It’s funny re-reading this post from 2012 today as I would probably entitle it “When Things Don’t Go So Well During Your Fast”. There are plenty of reasons to feel agitated – some of which are physical, particularly at the beginning when your body is going through caffeine and sugar withdrawal. If you read my previous post about What You Can Eat on the Daniel Fast, you know I had to make some adjustments in order to hear from God and get out of my own deprivation mindset … that and the whopping headache that left me without focus or a clear thought in my head, except for COFFEE! But there are other things that come up even when you’ve handled the food part of the fast well. As God shows you things He perhaps wants to change in you or develop in your character, the view isn’t always pretty. And even though God’s intentions and desires are wholly for you, don’t forget there is an enemy that absolutely hates you fasting and trying to get closer to God. So be aware, be gentle with yourself, ask God what he is telling you through this, and cast out the enemy from your thoughts, your home, and tell him in bold terms to stop messing with you because you are His!
I began the Daniel Fast on January 8th for two reasons: to know what God wanted to accomplish through me, and to ask Him to spread His wide hand of healing through a family that has been on my heart.
At the end of last week, I was feeling antsy, disappointed, and unsettled. I was not feeling the same deep personal connection with God during this fast as I did last year, I wasn’t really hearing anything from Him about what He wanted to accomplish through me, and I confess I had growing doubts that healing was happening or would happen for the family I was praying for during my fast. I have to acknowledge that God had certainly done alot with personal relationships in my life the past few weeks, but that’s not what I was going for. Did you ever just feel like saying to God “Nice, but that wasn’t the question!”?
Saturday morning I got so worked up about a voice mail message from Pat at Verizon Wireless. I had submitted an online contact form 2 days earlier explaining that I had not received an electronic copy of my Verizon statement for the last two months, and asked that someone look into it and reinstate it. Well Pat left a message saying that she was following up on the email contact form I submitted, however she could not assist me because I did not provide the account password in my email. Seriously? If they wanted the password, they should have asked for it – even required it, on the submit form, right?
I was already annoyed, but Pat had left the 800 customer service telephone number as well as her direct line for me, so I decided to call her right back and get the issue taken care of. I dialed her number and it immediately went to voice mail, and it didn’t even give the courtesy “I’m assisting another customer …” message – it sounded like she wasn’t even planning on answering at that number. Well, I just flipped out. Seriously, that triggered something in me, that just set me off in an uncontrollable rant. And in my mind I heard a voice saying Don’t do it, but I couldn’t stop myself from leaving an angry voice mail message. I tried to soften the blow of my wrath by starting, “I’m sure it’s not your fault” … but even that was lost in what followed, “if a password is needed to assist me, the contact submit form should have stated that, and by the way, I didn’t get the response within the 24 hrs. promised, so I’m a little frustrated that I’ve waited two days, and I wasn’t expecting to get your voice mail when I called right back, I didn’t change anything on my account to stop the electronic bill from coming, so now I’m at the same place as I was before I contacted you online.”
I ended the call, steam coming out of my ears by then I’m sure, and an email notification popped up on my phone – guess who? That’s right – Pat from Verizon sent me a confirming email that she had attempted to reach me but could not assist me with my account because I did not provide the password, so she suggested I resubmit the contact form. I was livid, so angry at being dismissed without the issue being resolved – I had to calm down. There is nothing worse than being all jacked up about something and knowing at the same time that you are being totally irrational.
How do I spell relief? FOOD! I went to the kitchen to stuff down the rage and self-comfort with something to eat, but big problem – I’m on the Daniel Fast so there is absolutely no chocolate in the house! Like a prowling cat, I opened cabinets, the frig, scanned the countertops – nothing sweet, nothing naughty, only fruits, vegetables, boring whole grains & nuts, …. I was beside myself! I mean you have to get the irony of this moment – I am fasting to hear from God about what He wants to accomplish through me. I have pledged obedience, I have said “I will make disciples of all the nations, I will go to the ends of the earth for You” … and then “but please don’t make me deal with the incompetence of Verizon Wireless!”
I plopped in my green chair and wrote in my journal LORD, SHOW ME, WHY AM I SO UPSET? With everything (food) stripped away, sitting alone with my anger before God, I BECAME that wounded 10 year old girl, the middle of 5 kids when my mom died, who lost any consistent connection with an adult in my life, and I felt small, overlooked, unseen, insignificant. And then I BECAME the wounded 40-year old woman and wife who felt like my opinion didn’t count, like I didn’t matter, when my husband took a job in Boston against my will, and I isolated and became disconnected from friends because I was ashamed that I didn’t want to follow my husband to Boston. God brought me then to just a month ago when I BECAME that 58-year old Community Group leader feeling unimportant, not valued, and abandoned by members who attended small group regularly last year but hadn’t made it a priority this year.
So with Pat from Verizon Wireless, I responded and did what I did with every other relationship over the years when people weren’t available to me as I wanted them to be – I got mad, and I decided “If you don’t need me, I will not need you either. I will find someone else who will value me.” And I shut them out, made them wrong for letting me down, for making their attention inaccessible to me.
I don’t know what God wants to accomplish through me on a grand scale or in the days ahead, but I do know this for today: God often wants to do something IN us before He will do something THROUGH us or even FOR us.
Maybe you’ve been fasting and feeling discouraged, too, if you haven’t heard from God. Or maybe you feel like your prayers are not being answered, or even heard. I can assure you, dear one, that with His tender heart and craving for you to draw close, He is listening, He is longing to heal you, to grow you into all He designed you to be.
Is there something God wants to do IN you before He can do something THROUGH you or FOR you?
We must remember that the enemy hates our prayers and fasting, and wants nothing more than to distract us from our growing relationship with God by planting doubt and lies where we are most vulnerable. The chorus from Demi Lovato’s hit “Skyscraper” runs through my mind in response, and reminds me that our victory is in Christ – that is the truth for which there is no doubt.
You can take everything I have, you can break everything I am, like I’m made of glass, like I”m made of paper. Go on and try to tear me down, I will be rising from the ground, like a skyscraper, like a skyscraper!