Daniel Fast for Lent. I'd heard fantastic things about it from friends I hold in very high regard and I knew my soul needed a jump start of sorts, as this winter has definitely been a season of many challenges.
I lit out of the gate running, on a high of spiritual euphoria, sinking my teeth into Daniel Fast encouragement, daily devotionals, Psalm reading, and of course the fasting plan. I was definitely in one of the most amazing moments of my faith, grappling hard with some incredibly deep things, long buried in my heart. Poor Adrain. He was getting millions of words spewed at him every night. Not that he'd ever complain. And not that it's very out of character for me either. I felt like I was exploding inside, and had to share all that joy with someone! Along the way, I was blindsided by something, and I allowed it to derail me. I didn't mean to, but I felt like I got completely knocked off the trail I'd been running on, my eyes frantically searching around me for the next blow. I was knocked so far sideways, I couldn't seem to catch up and get back where I had just been, moments before.
So on this rainy, drizzly day, just over half way to completion of my Daniel Fast for Lent, I thought about the things I can control because I want more than anything else, to finish this thing well. (Sadly, when you list what you can control, it's a very short list.)
I can control my responses to all things- the expected and the unexpected, the joyful and the heartbreaking. I can control my priorities. I can control what I set my mind on- especially when it's in neutral. I quickly realize how often my mind slides to things that are idols for me when I don't focus on the important things. I can control who I pray for and suddenly the list is very large. So many of my friends are in crisis. I can control how hard I persevere in reaching my goals. I can control speaking thanks over everything, both good or bad. And I can control keeping on.
That last one. Keeping on. That was a big one for me today. I had sentences like, "why try," "there is no way," and my favorite, "what does it matter anyway?" rolling around my head. It was like I had already begun the process of quitting. Let me tell you something about me. I am not a quitter. Not any little part of me. I am a tenacious perseveerer. (I just made that word up.) I don't have any respect for quitters. If it's hard, that means it's important. If you quit, you gain nothing and you learn even less. I know this from experience. So here I was, in the midst of possibly the most important thing I've done for my own heart in years... and I was mentally quitting!!
a work in progress. I'm far from perfect, but I mean well and I try hard. I am not quitting. There is an answer to my questions and there is an end to this hard season. There is a rescue coming, and there is help waiting. I may have to grit my teeth as I say this... but I will not quit. I will pray harder and I will press in further and I will stay in the moment. I will not check out and numb my heart by running after shallow nonsense. I will not throw up my hands and cry. (Okay I might actually do that sometimes.) BUT. I will not quit.
And here is my truth:"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”Matthew 21:22
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jeremiah 33:3
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4