This wasn’t the first time I’d fasted to move closer to God, but it was the most effective. My reader friends (those who subscribe to my blog) knew from an email, I spent the month of February on a fast; and oh, what an adventure it was. As an older fella with health conditions that a meal-related fast could exacerbate, I fasted what I call “anti-social” media for the past 21 days. I added an extra day for good measure to practice self-control. Before I share some of what I found (mostly what God revealed to me), I want to give you some background.
The need to fast and seek God’s will was present for several months, as I felt my life spinning out of control. It took our pastor calling for a solemn assembly (Joel 1:14) in our church to prompt me to take action. Family, health, writing, business, and financial issues and decisions were beyond my meager ability to understand and address, and I knew in my heart where the answers awaited me. As some of you suspect, I have a tinge of OCD and am most comfortable when I’m in control. In reality, I am in control of very little, but I can control who and what I allow to control me.
As a fledgling Christian writer with still much to learn, I recognize how social media helps grow my platform (those who follow and support my writing). Social media provides a way to interact with those who follow me and share thoughts and ideas far beyond those people I come in contact with each day. Social media is a tool. How I choose to use it, and how I allow it to use me, is up to me. As I was preparing for this fast, I searched my heart and prayed to identify what things I needed God’s help to address. I won’t get into details here, but God knows and I let Him guide me to create my petitions.
Beyond an email to my subscribers, in case someone noticed my lack of a social media presence (a few did, thank you), I wanted to keep my fast personal. It was a time of searching and renewal that refreshed my spirit, provided insight and correction, and moved me even closer to my Creator God. As I searched the Bible for instructions for fasting, I found over 70 references in both the Old and New Testaments. Mostly, it showed me that fasting and praying are best accomplished through the heart rather than the show. As the days leading up to the start dwindled, I determined to use the time I spent on “anti-social” media in prayer instead.Fasting and praying is best accomplished in the heart, not in the world. Click To Tweet
So what did I find? What did God show me, and how will these discoveries impact my life a year from now? I’m not sure I have all the answers to these questions and more, but I know I won’t let six years pass before I fast again. This past month has helped me learn much more about myself and what God wants for me. If you have not fasted in a while, or ever, I urge you to consider doing so; but I caution you to be prepared to accept the changes forthcoming. Some discoveries, revelations, and changes I found these past weeks include:
I don’t have to bathe in it
No surprise to anyone reading this, but this is a fallen world filled with sin. Until God calls us home, we have to wade through that sin, but we don’t have to immerse ourselves in it. In fact, our testimony will be much more effective if we only dirty our feet. Social media, or more aptly “anti-social” media, is a perfect example. Whether or not intentional, it fills my social media feeds with click-bait. Those messages that appear that seem to know exactly how to get my goat, increase my ire, or tickle my temptation button. When I fall for those traps and comment, rebuke, or launch an angry tirade about some perceived injustice or wrong, I leap into the pool of sin. One of my strongest Myers-Briggs personality traits is Judging and Satan (and perhaps Facebook and Twitter) knows exactly how to push that button sometimes. With God’s help, I won’t be falling into those traps as often.
How I spend my time shows what’s most important in my life
I thought spending a couple hours each morning in “God time”, then praying as I felt compelled to throughout the day and ending with an evening prayer was ample. During my fast, I found I had double that time to pray about issues, problems, and decisions I needed to make. What a difference more time in focused prayer makes. A few times, especially during idle times doing chores like filling the water troughs, I mindlessly clicked the little blue bird on my phone, opening Twitter™. There was no purpose, but I found checking social media had become a habit. One that was taking time away from God. I would catch myself and close the app immediately, but I used those urges to prompt me to seek God instead.
My name on a book cover is not the goal of my writing
Like every writer, I too want to see my name atop a best seller’s list. I want to run my fingers across my name on the cover of a book and experience what I can only imagine is the exhilaration of a dream achieved. With a publishing offer in hand, I felt it was not the right place for me in my spirit. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t “pull the trigger” and accept the offer. During this time, God reminded me He didn’t call me to become a Christian writer so I could get my name on a book cover. I am called to use the gifts He gave me to help others find, understand, and grow in His love. I’ve renewed my commitment to write for Him and not for myself. When I do, I free myself to enjoy my writing as a love offering to God, allowing Him to do with it what He wills and not what I wish.
Closeness with God brings peace
Perhaps the greatest gift of all was finding how my fast ended with more of God’s joy, peace, and contentment in my heart. If I’m honest, I was selfish and wanted to stay there in Abba’s bosom longer. And while finding rest in Christ is a wonderful thing, our Lord called us to be co-laborers and not spectators (1 Corinthians 3:9). As Jesus said in Luke 2:49, “… I must be about my Father’s business.” I am grateful that I can return to this journey in faith called life with much more peace, clarity, and direction.Fasting is not taking a break but making a breakthrough. Click To Tweet
In ways, I feel God broke through a spiritual dam in my life and the Holy Spirit can more freely travel through my soul. I would appreciate your prayers to help that flow increase in the coming weeks and months as I continue seeking God’s answers and direction. Please let me know how I can pray for a breakthrough in your life as well.
As I’m finishing up a month of fasting and prayer, I wanted to introduce you to a book that just released on March 1st. I was blessed to have this available to me during this time of reflection, petition, and spiritual breakthrough. Receiving a preview copy of Refresh Your Prayers from Mrs. Lori Hatcher gave me much inspiration and practical guidance that helped each day of my fast. Following is a blurb about the book that I pray you’ll find as helpful to jumpstart your prayer life as it did mine.
Unlock a Powerful Prayer Life!
For some of us, our prayers are filled with anxiety: What do I say to God? How can I know He’ll answer? For others, prayer can seem routine: I always say the same thing. I don’t feel powerful or passionate. Then there are people who are on fire for prayer. No matter what stage you find yourself in, Refresh Your Prayers will help you establish a deeper, closer connection with God each time you pray.
Reinvigorate your prayer life with this 60-day devotional. Each reading is crafted to inspire your faith and equip you to pray. Use the prayer prompts and powerful Scripture truths from the Old and New Testaments as a catalyst for your words. If you’re tired of your all-too-quiet quiet time, Refresh Your Prayers is the answer.
You can order your copy using this link: Refresh Your Prayers: Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise: Hatcher, Lori: 9781640701410: Amazon.com: Books
64 thoughts on “What I Found”
Great word, brother J.D.
Thank you so much Ms. Diane. Much appreciated ma’am.
J.D., I commend you for following the Lord and changing your routine for a month. Email drains my time and pulls me into a vortex I have a hard time escaping. Ironically, for the past three days, my email won’t send out. I can receive but not respond. This has meant hours talking to tech support. Maybe I should have spent them talking to the Lord! The issue is still not fixed. I, like you, feel this pull to be still before God. Thank you for your example.
Hmmm… mailserver port change ma’am. Might check with your ISP, it’s happened to me in the past. Especially, if you’re using IMAP and not POP3. And while we’re on emails, I’m sure right there with you my friend. What’s up with have a Deleted folder with over 400 deleted emails per day, when you only look about 20 of them (the rest are auto-deleted based on filter rules. LOL Thank you so much for your kind comments ma’am.
I’m so encouraged by your fast update, friend. Praying continued blessings over your obedience and renewal!
Thank you Ms. Karen. It feels good to be “back on track” again ma’am.
Thank you J.D. I found this post helpful and encouring. Many of us need to reset our priorities with Social media. It so easy to waste time and loose track of our original intention. Imagine if we spent as much time in prayer as we do on social media?
It sure is Ms. Jeanne. Several in our church has commented on how they realized how much time they wasted in the past on television, social media, etc. It’s been a real eye opener ma’am. God’s blessings.
Welcome back my friend. Thank you for being a blessing in my life. I pray God continues to draw you closer. May the Lord bless and keep you always.
Thank you Ms. Yvonne. I missed the interactions with many of my Christian writing friends, and did my best to keep up with their blog posts, etc. I pray everyone’s forgiveness for not re-posting or sharing, but I knew if my efforts were going to be meaningful, I had to sacrifice self by Putting God First. I’m so very glad I did.
J.D., I so appreciate all you have shared. This morning I read several passages on fasting (I guess due to the start of Lent) and your discoveries confirmed some of the thoughts I had during my reading. Thank you, friend (may I call you that?). May we submit ourselves to the Lord, letting Him do the work of stripping from us all that is not of Him. May all we do, write, and share come from hearts set on pleasing and honoring our Lord. Thank you, J.D. for sharing your journey. May God bless you as you seek to honor and obey Him!
I’m honored and blessed to be called/considered your friend Ms. Joanne. It may not be on this side of heaven, but I am so looking forward to meeting you one day and sharing the joy your warm smile brings in person my friend. God’s blessings ma’am.
So encouraged by your transparency with your anti-social fast. You came to mind often the past 21 days and I stopped and prayed for you. Thank you for sharing what you gleaned through your time with God through this time. God’s continued blessings on you, friend.
And I felt every one of them Ms. Tammy. I was so grateful for the little notes of encouragement, texts, and emails that shared support for me during this precious time with our Lord. If I’m honest, I’ve become even more addicted to His “heart hugs” and find myself reaching out for them more and more. Thank you so much for being the precious child of God you are ma’am. God’s blessings.
When you announced your “anti-social media” fast, I had no doubt God would make it a richly rewarding episode in your life. Along with our church, Diane and I have devoted the first 28 days of the past two years to prayer and fasting. As you have demonstrated, It hasn’t all been about food, but the focus on God and the spiritual discipline involved have resulted heightening our awareness of Him and reinforcing our relationship with Him and each other. And it always magnifies the role of prayer in our lives. We rejoice with you in your victory over the “click bait” (love that term) and anticipate seeing the fruit of your time “off the media grid.” But to get on to what most grips my heart this morning. The hellish pain and suffering of war are being unveiled every day since Russia invaded Ukraine. No weapon or resource we could send them can touch the power of our prayers–but not those passionless, rote things we have sometimes uttered and called prayer, but the cries of a broken hearted child of God to an omnipotent Father on behalf of the innocent victims of this apex of human depravity. Your encouragement to make prayer our first and most powerful resource is not just inspirational, it is a vital and compelling call for this hour. We must reach out to each other to link our arms, our hearts, and our faith and join in the battle against the real enemy. Thank you, my friend, for leading the way again.
Amen Mr. Ron. To sit idly by and watch this world destroy itself is a difficult thing for this old warrior to do. Such innocent young lives being wasted because of selfish, power hungry fools. I pray the rapture more every day my friend. I can’t help but think it won’t be long now. Let us continue fighting the spiritual war my friend, so fewer will be lost when the day arrives.
Thank you, J.D., for sharing the wisdom God poured into your heart during this fast. Social media can be a trap and we all need to take a break from it at times to ensure it doesnt grab the wrong position in our lives. Blessings my friend!
Thank you Ms. Barb. I’m certain I’ll be taking at least a yearly break from it. I gained so much from this fast; it’s been unbelievable. I felt like I finally did it right this time. 🙂 God’s blessings sweet friend.
Excellent! I have fasted in the past, but it has been a while. As you pointed out, it doesn’t have to be a food fast. The reason for fasting can include direction from God for a specific action you are facing, a need for spiritual closeness to God, or any number of other things. The process isn’t doing without, it is loading up with more. More God time, Prayer time. Quiet time.
I lead a busy life and people and things are always demanding of my time. Fasting places your focus on God. Thanks for your blog reminder of how important fasting can be.
Funny that you end your fast as Ash Wednesday or the Lentin season begins.
Yes; I too thought about that yesterday. I never considered how my post would appear on Ash Wednesday. Perhaps one of those “God winks” my friend. Great point you make Mr. Ben. While we sacrifice our self for God, it isn’t the sacrifice but the prioritization. When we fast and pray earnestly, we should expect things to happen. The reason, as you state so well, is because we Put God First! Thank you sir!
I think sometimes we forget that there was life before social media. I can’t count the times I have opened the app with the intention of spending only a few minutes, and before I know it half an hour or more has gone by!
I am truly inspired by this. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
So true Ms. Terri. It (anti-social media) can feel like a black hole sometimes. Thank you ma’am.
Almost all of us who walk out our salvation, in love and gratitude for having received it, have some thing or some area of our lives we need to fast from. Otherwise, those things, practices or habits can become idols. A fast helps us gauge whether that has become the case or not. Thank you, J.D., for sharing your personal growth experience!
Amen Ms. Gena. That’s exactly why in Matthew, Christ said “WHEN you fast” and not “if you fast” (Matthew 6:16). Well said ma’am.
Thanks – so meaningful, J.D.
Thank you Ms. Gail. Too often, we forget that our dependence needs to be upon God and not ourselves. God’s blessings my friend. Assuming you and “Chaps” will be headed back to IA soon?
Thank you for sharing your journey, J.D. As you point out, there are many ways to fast and I think you choose one most conducive to drawing nearer to our Lord. While social media has many positive attributes (some of which are necessary for an author’s platform), social media also can cause much conflict, broken relationships, pain and embaraasment, and most important, separation from our heavenly Father. I know your message will encourage many of us to examine our time spent in online engagement. Wishing you blessings, my friend.
Amen Ms. Katherine. Like many things in this world today, there is bad inter-mixed with good, even if the intentions were pure and right. It is the nature of the fallen world we are traveling through my friend. What a positive way to remind us that we should “Look for the Good” in all things. We may not always find it, but we should always seek good. God’s blessings ma’am. My fast was surely a blessing for me.
I’m so happy your time alone with the Lord was so fruitful my friend. He never disappoints!!
Amen! He never does Ms. Ann. Thank you so much ma’am.
Thanks, J.D. for your open and honest article! It plays out Matt. 6:33 to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first. It has been some time since God brought that verse to my mind for the first time, but since then, I’ve returned to it often. I, too, need to fast from social media and also solitaire games. They both are such a waste of time. I feel called back to spend time with God in studying his Word and in prayer. Please pray for me that I would be a faithful servant for my Savior.
Amen Ms. Virginia. Whether television, texting, anti-social media, or gaming, it seems Satan is devising new and better distractions all the time. Thank you for pointing out a way that I honestly hadn’t even thought of. With no children or grandchildren around, I no longer see the amount of time spent on video games and things. All, I think, designed to distract us from our faith and seeking time with God. God’s blessings sweet lady.
The report of your fasting time is nothing short of inspirational, J. D. We all want to grow closer to God, but too few of us take the steps we truly need to in order to do so. Social media is such a drag on our attention, and I’m so glad I’m on neither Twitter nor Facebook.
However, you’ve convinced me that just being off social media isn’t enough. Our seeking God must be intentional and filled with purpose. So glad you’ve shared your experience and also recommended a book to enhance our spiritual journeys.
It surely is Ms. Martha. I call it a “necessary evil”, but found myself falling into the snares of comparison, judging, and sensationalism far too often. There’s a reason God inspired James to write his treatise on how to live as a Christian in this world ma’am. And you are so right; we must INTENTIONALLY seek God. Thank you ma’am.
Wonderful, very meaningful and helpful.
Thanks so much, God bless.
How very kind Ms. Joyce. Your prayers are always such a blessing ma’am. Praying you and your sister get to visit again real soon. God’s blessings sweet friend.
This message is filled with inspiration. Thank you J.D. I love your statement “Fasting is not taking a break but making a breakthrough.” I pray and ask God to give me words He wants me to share with the world. When I go to the Father in prayer, He always listens and answers in His timing and in His way. 🙂
Thank you Ms. “Mimi.” My focused time with God really did help bring my Christian writing efforts into perspective. It’s something I’ve been struggling with of late. And yes, understanding and accepting that “His ways are not our ways” and recognizing He always has a better plan for us is an important part of acceptance isn’t it? God’s blessings gentle friend.
What wonderful lessons you have shared! Thank you for this inspiring and motivational post!
You are much too kind. Thank you Ms. Edwina. The blessing was surely mine today ma’am. Right backatcha my friend.
J.D., I enjoyed reading the outcome of your fast, and as always, I appreciated your honest summary of what God taught you. May He continue to pour His goodness into your life and your writing. I find myself clicking on social media buttons far too often, so I’m instigating a daily limit. More time in prayer will help me hear the Father’s voice as He guides my use of time. Thanks so much, J.D.
Amen Ms. Jeannie. I too am doing my best to limit my “visits” to social media sites to three times per day. While I try to maintain a stance of always being in “prayer mode” (while admittedly not always praying around the clock, but keeping the line open so to speak), I want to look back at my day and find that I spent at least twice as much time praying and listening for God than I did checking to see how many shares and retweets I have. I’m also intentionally practicing staying away from the “click-bait”, to the point that I’m unfriending or blocking those who want to post negative things that tear down instead of build up our body of Christ. God’s blessings my friend.
Thanks for your transparency and wisdom, JD!
Not sure how much “wisdom” is there yet Ms. Beckie, but I’m working on it ma’am. 🙂 With God’s help. Still praying and looking so forward to reading and hearing from you again ma’am. God’s blessings. (Hoping you’re still silver-haired) 😀
I’ve so been looking forward to this post and it doesn’t disappoint. It inspires and encourages me in many ways. Just keep putting pen to paper my friend. You impact many.
Aww shucks. Thank you Ms. Candyce. What a blessing it is to have wonderful, praying friends like you ma’am.
“In ways, I feel God broke through a spiritual dam in my life and the Holy Spirit can more freely travel through my soul.”
It is palpably evident that your time of fasting was a fruitful endeavor before the Lord Who made you to seek and be fulfilled in Him alone. May we all be so courageous to set aside the things of this earth for the greater benefit of time with the Lord.
Thank you Ms. Mary. It sure felt good ma’am; and something I want to do more of. Another amazing thing I found was how much more clearly I could hear God in my time away from all the “noise of the world”. God’s blessings sweet lady.
What a great message you have here, J.D. We think of fasting as involving only food. You’ve devoted time. May we be more mindful about our faith and what we need to do to get closer to God.
Amen! Thank you so much Ms. Nancy. It’s been a great experience for me ma’am. God’s blessings.
I am grateful that God intersected our lives. Your discipleship and counsel has helped guide me in my walk with Christ. As a coach, I so want to win – to run the score up – yet your words remind me of where our focus should be. It is our obedience in faith that increases our favor with God. That is the measure of our discipleship.
Thank you Brother. Know that you have taught me much more than I have you; and your friendship, counsel, and brother-ship is among the many wonderful blessings of my life. Preshate y’all sir.
What a blessing this was to me! I can identify with so many of the thoughts you expressed here. This was definitely one of your best.
How am I so very blessed with amazing friends like you Ms. Dottie? 🙂 Thank you so much ma’am; for all your prayers and your wonderfully encouraging words ma’am. God’s blessings
I’m so glad this past month of fasting has been beneficial for you, J.D.! I’m sure it was difficult, but it sounds like you made some real breakthroughs on your goals and how to spend your time. And that’s wonderful! May God bless you as you put those breakthroughs into your writing life, as well as other commitments!
Thank you Ms. Kathy. Surprisingly, I didn’t find it “difficult” at all. In fact, I enjoyed the break. I was more relaxed and less tense. Oh, my habitual tendencies showed up a couple of time and I would open one of the apps; but closed it immediately as used it as a prompt to do some more praying. It worked. 🙂
I couldn’t wait to hear how the Lord would bless you through your fast. Hearing God’s voice in our inner man and through His Word is the victory for all of us as we fast and pray. I’ll be praying for you, dear brother, for the Holy Spirit to flow through you more freely as you seek Him for answers and direction. May the Lord richly bless you, J.D.
Thank you Ms. Karen. I appreciate all the prayers my friend. It was a wonderful time with the Lord, and a time I will be spending more often as my days move forward. The shift in my habits really has made a difference in my demeanor and outlook. I see the world with more hope, but not this world, my home. God’s blessings sweet friend.
J.D., you truly inspire me. What an honor to read your weekly writings and see your heart for the Lord, compassion for other people, and desire to seek the Lord with all. How honorable you had a publishing offer, but first practiced seeking the Lord and fasted to clearly hear from Him. It would be so easy to assume it was God’s will right away. I will continue to pray for your decisions.
So very humbled by your words Ms. Karen. Funny, but I think those same ones when I read your posts each Thursday ma’am. God’s blessings.
How interesting that I am reading this blog just having completed a 24-food fast! I have to marvel at God’s perfect timing. I am proud of you, your discipline, your focus, and your dedication as a Christian and writer of the faith. You impact many including myself. Your words go farther than you think! I had someone ask me just the other day about that “man who comments on my blogs!” I was delighted to share about our friendship. (For those who might be interested, check out my blog at EweRBlessed.com.)
As I am you Ms. Karen. I pray your fast helped to focus your mind and heart upon Him and His plan for your life. So much was revealed during my time and clarity gained. You might notice I’m not nearly as “active” on social media these days, but know it’s intentional. Thank you so much for your kind comments ma’am. God’s blessings.
J.D., I believe God is doing this and will continue to do this through your writing. “I am called to use the gifts He gave me to help others find, understand, and grow in His love.” Your writing is a gift that blesses many.
What a wonderful blessing you are Ms. LuAnn. Thank you so much ma’am.