by Emily Conrad
January got interesting on the 5th.
I mentioned in a previous post that I joined a 40-day sugar fast. The 5th marked the day I first heard about it from a friend. The group fast was scheduled to start on the 6th.
When I clicked the link my friend sent, I didn’t know what I was in for.
The sugar fast is organized and led by Wendy Speake, and you can check out the website that convinced me to sign on here.
There, you’ll find this line: “On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ.”
That. I wanted that.
So, I committed. I ordered the book. (Yup, there’s a book. So, though the group fast is well underway, you could do this at any time, if you feel so led!)
The next day, I dropped sweets.
What followed (and continues still) is a journey that’s been both convicting and life-giving.
I quickly learned I’d relied on desserts and other sugary goodies a lot more than I’d realized. About halfway through the fast, I also caught myself filling my sugar void with coffee instead of Jesus.
I didn’t want to endure the fast and yet miss out on the blessing of growing closer to God (and had thought of wanting to temporarily cut out coffee in the past anyway), so out went coffee, too.
After dropping each, my attitude plummeted for days. I wallowed. It’s embarrassing, really. That conviction mounted when I realized I could more easily skip my morning devotions than my morning coffee. I tended to miss sugar more than time spent with the Creator of the Universe.
Talk about wrong priorities.
Meanwhile, the women of my church are going through the study Seeking Him by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Tim Grissom. The study drew my attention to the message to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2.
Their works were good. They had knowledge, persistence, and endurance. But…
But I have this against you: You have departed from your first love! Therefore, remember from what high state you have fallen and repent! Do the deeds you did at the first; if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place—that is, if you do not repent. Revelation 2:4-5 NET
They’d lost their first love! And if I was struggling so to connect with God while giving up a couple of luxuries, my first love wasn’t in the shape it ought to be, either.
One of the questions in the study asked us to name the verbs the Ephesians were assigned to rectify the problem.
How surprising for me that one of those verbs was “do.” From the sounds of it, the Ephesians were doing enough, weren’t they?
But then I thought of my other relationships and the work that goes into maintaining them. Spending time together. Talking. Sharing adventures. When I have a good relationship with someone, I depend on them. I turn to them for comfort.
Some of that, I was much better at doing with coffee and sugar than with God, especially in the day-to-day little moments.
By giving up sweets and coffee, I’ve been learning to better seek this kind of relationship with God. I’ve been spending more time in His word and in prayer. I’ve been forced to depend more on Jesus to get through the day. To turn to Him when I’m hungry and tired and about to lose my temper. When I’m at the grocery store. When I walk by a coffee shop without turning in. When I’m trying to discern what to do with my time—when and what to post to the blog, what story to revise, and how to complete those tasks.
It’s been good. God is good.
He doesn’t call us closer and then leave us alone to find our way. He is the Good Shepherd who leads us. He is a faithful God of restoration and renewal.
Though this fast is difficult, I know it will be worth it. I don’t want to depend on anything as much as I depend on Christ.
The little moments of my day are much better spent with Jesus than on coffee and sugar, that’s for sure. When I bring those things back into my life, I hope those flavors will always remind me where true hope, joy, and comfort is found.
Not in a cookie jar or a coffee pot, but in the nail-pierced hands of my Savior.
I don’t know if God might invite you to do a fast. But I do believe He’s leading me to share this fasting journey with you because He does want to invite you closer.
None of us have arrived yet. We can always benefit from a greater dependence on God.
Jesus beckons us closer. Individually. Personally. To share the little moments of our day with us, to lead us to green pastures, to teach us His ways, to glorify His great name.
May our souls be hungry enough to follow.
PS – I didn’t blog last week, but I did spruce up a couple of the short stories I offer on this site. Have you noticed that tab? The Valentine’s Day romance “Thirty One and Falling” is waiting for you there! That short story is free–no email list sign up or anything. It’s just long enough to offer a little escape, a little romance, and, I hope, a glimpse of the greatest love of all.
PPS – I was on Seriously Write earlier this week with a post meant to encourage writers. You can read that here.
PPPS – As of 3/25/20, Wendy Speake just emailed to announce the pre-order of her next book, The 40-Day Social Media Fast.
May our souls be hungry enough to follow. #givemeJesus