Today is Day 8 of my 40 day sugar fast. Except it's not going to be just 40 days, I decided. I am going to do it again for another 40 days. Why? Because I'm that serious about giving it up; I have tried and failed too many times before. I just don't think it's coincidence, either, that the 40th day is Easter, and the 2nd 40th day falls only 2 days before Jaden's birthday. If I did it for another 40 days (a third time), it would end the day before Micah's birthday. I don't know, that just seems odd to me!
God is speaking to me a LOT since deciding to do this. If you read my other blog, you know that I am going through Beth Moore's Breaking Free book. A great quote I read from her book says "A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for him or her" (p.2). She goes on to say "no amount of determination will bring freedom."
I started to think about all of the things that hold Christians captive from living the life God wants for us: addictions, fear, worry, anxiety, stress, judgment, criticism, anger, debt. There are so many things. I struggle with each of these to varying degrees. So many of us settle for living life every day wrapped up in these things; they become such a regular part of our lives that we don't even try to fight against them anymore.
But today I was listening to an amazing broadcast from Family Life Today where Francis Chan spoke about the Holy Spirit. This is what the summary said about the broadcast:
Isn't it sad that we have this amazing person living inside of us, who has the power to free us from ALL of these things, and yet we settle for less? We settle for mediocrity? We settle for anger, worry, doubt, fear, addictions and more? He said "one person does not have more of the Holy Spirit than another person. But one person can give himself over more to the Holy Spirit than another person."
Finally, I read this verse today:
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."
So, today I have been thinking - what are the areas I have not given over to the Holy Spirit? Why am I holding onto those things, when he promises me freedom, release, comfort, provision, beauty, gladness and praise? If he wants to rebuild me, restore me and renew me, then why am I not letting Him? For me, I wasn't ready for it. I wasn't ready to give it all over to Him. I wanted to continue having control, because it felt safer. If you are feeling a tug in your heart that there is something you need to give over to Him (but don't want to yet), just begin to pray that He would make you ready to give it over to Him. And He will. He will make you ready at the right time.