by Emily Conrad
Even as an introvert, I value time with others. I enjoy my family’s game nights on Fridays, I’d been looking forward to celebrating my birthday with them, and I usually spend one-on-one time with a friend at some point during the week.
On Monday, just as I longed to spend time with my mom and sister, our governor announced new restrictions. Wisconsin joined the shelter-in-place states.
That launched me into a bout of self-pity. My birthday was this week, and I didn’t want to spend it alone–I was already feeling lonely enough!
As I worked through my feelings, I remembered one thing Wendy Speake taught in her book, The 40-Day Sugar Fast, which I read as I participated in the fast she led earlier this year: we need to turn to Jesus for comfort.
Even now, Lord? She wrote that book long before quarantine became an everyday word around here.
Of course, even now.
The challenge is I don’t often feel like Jesus is right with me. When I long for company, it’s usually the kind that I can talk to and hear an audible response from. I wish for someone to shop with or walk with or eat with.
Relying on God for company is hard.
But, by the next day I already felt worlds better. God showed me ways I can connect with people. I can text. I can call. I can video chat. I can post little pictures of my day and interact in comments.
More importantly, He also met with me by drawing my attention back to a project I’ve let sit unfinished for–I suspect now–just a time as this. A project I’m excited to share with you in hopes it’ll help you as much as it’s helped me.
During the sugar fast, Speake offered a printable featuring a different Bible verse for each of the forty days, coordinating with the devotions in her book.
I kept those verses next to my bed. Since I eventually added coffee to my fast, I would long for my warm, sweet beverage as a reason to get going in the morning. Having those verses right there helped me change from a “but first, coffee” mindset to a “but first, Jesus” mindset.
After the fast ended and I was out of new verses in the original printable, I missed the routine. So, I decided to make my own. I even enlisted help by asking for favorite verses from followers of my Facbeook page. (Were you part of that? Thank you! If you missed out, I’d love to connect with you over there.)
You all had a lot of good suggestions, and I thought of and/or came across lots of other verses I wanted to include. I enjoyed working on it, but creating the printable became a bit of a large project, and I eventually lost steam.
Until recent events reminded again to seek Jesus for comfort. And then I saw the test printables I’d made. Reviewing the verses and adding to the collection during this time of isolation and uncertainty refreshed me by focusing my mind on truth.
Scripture reminded me of what’s important. It reminded me of God’s love. It reminded me that He’s always with me, that He has a purpose, and that in Him, we have hope.
So, I finished the project.
The printable includes 66 verses meant to encourage and inspire believers. I’ve also included one page with blank cards so you can write in verses that strike you. I’ll be keeping my stack of them next to my bed again, so that first thing in the morning, before I check my phone and before I get up to make coffee, I can set my mind on things above.
If that sounds good to you, too, you can snag your copy here. Maybe you’ll find them helpful as a prompt to start or end your day with Jesus. Or perhaps you’ll consider looking them up and digging deeper, since it’s important to understand the context of individual verses.
However you use them, I pray these will be a blessing. I pray you’ll draw close to God and find comfort in Him.
May His peace wash over you and His love strengthen you.
What habits and ideas are helping you set your mind on things above right now? I’d love to hear!
P.S. The cards were unexpectedly uneven the first time I cut them out after printing. I found the spacing of the lines worked best for me to select to print “actual size” rather than “fit to page.”
P.P.S. I blogged more about my experience with the 40-day sugar fast here. And I just got an email from Wendy Speake announcing the pre-order of her next book, The 40-Day Social Media Fast. I haven’t read that one, but I did get a lot out of the sugar fast and its accompanying book.
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