I had been away for a few days and had fantastic meals available in generous portions regularly. Obviously I stuffed myself. Upon returning back, I decided to fast and pray. My stomach began to growl and grumble. It was clear that my usual fast of 24 hours wasn’t going to work. I knew there was no point trying.
As a practice, I try to avoid eating breakfast or at least I have it late. You may be asking “What? Isn’t that the most important meal of the day?” I respond, “Says who?”!! Well, truth be told, I have a rather high metabolism. Keeping my weight isn’t easy, despite wanting to put on. The more I eat, the hungrier I get and thus my focus becomes food. “Hmm what shall I eat next?” I then eat, nibble, eat, nibble… the whole day! My digestive system gets all the attention and my body protests, screaming out for sleep. Consequently my brain decides to go on a strike and REFUSES to think making me rather unproductive. I simply can’t write then! Mental blocks!
Ironically however, when I skip breakfast, I generally can go longer hours without getting hungry. My focus gets shifted away from food. This of course equates more time with God and more work getting done! It reminds me of the following verse: “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them” (Luke 12:29).
- What do we fret about on a daily basis?
- What is your heart set on today?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
- What are you treasuring today? Money? Family? Food? Prestige? Ministry? Qualifications? A Name for yourself?
This brings me to the concept of ‘fasting’ and praying. We decide to take time away from the things that usually consume our mind – it could be food or chocolates or coffee, television, kids’ studies, the computer, internet or even facebook! When the mind is freed, the spirit is free – away from the powering thoughts of the mind – to be able to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying.
- What thought dominates your mind whenever you want to spend time with God?
- What do feel you ought to do first?
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). This applies to other things in our lives too. We need to keep balancing family, aspects of life, ministry and our relationship with God. This order needs to be re-arranged with our relationship with God becoming the foundation. And yes, I totally agree – this is ultra difficult. However we need to remember Jesus’ response to Martha’s complaint that her sister Mary wasn’t helping her to get the things that ought to be done but rather sitting at the feet of Jesus.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42)
- If you were to put your name instead of Martha’s, what do you think Jesus would tell you today that you are worried and upset about? Remember that Martha was distracted by the preparations that HAD to be made!
Could any of these things wait? Are they really really something that are in dire need? I think of the pressure that was put on us as children to score perfect marks. Anything less was a ‘failure’. However, were those perfect marks essential? Isn’t it really about the knowledge and skills to cope with life? Achieving good marks is important but does it need to be perfect to the point of scolding the children and the children feeling so insecure and as a failure. What are we fretting about? In the process whose emotions are we damaging?
Our stress and struggles begin when we are striving for our misplaced priorities
or rather good priorities with wrong weights!
If our focus is on God, then we will do what He wants us to do and He will give us the grace and strength to do so.