I’ve known for a while now that God was getting ready to do something big for me, in me. He doesn’t always “tell” me before the big stuff comes; in fact, He rarely tells me . . . or maybe I just don’t hear Him. But this year is different. Several months ago I felt like God was telling me to fast – to give something up. I knew what it was & once I gave it up I quickly realized it wasn’t a “fast” it was a permanent deal. God said, “I don’t want you to give that up for a while – I don’t want you to do that ever again!” But I still felt Him impressing on my heart to fast and then in the middle of December it hit me like a 2×4. Everyone was talking about New Year resolutions & God was talking loud & clear to me about fasting. It was for my marriage. God told me I needed to start listening to my husband. I needed to quit telling Tim what I hear God saying & start listening to what he hears God saying. Basically, God told me to shut up & listen to my man. YIKES!
So, January 1st I joined Tim in a fast he has been doing for over a year now. Only drinking water. (*Just as a side note – the same time God told me this – He reminded Tim that he was thirsty – he was spiritually thirsty.) Water – it sounds easy, but it isn’t when you are eating brownies without milk, or you drive by Starbucks & hear it calling your name, or the kids are screaming & driving you insane & a Sonic root beer sounds amazing, or at the end of a hard chaotic day when a glass of wine would be better than . . . well you get the point. It is harder than it sounds. So here I am nearly 2 months into waiting for my husband to hear God so we can drink some milk, get a latte or a Rt 44 root beer, & have a
bottle glass of wine for crying out loud! And now it is lent. And although my cup only has water in it, God told me I still had the wrong stuff in my cup & it is time to empty it. He wants to empty me so He can refill me.
“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” -John 4:14
You see my cup has had these holes in it for a long time. Holes that drain me. Holes I try to stay so busy & distracted from that I don’t have to acknowledge they are really just making a big mess. Holes that run deep.
In one of her Bible studies, Lisa Harper said, “The only one who can fill the holes in our lives is God.” It is our nature to try to fill those gaps with other people, things, & even activities, but He is the only one who can fix the broken. And here it is that time of year we acknowledge the One who broke the bread & gave thanks before He was completely broken for us & He is telling me so clearly that He wants me to stop, to be still, to know that HE is God. To trust HE will fill those holes that are so big they send cracks through my cup that at any point it could just shatter into a million pieces.
A sweet friend and mentor said this to me,
“Imagine a cup that is full. Once full, nothing else can enter the cup. Your soul is your cup. There is still grief in your cup and it needs to be replaced with love. So, when the sadness, guilt and shame come to you, you STOP what you are doing, recognize and acknowledge the feeling then take it to the cross. Because of your two little precious girls, you have skipped over some grieving steps. God wants you to deal with these. He will not, I said, WILL NOT take grief from you. You have to walk through it and grieve all the way until all the grief is out of your cup. Let the sadness come so you can take it to Jesus. He will replace it with joy. Psalm 30:11 John 16:16-22 Jeremiah 31:13 Is 61:1-3The realest self-denial of Lent is to deny all else but Christ.”
So this Lent, I am not “giving up” – I am emptying. I am emptying myself of all the distraction that have been keeping me from seeking God completely, all the things that have distracted me from coming face to face with my Healer. I don’t want my cup half full or even almost full of Him. I want my cup overflowing with Him that it is spilling out over all that are near me. Ann Voskamp put it perfectly, “The realest self-denial of Lent is to deny all else but Christ. The realest fast is to hold fast to Christ.”
I am choosing to give all else up, but Christ, because I want to thirst only for Living Water.