“What? I can’t hear you. Are you on mute? I still can’t hear you!”
Those were my words of exasperation during a writer’s virtual retreat. Overworked and exhausted from teaching my own virtual class of 4th graders, I looked forward to the retreat. I knew that interruptions and technology glitches would ensue throughout the weekend. I tried several times and in different ways to connect my wireless headphones to my laptop. I would try at the beginning of a meeting and then give up because it didn’t work. I would adjust my settings during a break and try again. Everyone had advice but nothing was working. I could hear from my laptop’s speakers, but I could also hear the dog barking, the laundry dinging, and the kids running throughout the house!
I finally gave up trying to trouble-shoot my problems and decided it was time to start over and completely disconnect my headphones from my laptop. I had to make several clicks to make my Airpods “forget” my computer so I could re-install them and “pair” them again. And you know what? IT WORKED! It was at that moment I realized a great truth about listening to others & connecting with God – sometimes you have to disconnect to reconnect!
I had to forget everything I thought I knew and disconnect before I could reconnect again. With my headphones on, and my attention refocused, everything was quiet in my surroundings. I was connected to the speaker; I could focus on the meeting, and be intentional to the tasks before me.
Isn’t that what we all need to do in a new year? To disconnect from our busy “To Do” lists; disconnect from the schedules & events we chase after; disconnect from social media; disconnect from anything that leads to us being weary, worn, and weepy? Don’t we all long to reconnect with our family? Reconnect with ourselves? Reconnect to a slower pace of life? Reconnect with each other? Reconnect with God?
How do we disconnect from our busy, hectic daily lives in order to reconnect?
2 Corinthians 5:7 states, “we walk by faith.” When we walk by faith, we choose to tune our hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s Word. As followers of Christ, we aren’t created to build our lives around things that have no eternal significance. Rather than pursue the same things the world pursues, we are created to focus on our walk with the Lord. It is a choice we have to make. But how do we do that? I believe we can do this if we walk by F. A. I. T. H.
F – FASTING
F is for fasting. This does not necessarily have to mean food. It can be anything that distracts you from rest & renewal. With a heading of “Return to the Lord”
Joel 2:12 claims, “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;” Put simply, what do you need to give up so that you can return to the Lord? Whatever is the biggest distractor to peace & rest, start your fast there. Be specific. Be willing to admit what your “time wasters” are. Here’s the real challenge…. be willing to make better choices.
A daily life of peace & calm is countercultural to our American lifestyle. Our schedules and agendas have made us more worldly-weary and spiritually depleted and less Christ-like followers who walk in His ways!
During many days of quarantine, I found myself binge watching Netflix! Do you know how much Bible studying, reading, or writing I could have done in that amount of time? I was finally convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was watching too much TV.
I had a choice to make – was I going to honor the time I had been given during quarantine and give up my binge watching to make better use of my time? Or was I going to choose to ignore the nudging of the Holy Spirit?
I chose to fast from binge watching TV. Now, in the times when I would normally watch TV, I choose either to work on my writing or I choose to watch a Bible study video online, and some days, I choose to do nothing. Nothingness is not a bad thing. It gives us space and time to exhale and decompress. Give yourself permission to do this! Let the nudging of the Holy Spirit lead you.
What are you going to fast? How long does your fast need to be? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you are fasting!! I’m so excited to read what you share!
Look for next week’s post about the Letter A! What do you think it will be about?