Tag Archives: fasting

Lent: A Fruitful Desert.

We often speak of Lent in terms of a desert. For 40 days, Jesus withdrew to the desert to fast and pray. We do the same, though figuratively speaking. For the 40 days of Lent, we devote ourselves to increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

For awhile now, I’ve realized that I need to cut down on the noise in my life. The sources of that noise are many: various social media platforms, music in the car and at home, and reading many news stories that either leave me disturbed or are simply pointless in the grand scheme of things. This is basically what my Lent is revolving around: reducing the “noise” in my life in order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Though being deprived by fasting of various types resembles going into the desert, there is fruit. We are being pruned, old habits cut away so that there is room to bear new fruit. Our hunger pangs can point us to something–Someone— greater. As we follow Jesus into the desert, it’s a great way to grow in intimacy with Him. Letting go of some of our earthly delights invites in His heavenly love. The time that I spent on the noise now holds silence instead, a perfect opportunity for Jesus to speak to me or I to speak to Him. My heart is being freed up to better love Him and others.

How’s your Lent going? Is there anything you’d like me to keep in prayer? I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you!

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Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

 

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Fasting and Intimacy.

The people of the Bible fasted at pivotal points. Fasting is a practice in Jewish tradition, and fasting was also often practiced in moments of desperation and crying out to God. In 2

saul
Saul’s conversion

Samuel, David repented of his sin and fasted in hopes that his child (conceived out of wedlock) might be healed and live. In the New Testament, Saul was bent on destroying those who preached Christ. After hearing Jesus on the road to Damascus, he fasted for 3 days (Acts 9). He is then healed of physical blindness (that occurred after hearing Christ–though it’s implied that he was also spiritually blind and gained spiritual sight). Saul goes on to become St. Paul–one of the most zealous people to ever live for Christ. And, of course, Jesus fasted. In Acts, the early Christians also fasted and prayed before praying over others and sending them out on mission. Now, Christians all over the world practice fasting.

In my own life, fasting seemed daunting. In the Catholic Church, there are two days that Fasting bookare prescribed for fasting. Even those two days of the year are very difficult for me physically. Recently, I read a book that helped me to see the history, benefits, hows, and whys of fasting. It gave stories of people’s positive and negative experiences with various types of fasting.  The book was  “Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites” by Lynne Baab. My eyes were opened to the benefits of fasting and how it can bring one into greater intimacy with the Lord. Fasting leaves an open space for God. It disciplines our bodies and minds to grow in the Spirit. It detaches us from the things of the world in order to better be attuned to the Father. I was able to ponder other types of fasts: for example, fasting from social media, jewelry, or certain types of foods (instead of all food).

I am making an effort to fast from listening to music. Perhaps that seems a silly fast. For me, however, it is necessary. (And maybe you, too!) I really like listening to music, but it brings a lot of noise to my life. I want to hear the the still, small voice of God. I want to leave an opening for the Holy Spirit to speak to me. I don’t want to hear songs on repeat in my head. Of course, the Spirit can speak through music. I want to leave room to hear Him in the stillness, in sacred silence.  I desire to receive His love. My commute is now a time for a conversation with my Heavenly Father. I feel that even this short time in the car is preparing me better for the challenges ahead in the day. I walk into work in a better state of mind and clothed in the armor of God (Eph. 6). When I blast music on the car ride, I don’t walk into work with the same peace. I am so thankful for this new knowledge of fasting, and the grace to implement it!

When are some times to fast?

  • When you are struggling with decisions or confused, not at peace
  • When you are struggling with habitual sins and habits you can’t seem to break
  • When loved ones are in trouble
  • When you are longing for intimacy with God
  • When your country or another region of the world is in turmoil

What are your experiences of fasting? What types of fasting do you practice?

Are You Ready for Your Best Lent Ever?

Lent. It’s coming in only 3 days! Have you given any thought to Lent, and what your hopes are? Are you struggling with what to give up, or what to do in general?

Maybe you’ve given up soda for the past 5 years, or 10. Or chocolate. Or whatever. You give it up, maybe imbibing on Sundays, and then, after Easter, you can have your soda again. Life is back to normal.

Don’t you want to go deeper, to come out of Lent renewed and in a closer relationship with Christ? Wouldn’t it be great to approach Easter as a stronger Christian, renewed in your commitment to Christ in the days to come?

This year is your chance to do something for Lent and make it happen!

Best Lent Ever (1)

Dynamic Catholic is rolling out a new program that will give you a focus this Lent.  Each week will have a theme and guidance around that theme, including how to act upon the theme, and a prayer. The tenets of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will be focused on, as they are integral to the season of Lent. Other aspects of living the faith will also be explored.

Are you interested? Head to BestLentEver.com and learn more! I am looking forward to making this my best Lent ever! How about you?

7 Quick Takes-Staying Healthy & Praying for Peace

I decided to hop on the 7 Quick Takes bandwagon this week! It will probably not be every week, but I’m happy to share with you some thoughts about staying healthy, peace, and Christmas this Friday!

1. Today was my last day of work–I’ll be off all of next week and able to celebrate Christmas with my family! What a gift that will be. I’m ready to re-charge my batteries and spend quality time with people I love, while also celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ! I hope that you are also able to have some time re-charge, and most of all, simply reflect on Christ!

2. I am loving the On Guard® blend! doterra on guard (photo copyright of
dōTERRA)

Each morning I’ve been rubbing a little on before work. It smells so pleasant, being a blend of wild orange, cloves, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary! It’s very soothing, along with its powerful immune-system boosting properties. I credit it (along with other factors) with helping me stay healthy–it seems that nearly everyone at my office have battled sickness, but I’m still standing strong! (Thank You, God!)

3. It’s difficult to eat healthy around the holidays. It seems that celebration always = a lot of sugar. Excess sugar is not good for your immune system. Remember, moderation is key! Being careful about your sugar intake can help keep your immune system strong. Also, drink lots of water with sweets–it will help clear out the sugar from your system.

4. Look for the next post in my wellness series this weekend! It will focus on mental/emotional wellness. I posted the spiritual wellness post earlier in the week. The physical wellness post will come after Christmas. I hope that this series, though the posts may seem basic in some aspects, can help people live a life of greater wellness!

5. Pray, pray for the world, my friends. Fast if you can. There is so much violence and hatred. I’m not going to link to any news stories, because I’m sure you’ve heard some of them. It is more important now than ever that we turn to prayer. We cannot change hearts; only God can. Trust that by your prayers you are helping to bring about peace in some way.

6.  Personally, I like the peace prayer of St. Francis. Gandhi wisely quipped that we should, “become the change you wish to see in the world.” By being people that carry Christ in our hearts to the world, we can help to bring about greater peace. Create a sanctuary of peace in your heart, a manger, that always holds Christ. In this way, you will bring His peace to those around you.

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7. Are you ready for Christmas? It is coming so quickly! More than ever, this world needs our Savior! As you wrap gifts and sign cards, don’t forget to make room in your heart for Him. After all, the birth of Baby Jesus is what we celebrate!