When I was a child at the grocery store with my mom there would be an enormous array of goodies that overwhelmed me. I would start to beg. I want that, and I want this, and I want that. My mom’s response was always, “But you don’t need that.” Being the smart child I was, I changed my approach to, “I NEED this. I NEED that!”
We do the same with God.
We have a lot of “want” today masking itself as “need.” We live in a present day culture of never enough. Whatever we have never seems enough so we grab bigger handfuls. Brene Brown in her book “Daring Greatly” calls it the “age of scarcity.” Our closets are jammed, our bodies are over-stuffed, and according to Fast Company Magazine we will double our digital universe every two years until 2020 in an effort to quench our thirst for more knowledge. Maybe it’s time to turn off the flow for a bit? Maybe it’s time to detox? But where do you start?
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Think about a cleanse – think about starting with a fast.
There isn’t a known beginning to fasting. It’s a natural habit that many animals do instinctively in an effort to rest, balance, and even conserve energy at critical times. Early philosophers, thinkers, and healers fasted – Plato, Socrates Aristotle, and Jesus. Today every major religion practices fasting and it’s widely recognized by the health community for many healing benefits. Scientific evidence is proving each day that the future of medicine may lie in our energy patterns and the knowledge that we are more than just a biological process.
The word “fast” in the Bible comes from the Hebrew word “sum” meaning “to cover the mouth” and the Greek word is “nesteuo” meaning “to abstain.” There are many examples and references within the Bible about fasting. The bottom line is that as a leader there is merit to taking that journey from time to time.
Fasting is not always about food. What if you unplugged from all your media? What if you stopped Internet surfing for a long period or stopped playing that video game?
What do you REALLY need – not want? Are you pondering a major decision or choice in your life? We are in the season of Lent and for the Christian it has traditionally been a time of fasting or cleansing. Even a one day fast can be beneficial. I believe God honors and listens when we get serious about renewing our minds, cleansing ourselves, and denying something in our lives that may be distracting us from following His lead.
Finally if you do fast, the Bible says it’s between you and God. It’s not the time to FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram your empty plate. Matthew 6:16-18 says, ”Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
I don’t know about you, but I still get tempted in grocery stores. You truly never know what you will find – especially in those mega stores. I do know that when I have made a disciplined choice with regard to my mind, body, and spirit and trust God to meet the desires of my heart, I get all I need and reap some of the biggest and best treats I have ever found.
ABOUT THE WRITER: A media professional and award winning actress, Kathleen Cooke is a founding partner at Cooke Pictures, (cookepictures.com), where she is a key creative leader and oversees casting for all major projects. In 2013 she co-founded the ASCEND Conference for women in LA, and along with her husband Phil, launched The Influence Lab (influencelab.com) focusing on redefining Christian mission strategy in the digital age. She is the editor of the monthly Influence Women Newsletter and her blog at kathleencooke.com focuses on developing, connecting and inspiring Christian women involved in media, entertainment and other areas of influence.