more likely to have created a habit that will stick. With God’s strength, I want to keep up this path I’m taking towards Him. All my life I’ve known Jesus, He’s even used me for miracles and words of encouragement beyond what I should understand/know, and yet I lacked discipline towards Him.
A fundamental characteristic of mine is that I am created to push through things. When I was in high school I helped create a yearly food drive that lasted long after I graduated, in college I started a program that continues to today, and there are many other instances in which I helped start something that was lasting. It’s just who I am and what I’ve been created for… however, along with this comes a weakness to just start something and leave it behind- sometimes half finished. This lack of discipline was because when I focus, I REALLY focus… but when I lose interest I quickly and completely lose interest and move on to the next thing that catches my eye.
God has been using this time in my life to mold me to gain discipline and to stick with things even when it isn’t so fun, even when I don’t feel 100% passionate about it. There was a whole week in December in which I couldn’t feel Him. For a whole week I prayed three times a day and did it just because I knew He had told me to do so, but I felt nothing inside when I prayed. And yet… unlike before… I actually still prayed! At the end of the week God came back strongly in my life and revealed things to me- not all very good!- but also that for the first time I was learning how to STAND in HIM. I recently read a blog entry on wordpress about standing in Him and it was so perfect for that day. Most of my life I have HATED just standing. I want to either leave or push forward but go stir-crazy just waiting on Him. And yet… it seems He’s trying to teach me how to do just that even now.
And so I come to the point of today’s post- there are times where God wants us to stand and there are times where He moves us to action. After my week of silence God broke me and showed me just how wrong I had been acting the last few months prior to. Sure, I was going to church and even singing on the platform at times, but I had created a space for something beside Him in my heart and He was jealous. My heart was ripped to shreds by the events of early/mid December and yet in that time God held my heart, He showed me how wrong some of my actions had been, and then He loved me back together… but into a NEW creature!
This God we serve is so full of love and mercy for us. I’ll just say it now- I was in a destructive relationship. We originally had been a couple for Him… but then slowly focused on each other instead of the One who had brought us together and the results were disastrous. Less than two months after he told me he had picked out a ring and was just working to buy it, he dumped me in one of the most painful ways possible. The Godly man who I fell in love with had started turning into a controlling, yelling person that I didn’t know but still had given my heart away to. God told me I couldn’t dump him for all his life people had abandoned him and He wouldn’t let another person who could hear His voice do that to him… but with his actions he was slowly killing my spirit. The first time he told me I was beautiful was the last day I ever saw him- the day he asked for a break. Although we never did THAT sin, God had called me to a personal standard of not kissing until I married and I, wanting to please him more than God, gave in and then some. I gave him almost everything of me and all he did was toss me away. This God we serve though- He picked up the shattered pieces of my heart and created a new one. One that is His and His alone. One that He will NEVER throw away or mistaken for some cheap imitation instead of the jewel that He handcrafted. One that He will allow another to HELP hold, when we’re both ready.
I admit all this to tell you my dear readers that God loves you. If you’ve done something that you know He isn’t pleased with- rend your heart and find that not only will He take it and sew it back together- but with His love He will create a new one that is pure, holy, and a true treasure for someone to cherish in God’s timing. I pray that you all find the perfect peace, joy, and love that I have recently re-found and actually even felt on a deeper level in Jesus Christ when you give the bits of your heart to Him. God bless you all.