"I want to learn the heart of sacrifice and the returning gift of a joyful heart because of sacrifice; that my sacrifice may be a fragrant offering to God, just as Jesus offered himself for me." [me to anthony this morning]
Since December, I've been thinking about and asking God a lot about the upcoming 21-day fast we're heading into for Gateway starting this coming Monday. I've played over in mind last year's fast when I know I was called to juice/water fast. For the most part, it was a fairly easy fast. The first few days were really difficult, but then as my body got used to only liquids and a severe decrease in the calorie load, I fell into a place that was peaceful.
This year, I had kind of settled in my heart that I would do the Daniel Fast - no meats, no sweets - and focus on recharging my body through a large increase of fruits and veggies. Then this morning that all changed.
As I was writing Anthony an email not related to fasting, I wrote the first-half of the above sentence:
"I want to learn the heart of sacrifice and the returning gift of a joyful heart because of sacrifice."
Later in the morning during some study time, God pointed me to a scripture [Hebrews 12:2] which speaks to Jesus' sacrifice and the joy set before him to endure the cross. He then put a second thought to my earlier sentence: that my sacrifice would be a fragrant offering to him. That's such a deep thought for me right now that I haven't even begun to break it down, but it was in that moment that God's heart invaded mine for this upcoming fast...
I am going to water fast. No juice this time. Not even the one cup of coffee I allowed myself each morning last year. (it was liquid after all and it brought me such joy) Nope, not this time. Just plain, old, life-giving water.
In the same way that hearing God's heart stirred me to be excited, instead of dreadful, for embarking on a 3-week period of no food last year, I am now filled with that same excitement and expectation of what will come of this fast.
I've tried fasting, even for a single day, when I thought it was what I 'should' do to help move something along in the spiritual realm. And let me tell you, that kind of fasting was always hard. When I can make it through, with relative ease, a 21-day juice fast and yet grumble 6 hours into a one day fast, I know I'm not fasting for the right reasons or with the proper heart. And yet being 3 days away from a 21-day period of water only, my spirit is aroused by the possibilities that await me:
A complete cleansing of all the toxins I've accumulated this past year.
A stripping away of layers of fatty tissue deposited by over-indulging.
Possible healing and re-aligning of symptoms of unhealthiness that I've grown accustomed to living with and are no longer aware of.
A journey of learning the heart of sacrifice and discovering the fragrance of its offering.
While I know there will be days that are easier than others, I want this fast to the best thing I've ever experienced in my walk with the Lord to-date. My heart is expectant and my spirit is smiling!