Tuesday, September 3, 2013

what i want

This month our church is embarking on a month of prayer and fasting.
I have always thought that fasting is for those who are holy.
So clearly it was not for me.  I've got a lot of sins.
But in the past few years, I have realized that fasting is not for the holy.
It is for the desperate. For those who need God to move and work and do miracles on their behalf.
And, hey...that sounds a whole lot more like me. So I was in.
My brother-in-law Van says that fasting is a physical way of saying,
"God, I want what you want more that what I want."
Because let's just be honest. What I want is a chocolate bar.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, people.
I don't fast perfectly. I tend to fast in fits and starts.
I tend to get cranky and judge people who eat potato chips in front of me.
But I've decided to make myself do it anyway.
Because God always teaches me something in the process when I say "no" to
myself and "yes" to him.
The desire for chocolate does not ebb...I won't lie.
But the desire for God seems to outweigh what my taste buds crave.
Last fall, I was fasting and praying for my friend, Shelly.
That God would heal her from cancer.
I did Daniel fasts. I did full fasts.
I asked God to please, please, please, heal Shelly.
And He did heal her. In heaven.
And I was a wreck. All my fasting was for naught.
Or at least that is what it felt like.
When Scott invited me to join him in a Daniel fast a few months later, I declined.
I told him, "I've lost my fasting mojo." And I had.
I have not fasted since.
Until today.
Jesus has been working on me a little at a time.
He has been so gentle...so patient....so loving...
As I have wailed and fumed and questioned.
He has shown me little glimpses of my heart.
Wanting Shelly to be healed wasn't bad or wrong, it was good and right.
But I left no room in my heart for God to not respond in the way I wanted Him to.
I was putting limits on Him with my prayers.
I may have been trying to strong arm God a little.
I know that never ends well.
I told you upfront....I'm not that holy.
But really...I didn't want what He wanted more than what I wanted.
I wanted what I wanted. I wanted Shelly to live.
And I think this is a thread that has run throughout my life.
I want what I want when I want it.
In my heart, I want to live a life that shouts, "God, I want what you want!"
But I usually end that shout with the whisper, "if it's what I want."
I have known myself long enough to know that I can't change me.
But I have known Jesus long enough to know that He can.
And so I am taking a page from King David's play book this morning.
This is my prayer:
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
A renew a right spirit within me.
This is what I would love God to do in me.
I think He is already working on it.
Because it is what He wants, too.


Steve Taylor said...

As always, I appreciate and am blessed by your words, Sue. I've been struck recently by Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mountain (Matt 6:16ff) where he remarks on fasting by saying, "When you fast. . . ." No explicit command, no rules or regulations, just "when you do it, do it with the right spirit." God help us to seek with right spirit the recreation of a clean heart!

treebottom said...

QUIT LOOKING INTO THE WINDOWS OF MY LIFE...Not really. Keep at it. Actually, I appreciate you quantifying what I'm living. Thanks.

susanna said...

Steve - that is so good! Now I want to go read the Sermon on the Mount! I love that! Treebottom - sorry for looking in the windows of your life. :) It's not on purpose! :) God bless you and you keep on keepin' on. It's good to know we are all on this journey together, isn't it?

jenny said...

So good, Sue! I can totally relate. I love your honesty and transparency. I'm pretty sure everyone who has ever prayed and/or fasted can read this and feel a little better, realizing we're not alone. He doesn't always answer the way we want, and I don't always understand Him, but I trust Him. As always, your writing is a blessing.

susanna said...

Jenny, thanks for your encouragement! It is so good to know that we are not alone isn't it? Every day with Him is a new adventure! I love seeing how you trust him...it inspires me!