Tag Archives: fasting

Clothing Fast Update – Identity Crisis

Hey friends!

Welp, a few have asked how my 5-month clothing fast is going.

So far, so good. In fact, I’m really enjoying it. I have to say that I have had two trials so far:

1) Target Back to School Sale.

I buy many, maybe half, of my clothes at Target. I know just by looking at it on the shelf if it will work for me. Target brands are so predictable for me that I can order clothes online. (Gasp!) So, I went in to get a case for my new phone, and h.a.l.t.e.d. The back to school sales were going on. Everything was buy one, get one 50% off! My newly-discovered favorite tank tops were $7!!!

I walked very slowly past the clothes. Very slowly because I just wanted to dart in and pick some out. Y’all. This sounds ridiculous, but it was hard! I kept thinking, Jesus, you’re better than this sale. Better.

Thankfully, God provided me a way out of the temptation. One of our elders and his wife were there, and I ran into them on the walkway. That conversation pushed the fog of consumerism totally out of my head. Onward we pushed to the phone cases. Yay!

2) Identity.

I wasn’t going to post about this here because the point you’ll see below was to not explain myself. But, it’s been awhile now, and I feel like God has given me rest in this issue, so now I feel comfortable talking about it.

When I posted my original article, people would casually ask me about it, like, “Woah. Really?” And someone else might ask what we were talking about. Most of the time, the response that I got was, “Oh, I don’t have trouble with that.” Or, “Oh, I hate shopping so I don’t need to do that.”

(Thankfully, I also had people say – Wow, that really challenged me. :))

Those initial responses confused me because I don’t have a problem with shopping either. I have a clothing budget and buy clothes on a budget, etc. I do enjoy dressing nicely and comfortably, but I wouldn’t consider myself addicted to shopping or anything like that.

So in the moment, everything in me wanted to explain: No, it’s not like that! I don’t have a problem, I just want to trade something that takes my focus in for focus on Christ instead!

But I didn’t. I felt the Lord leading me to be silent. The whole point of this fast is resting and relying in Him. And I felt these moments were an extension of that. I know my personal integrity, and I don’t need to explain myself all of the time. It’s OK to not have some holy image.

… and I really do think that I did rest in the identity He sees in me through Christ instead of just making sure all of my words and actions were fleshed out. So I’m glad that I had that moment.

So, if you’ve had similar thoughts, like I don’t have a problem shopping so this fast isn’t for me or I don’t have any clothes that fit so I can’t do that (another one I heard), then can I challenge you that this fast may still be for you? Please consider just the change in the mentality that we can get something we need instead of relying on the Lord in those moments of need. Case in point: I’m still wearing my worn out and disheveled nursing bras because that’s all I have and January isn’t that far away people.

And if the Lord isn’t calling you to this, is He calling you to fast in another way?

What do you think?

Thanks for checking in on me with this!! And praying for me – I still need it! It’s easy this week, but that means nothing for next week!

5-Month Clothing Fast {Challenge}

Five-Month Clothing Fast

::Deep Breath::

I have started a fast – from purchasing any clothing, shoes, or accessories for myself – until January 1, 2014.

I know!

It sort of just got into my head this past week, and I’m not sure why. Or, maybe I do. Here’s why I might want to fast from purchasing clothing et al for 5 months:

  • Purchasing clothing is “easy” for me. If it’s in the budget, I just buy it. I do a lot of my ordering online at my favorite shops – Target Daily Deals and Groopdealz. I felt like it was getting too easy – too comfortable – to just click that button to Place Order.
  • To identify with the poor – there are many across the world who have 1 set of clothing. ONE.
  • I have plenty of clothes, and I don’t have a need for more.
  • Spiritual discipline -when I am struggling with this fast, or when I’m tempted to purchase clothes – I remember my God instead who gave everything for me. I replace that ease and comfort with concentration on the Lord. (I hope!)
  • To reject consumerism. Most of the clothes I buy are made by the poor who are not getting a fair wage. For at least 5 months, I can say that I don’t support that through my clothing purchases (buying fair trade makes ALL of our wages go up – please support fair trade!).

Here’s why this fast will be difficult for me:

  • Comfort is my idol, and my clothes wear out quickly. I’m very clumsy, and I have two kiddos. So I at any given moment am staining and ripping and washing and shrinking clothes. Once there’s a stain I can’t get out or the fit isn’t “just-so,” I never want to wear it again. It just picks at me all day.
  • I do enjoy buying clothes and finding that sweet spot of comfort, style, uniqueness, fit, and price.
  • I already have my eye on a friend’s boyfriend jeans, a new pair of black skinnies, and new boots… none of which I will be purchasing.
  • I am almost really good at endurance. I push and push and push until the…very… end. And then I kind of quit early.

Why am I telling you?

  • Support – would you pray with me for the struggles and the joys that will be present during this fast? Ultimately, that I would seek Christ and others more because of this?
  • Accountability.
  • Challenge – I’d love it if you would join me! If you want to fast with me, please let me know! Post a comment, let me know on facebook, or tell me in person. Feel free to grab the image above and use it on your blog!

Image source

Finding the Time to Pray Together

Y’all should know by now that I’m not good at sitting still and reflecting. (This blog is what makes me do that!)

I blame this for why I have such trouble with good, consistent prayer time. I feel like I wear so many hats that to be doing well at one thing, I have to put something else on the back burner. And so it is with my prayer life. I ebb and flow and have good weeks and bad weeks.

And the less I pray, the less I am connected to the Father and His will for my life. The more I pray – the more I want to see His work done. The more I want to love others. The more I crave the fruits of the Spirit.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” (Luke 18:1-5, NIV, emphasis mine)

God gives us permission to BOTHER Him! You know that song (which I love because I remember singing it as a young believer), “You are God in Heaven and here am I on earth, so I’ll let my words be few…”

We don’t need to let our words be few! They also don’t necessarily have to be many. All I’m saying is prayer is important; prayer is vital; God wants to hear your prayers!

God already knows we are dependent on Him, but in prayer, we are opening our hearts to the reality that we need Him.

And I want to encourage you to find time to pray with your spouse.

For Brad and I, we had to get a little creative. Praying before bed wasn’t really working anymore because of baby feedings and sheer exhaustion. Early morning definitely doesn’t work for me (I’m usually taking my third nap of the night – otherwise known as sleep!).

I’ll tell you how we found the time. We fasted.

Brad had a great idea to fast from one thing each month of the year for 2013. For February, it was TV. In the evenings, it’s so easy to just plop on the couch and turn on the tube. Fasting from TV re-oriented our evenings in so many ways, but the best benefit we got was by finding a pocket of time for prayer.

Once both of the kids are asleep, we usually have uninterrupted time! We could choose to do dishes, turn on the TV, talk, take a bath (ahhhh), read a book, and on and on with our precious couple of hours. For us, the very beginning of that time pocket is the best for prayer. We’re not ready to crawl in bed, we haven’t turned our brains off yet, and it’s quiet in the house.

So if you have fallen off the marital prayer wagon, look at the natural rhythm of your day and see if you can find a pocket. If you can’t , consider fasting from something and using that time to seek God together.

Prayer Time with Your Husband

How do you and your husband (or wife) pray together?

For several years now, what worked best for Brad and I was praying before bed each night. Here’s how we did it:

  • Every so often, maybe every 6 months or so, we would do what we called a “Prayer Dump.” We would both sit down in silence and take just a few (seriously like 3) minutes to write down what concerns and burdens were on our heart for prayer. If you take more than a few minutes, I find that you don’t get the gut needs that are present.
  • After the Prayer Dump time is over, we would compare our lists. Topics that were common or had a common theme would get written down on a prayer list. Sometimes, Brad would have written something down that I also wanted to pray for, but it didn’t make my Prayer Dump – and that’s OK. We jointly decide what goes on our prayer list.
  • We assign a night to each topic. This could be systematic (like praying for your church staff, elders, and church vision on Saturday night), but it works just as well being entirely random!
  • Each night when you’re tired and worn out, you turn to the list and pray from there.

My pastor hubby has been convicted about praying even more than he already does in 2012. In the midst of a church-wide prayer and fasting week, I feel this conviction too.

But here’s what I want you to know – the above prayer technique is not prescriptive!!

You do not have to sit down, or kneel, bow your head, and clasp your hands to pray. That posture, I think, is a side effect of prayer. While praying, you may be so hit with the BIGNESS of God and his majesty and his mercy on your life that you cannot help but bow before Him, the King.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing” or “Pray continually” or “Constantly pray” – this sounds like a direct command to me (verse 18 says this is God’s will)! This is what God prescribes – to pray without end. Not to pray before dinner. Or pray before bed. Or pray in church.

Pray without end.

If you’re like me, you have a constant conversation going in your head. With yourself. Praying continually is just like that but directing all of that inward chatter to God. Weaving in the truth of God’s word through that chatter so that your thoughts are true.

Back to prayer time with your husband. Or, specifically, my prayer time with my husband. 🙂

In addition to praying continually, I think there are many benefits to having set prayer routines (like praying before eating or praying before bed), especially routines for praying corporately, like with your spouse. Your entire soul is bared to the Lord, and for me, this is one of the few times that my husband gets to hear these thoughts. Perhaps it’s a part of this:

These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road,as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbolson your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, NETBible)

Tonight, I realized that our bedtime prayer routine is not working. Often, we are going to bed at different times (work and toddler-related). We are seriously beat when we get there, too. Maybe it will work for us again soon, but in the meantime, it might be time for a change.

I will be fasting for the next 3 weeks from TV/Netflix (so don’t tell me how funny Modern Family is!). Perhaps this is a good time, then, to try out setting aside a night of the week for prayer with my husband. And by night, I mean 9pm after our 2-year old is asleep! Maybe this isn’t sustainable with some of our evening committments, but if we cry out to God together weekly for a few weeks and then have to change it again, do you think it will be any less effective?

What works for you? I would love to know!