I often fast from things I feel dependent on (i.e., social media, certain foods, etc.). Recently, I chose to refrain from coffee. This was not my first time fasting from coffee, but this time was different. My body usually goes through its withdrawal phase however, this time it was worse than ever. It had me questioning my entire life, LOL. I couldn’t figure out why this time was worse than all the other times. My entire thought process was centered around the symptoms I was experiencing until the epiphany came. “Let me go to God and ask Him what is going on!”
After about four or five days of torment, I finally asked God, “Why am I experiencing this like THIS?” He began to unpack a LOT more than just a coffee withdrawal. He began to uncover areas in my life that I was dependent and co-dependent on, including people. He revealed how those distractions would take my focus and eyes from Him at times.
I immediately felt remorseful and became interested in what He wanted for His splendor. As the week progressed, God opened my eyes to areas of my life that needed modification. He showed me how much time I had spent focusing on the physical withdrawal, but my lenses needed to be adjusted toward Him.
Once God made me aware of this, I began combing through areas of my life that needed correcting. In all transparency, my marriage was a BIG one for me. Too much of my concentration had been tied up on my husband and our foes. At the end of the day, if I’m so focused on just him, where is the space for God (the one we made a covenant with)? I found that there were all sorts of things in the way of my focus and began setting a plan of action to align my priorities and make myself available to Him for His glory.
What are some areas of your life that have your focus? Could it be a relationship? Maybe responsibilities at work? It could even be your children, or a passion of yours that you can’t take your brain away from. Whatever it is, maybe it’s time to take inventory of where your focus is. Only you can take an honest look at what holds space in your mind. Be honest with yourself. What are you going to do to shift your mindset and realign?
- God is patient. Look in the mirror but don’t beat yourself down. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understanding slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. We must constantly pursue self-reflection but be patient with yourself because your Father is patient with you.
- You are safe in your vulnerability. Jesus knows you more than you know yourself. You may as well let it all hang out. LOL. Ask for his help because we don’t always have the strength to take our focus off the things we see in our day to day. Some of our dependencies are hard to walk away from and some of them we can’t even see and that’s okay. He’s here to help you.
- Think it through. Sometimes pride will set in, or we will push a thought away because it doesn’t feel the best. Embrace what is revealed to you. Hold space for God to show you, YOU. It’s all about taking inventory of where you are so that you can constantly grow.
- Ask God to show you areas of your life where you are dependent on things, places, or people. Ask Him to help you understand why you are so dependent on those things. Why is it hard for you to walk away? Is there a root that needs to be addressed or counseled?
- Embrace God’s answer. For God to use you, you must be useable. He must show you where your focus is currently but remember that’s not to beat you down, it’s to shift you towards Him. Embracing where you were, where you are, and where you are destined to be, is a worthwhile process.
- Get your mind right! “Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth. (Focus on God-Set your heart on God!)” Colossians 3:2. What’s so beautiful about this is that when our focus shifts, everything around us shifts upward. God will show you where your time, resources, and heart should be.
- Commit to the shift. Discipline can be a BEAST (LOL) but it really does matter. “Commit to the Lord, whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
- Flourish in peace. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4
So now that the fast is over, do I drink coffee? YES, but it doesn’t control me anymore, I control it through my focus on God! I don’t have a cup daily. Only occasionally because He knows I enjoy a hot cup and He loves us so much!
If you get to a place where you are in the dissecting phase of your journey and need support, the APOM community offers some amazing resources including individual and group therapy as well as intercessory prayer. We are here to support the shift. 😊