The following blog was written by Courtney Steele. Courtney is wife to Brandon (one of our Lead Pastors here at Ethos) and mama to Finley (6yrs), Jones (4yrs), and Merritt (2yrs). Courtney also leads our Care Team efforts...if you've gotten meals through a meal calendar...she was behind it! Brandon and Courtney are anchored at our Marathon campus. Courtney is genuine, hospitable, kind, funny, and she loves the Lord...and our church! Her hope is that this blog would speak into the reality of this season and encourage you to keep going with the Lord!
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The first morning of the fast was a hard one for me. I woke up with the worst parts of myself rising up. I felt out of control and unreasonable and so afraid. I knew it was an attack of the enemy. I felt powerless to stop it, because in my own power I was. So I found myself crying alone in my bathroom before 8 am. I texted a friend to pray right then. I had been praying but honestly I was still allowing my heart to give in to the lies and the fear.
Finally I just said stop. I told Jesus exactly how I felt powerless and the worst version of myself. How I wasn’t ready and didn’t know what to do. I asked Him if He could take it all away in one swoop because I couldn’t even name it all. Y’all he did. I tangibly (?) felt His peace and the trajectory of my day changed. I still had to fight and choose God’s will but the weight was gone because I let him help me.
Fasting is hard, right?! But He didn’t ask us to do it alone.
When you are hungry or craving the thing from which you are fasting, pray. Pray for God to fill your need. Pray for Him to carry the difficulty of fasting and refocus your heart, mind and body on what you are fasting for both personally and for the revival and hearts of our city we are praying for communally. It is remarkable (although come on, it shouldn’t be because God!) just how much better you can feel after refocusing your heart on God in prayer. I find it helpful to ask a friend to pray in that moment too. We are called to bear one another’s burdens. When I’m struggling I text friends and they pray and encourage me and it lightens the load. If you don’t have a friend or someone in your house church to reach out to, text me. (I am serious! 615-281-9451) I will stop and pray. Come to the Respond Banner at your gathering on Sunday. We would love to pray for you and support you and link arms with you in the coming weeks.
You don’t have to be perfect. God has never demanded that of you. Be aware of your heart. If perfection and legalism are slipping in, tell your Father or your friend, Jesus. He already knows so take the power out of it by naming it. Ask Him to take it and exchange it for His heart for this fast. For grace. For peace. Ask the Holy Spirit for truth. He is faithful.
The enemy is on a rampage to defend what has previously been his in our city and the ground he has had in our own lives. He would love to make you feel guilty for snacking or binging or not following through. He may be telling you are aren’t ready yet or you missed your chance to participate or already messed it up too much and you’ll “get ‘em next year”. No! You can shrug that guilt right off and lay it at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to take it. You can still participate. Start right now. You can’t mess up too much. Remember He doesn’t demand you to be perfect and neither do we! We need you this year! God wants your heart engaged now.
We are fasting in community and that is powerful! Take heart friends! Our God is moving and active in our hearts, in our churches, and in our city! Join Him!