2.02.2012

what i learned: less + more

“How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house:
you give drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” 
Psalm 36:7-9

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On January 8, my pastor spoke on dedicating the first month of this new year to God.  About being deliberate with that and not just jumping in headlong.  About really listening for Him through fasting.  Fasting from food, fasting from entertainment and distractions.  

My chest was burning and heavy.  I was holding my breath.  Shamefully, I had gone to church that morning with my mind already made up that I would not be participating in the fast. That it wasn't for me.  That I couldn't do it.  That my already constant headaches would certainly get much worse.  

January 9, I embarked on that fast wanting to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  For ME, it would have been disobedience to NOT.  The timing was right.  Ripe I was with the need for sacrifice and quiet  and change and Him.  I was mind-weary of all the noise on the Internet.  Don't get me wrong.....I appreciate all the beauty and inspiration and encouragement I find on blogs and Pinterest, etc. (duh, I AM a blogger myself).  But I just had this itching inspiration overload.  Does that make sense?   TOO much inspiration.  TOO many ideas racing through my head.  TOO much information on Facebook.  So, although I did miss my friends, people I've made true connections with, it felt so, sooo good to quiet my mind.  To fill it up with the Word of God and all the beauty and inspiration and encouragement that HE IS.


pancakes
(Cooking up good things for them that I couldn't have was actually a blessing forcing me to rely on His strength.  i.e. "Those pancakes look really good, Lord, help me out here!  You've given me more than enough to satisfy all my needs, physically and above and beyond that.")


Did I still check email? Yep.  Did I still use Instagram? You betcha.  Did I make my own rules and allow myself to watch something on Netflix while I was running on the treadmill or at night IF my hands were busy making something? Yep, uh-huh.....no legalism here!  Did I include some dairy even though an official "Daniel fast" doesn't? Yes, yes I did.

But did I hear from God is a different way during that time?  Thanks be to Him, I did!


There were no miraculous, hold-the-presses revelations but quiet whispers, things I would race to scratch down in my journal.  Things I would hear and read that would strike a chord.  Things I thought He wanted me to GET, to really understand.

journal

Like something I read in my beloved A Diary of Private Prayer,
"Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience: 
Let me use success as material for thankfulness:
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance:
Let me use danger as material for courage:
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering:
Let me use praise as material for humility:
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance:
Let me use pains as materials for endurance."

What?! I had read that before but in the midst of a fast, those words came to life!  Hunger pains? Twinges of boredom and an instinct to "just quick check" on a certain blog?  It struck this slow-learner like a light bulb....those are pleasures.....food, a screen in front of my face...things I might turn to for comfort instead of HIM.  An opportunity to grow in temperance that I had been overlooking.  And the pain of sacrifice? An opportunity to grow in endurance.

smoothie

In his book A Hunger for God, John Piper says that Christian fasting is a hunger for the fullness of God.  Yes!  I found that hunger when my body wasn't being filled with all this world has to offer.  Piper says, "The greatest enemy  of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. Not the banquet of the wicked that dulls appetite but endless nibbling at the table of the world."  Whoa.  It struck me that that's what I had been doing all the while reasoning with myself that, "I don't read that many blogs.  I just read a few minutes here and a few minutes there." or "Pinterest sparks my creativity." or "I don't really search out comfort in food."   But my head and body were swimming, overwhelmed and full of the world.  And I've found Him to be more than enough.

read

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not at all saying that I'll never read blogs again or peruse Pinterest but I can recognize when I'm going there for comfort looking to be filled with something other that what He might have to say to me.  I can realize that my life is not going to end if I don't keep up with what others are saying or what crafty things they're doing.

night

So, basically, I was convicted of the need for lots of less and more.....
Less screens, more paper.

tprty
Less thinking, more DOING.
eplay
Less studying other's words, more memorizing His.
salad
Less eating, more hungering. 
(Realizing it's OK to be hungry, both physically and especially, spiritually.)
airplane
Less excuses, more self-discipline (which is SO rewarding in itself).
thrift
Less strongholds, more of a hold on Him.
firstsnow
Less striving, more acceptance of His perfect love.
view
I'm excited to get on with LIVING
under the lessons He's taught me
in His strength that I never really knew I had.
Still blogging.
Still living the creative life He's made me for.
(And there's more opportunity for that when I'm not attached to this screen checking out other people's creative lives!)
Still searching out the enriching fellowship of sisters in Him.

"A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; 
I want to drink God, 
deep draughts of God. 
I'm thirsty for God-alive."
Psalm 42:1-2 MSG

P.S. My near constant headaches before the fast (have had headache struggles for years)? 100% G.O.N.E.....seriously.
P.P.S. A post I enjoyed by Tonia about focusing on prayer vs. the computer and one she linked to that also speak about the need for living well.
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15 comments:

  1. This is just beautiful, Megan. And exactly what the Lord has been sharing with me over this month. I've been trying to put blogs/FB in their rightful places.

    Thank you for the beautiful encouragement. And that picture of your girl in the air on your feet? Ahh...that's poetry right there.

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  2. This is wonderful Meagan. I went on a 21 day juice fast a few years ago and I have to tell you what happened spiritually was amazing. The inner quiet and peace that came over me when my flesh was put under was just something I didn't quite expect. God's voice became so clear. I have done a few short fasts since then, but an extended fast accomplishes something quite different. I'm listening to what you've said here, and thinking about my words to my husband this morning about how I need to put the laptop down for awhile. I recently read that killing time damages eternity and we need to invest our time. If we don't kill time, but invest it we will never complain that there isn't enough time. Time is a priceless commodity that God gives to us only one second at a time. So, I need the quiet, and I need the time. Maybe it is time for another extended fast. Grace and peace . . .

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  3. Inspiring, encouraging, convicting. Totally feeling this right now. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

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  4. so beautiful and thoughtful. I love your thoughts on this and I completely agree with you about the need to step back and put things in their rightful place. I did something like this last year, and I'm thinking it may be time to do it again. Love your thoughts, your humility, and transparency. Thank you.

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  5. Loved this blog. Our church also does a 21 day fast at the beginning of each year and this year I fasted most blogs, pinterest, facebook, twitter, and SHOPPING! I agree with all of the things you were saying about how all that can cause overload and distractions. There is always a thirst for more and a sense of never being just satisfied (at least for me) with what I have, what we're doing, etc... During the fast, God spoke to me about resting in Him and in His provisions. It's hard. I don't really know how to just rest. I don't completely understand contentment and trust. But He is taking me on a journey of discovery and i am learning. I am hesitant right now to get back on facebook, twitter and pinterest. I don't want it to draw my heart back away from the things God is telling me. We'll see... Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hi and let you know I can relate totally to what you're saying. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  6. Thank you for your words today Meagan. They really spoke to me. I know this is something He is speaking to me as well. Thank you for listening and for sharing.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your journey. I, too, have been recognizing the filling of my soul with the temporal, the easy, the mind numbing screen, when His Word is always available to me. I was thrilled to find the Diary of Private Prayer at my local library sale for $1. What a treasure!

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  8. lovely, you are.

    the first verse is my fav...I have it up in the powder room.

    blessings upon blessings, my friend.

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  9. Thanks for sharing Megan! I hear this same message over and over again in my mind. I'm more free in Him and free in me when I put all of that "noise" aside. Oh how I need that self discipline, so hard for me! I've never had it, wasn't raised with it, so tough!

    It's so refreshing to hear you and others going through the same issues and finding the path that works for them.

    I am very thankful of your "enriching fellowship" sister.

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  10. Thank you! I really needed to read this. It truly resonates with me because of some things that I'm dealing with. God bless. Becca :-)

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  11. ahhh... your blog just makes me happy. I'm a Christian too... we're intentional like you... I think we'd be friends in real life! ha! Thanks for sharing your world... it encourages me. ~ kimmy

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  12. so well said.
    i miss my time with God.
    and i know that it's all me that makes myself too busy...lazy...stubborn to spend my time with HIm.
    thanks for this.
    :)

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  13. Megan, great post. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. They are inspiring, convicting, and soul stirring, You encouraged me!

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  14. Thank you for sharing this, Megan. I usually do a week-long media fast each season, but this year I started my own blog and have been putting the fast off because I didn't want people to "forget about" my blog! Gosh! Thank you for the wakeup call. It's time for less talking about living, and more living.

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  15. Let me use suspense as material for perseverance: LOVE THAT and all of these Megan!!! Your whole post, God spoke and you heard Him! You are such a faithful seeker, and I admire that, b/c I feel I madly seek after the face of God...

    this post reminds me a lot of why I don't do Pinterest, I mean I just would become so consumed with it, and it couldn't be good for my heart to have my eyes on all that amazing worldly stuff ya know, so I can totally relate to what you shared and totally agree! xo

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you and your words are a GIFT to me! thank you!