Sunday, January 26, 2014

At the Close of the 21-Day Fast

Unless you put prayer with your fasting, there is no need to fast. If it doesn't mean anything to you, it won't mean anything to God. ~Jentezen Franklin

Here am I...at the close of the 21-day fast and I am still wrestling with this "love myself" thing. I now well aware of the depths of this problem, I recognize it in my thoughts, but it seems to remain unresolved, not that God is done with me, but I had this hope....

Frankly, I had a very difficult time praying during this fast, more to the point I feel I failed in that respect. For the corporal part, we were to be praying about this year as a season of acceleration, multiplication, and increase based on prophetic words given to our pastor. The goals are local outreach, global missions, and Encounter 2014 (which is an intense spiritual retreat, I think). I wanted to pray about these things, but my mind wandered more than usual or I kept running head first into this "love myself" thing as if God wants me to work through this with Him the most...and it did not help that I seem to want to avoid God on top of it, which He often reminded me of what I was doing as I did it.

I have always thought of myself as conceited and selfish, and I still think that. On the other hand, I feel that I have no worth except in the things that I do or provide for others. I think certain things contributed to this besides my childhood, like many of the churches I was in. This might explain why I have hurt feelings left over from some churches and even anger towards some church philosophies: mainly the ones that seem to beat down their congregation and perhaps, in particular, women. It is not that I disagree with the scriptures used, but just how they were used to shame and beat congregations into submission. This in contrast to encouraging people to learn to listen to God themselves and act on His leading rather than relying completely on pastoral leadership as the sole mouthpiece of God. Even some of the church members that talk the right talk, with amens and hallelujahs in the service, seem to not hear God's words in their daily lives and frowned on those that did.

So, I hid away in those "safe" churches and kept quiet most of the time. I tried to fit what they expected of me as a member, as a woman, and as a wife. Part of me used to scream inside that I was as much of a human being as any man, that I had worth, that I hear God speak to me who is the greatest authority, but after awhile even my internal screaming became silent and I became even more complacent just to get along with everyone else. It still did not win me any friends, so why did I bother to try? There was only one church that really showed my husband and me how much we were appreciated and loved, and would be missed when we moved from Florida. The good news is we are now in a church that is very like it: only nearly 17 years later did we get back what we were missing, but the church is only three years old so...I guess we had to wait. These people get into your life and invite you into theirs. There is a greater sense of community than we had before.

Anyway, this is not meant to be a another gripe about churches, but rather I am just analyzing the influences in my life trying to identify what is my issue with "loving myself" and what that really means from God's perspective. I have always been taught that loving yourself is wrong; loving others more is right; loving God the most is ideal. That self-sacrifice is the greatest good. That hating your life means you love God more. If you are last then you will be first...all those humbling things that Jesus Himself said. However, when the visiting pastor was praying over me months ago and was given the message to give to me that I think I am being humble but I am not, that if I did not love myself I could not really love others, I was so very confused and highly disturbed. I thought I was doing that part right but here this man was telling me that I should take off my sunglasses to see that it really was daytime not night time like I thought. It just flipped my world, but I was not ready to flip with it...and I am not sure I still am. And I do not know the source of this, but there seems to be a measure of fear involved with this thing also. 

So, here am I at the end of this fast...I feel I did not pray as I should have, as long as I should have, or about what I should have, nor did I get a final resolution about healing my heart, but I also know that sometimes what I need comes after the fast has ended, so here am I, my Lord, hoping this healing of my heart is yet coming.

~ My Lord, reveal to me what I need to understand so that it will heal my heart and I will learn to love as You wish of me. ~

2 comments:

  1. Maybe if you didn't pray as much as you had planned or hoped, much good has come from it and maybe you still need to process it. I am sure that what you need will come after the fast and I look forward to hearing about it! Thanks for sharing this part of your journey.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.