Three years ago, I was sitting at a coffee table in Lithuania with some new friends. One girl boldly stated, “I have an idea. I’m going to start ‘February Fasting.’ Let’s each pick something to fast from for the next four weeks.” Some of the girls shrugged her off. I, however, began to ponder this concept.
I decided to try something abstract and fast from my time.
Most people look at me like I have two heads when I present that concept. But I found it to be wonderfully challenging and life-changing. Every single day, I went to a quiet couch, turned off notifications, set a timer for 10 minutes, and closed my eyes as I entered into my secret place with Jesus.
It was hard at first. As a college student, I never really felt like I had time to sit around. The first week, my brain rarely quieted down in those 10 minutes, so I felt like I spent more time pushing away thoughts than I did connecting with Jesus.
But then my brain got used to the concept of meditation. I began to look forward to those moments of peace and rest, away from the crazy reality of life in a foreign country. Eventually, I sat there for 30 minutes on occasion, savoring the sweetness of His presence. I never thought that was possible at the beginning of the month.
Unfortunately, I dropped that habit shortly after the end of February 2014. However, I recently avowed to resume February Fasting again this year.
I am presently involved in a Bible study that looks at the spiritual disciplines and how we can practically apply them to our lives. The most important one is spending time in God’s word. I already read through the entire Bible in 2013, but I’ve been wanting to do it again – just differently. I was pondering buying a journaling Bible or a chronological Bible or a study Bible targeted towards someone in my life stage. Then at Passion 2017, every single attendee was handed a free Bible! It’s called The Jesus Bible, and it illustrates how various passages point towards Jesus’ coming and what he sacrificed for all humanity. Plus the margins are extra wide, so I can totally journal in my Bible. I’m pretty excited.
My tangible plan is to wake up half an hour earlier every day this month to spend time working through a Bible reading plan (if I fail to get up early one morning, I won’t let myself watch Netflix until after I’ve spent time with my Bible). David Mathis writes that we should find something to apply to our lives, however small, from every encounter with the Word. To make sure I’m not rushing through, I’m going to creatively illustrate or letter a verse that stood out to me or a concept I’m taking away.
I remember the last time I completed this challenge, I began to experience incredibly painful tension headaches every single day, starting February 2nd. Coincidence? I think not. I am definitely hesitant about what challenges will come my way this month, but I am also eager to delve into God’s word and get to know his character better as I discern His will. That is a far greater reward and completely worth the temporary pain.
What do you think? Are you willing to fast from something this month in order to grow closer to God? Let me know!