{31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way} :: Lesson 16~A Little Headache Goes a Long Way

I like coffee. I really like coffee. I like Starbucks coffee…Grande Nonfat With Whip Pumpkin Spice White Mocha with half the pumps…Mmmm so good. I have pumpkin pie spice creamer in my fridge right now and I can almost taste it as I write about it…

But I’m not drinking it currently because I’m on a cleanse. So I’m drinking this instead.

Yea, it tastes like it looks. I’ve been struggling with some health issues so I am “cleansing” in hopes of feeling better.

Cleansing feels very similar to fasting. Today is day one so I have a slight headache. If it continues to feel like fasting, tomorrow I’ll be pretty sluggish and have a worse headache. I might be nauseated and have leg cramps too. This is only a 2 day cleanse, so I’ll miss the experience of day 3. Fasting on day 3 is wonderful. No more headaches, still a bit sluggish…but the mental and spiritual clarity that comes on day 3 is glorious.

That is why the Lord says,
    “Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
    Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
~Joel 2:12
There are so many benefits to fasting. When we fast in our home, we limit television and music. We limit social media and electronic gaming. We set aside a few days to quiet ourselves and enable our hearts to be open to what God is speaking.
Don’t misunderstand me and think that I’m saying it’s not hard. Because it is. We are tempted to indulge. Our bodies ache. We’re grouchy and tired. We cheat sometimes (gasp!). But our intentions for those times are to seek God.
It was during a fast at the beginning of the year that God revealed His plan for our year. And everything He spoke seemed so impossible. He had reassured us through His Word.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! 
Do not be afraid or discouraged. 
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
 ~Joshua 1:9

And by July every single thing He had promised had happened.

I will always be thankful when I look back on that fast and remember how God met us right where we were and spoke promises that seemed way too big and how He was so…close.

When we clear away the stuff of this world…the food, the television, the internet…we allow ourselves an opportunity to meet with God in a new way.

I heard of a woman who lives in the poorest village in Zambia. She is a single mother of 4 children, who all have AIDS. Her husband left her for a prostitute. She connected with some Americans during a mission trip. The Americans, shocked and upset by the poverty surrounding them, said they wished they could just pack everyone up and bring them home to America.

This woman said, “You couldn’t pay me enough to go. We have problems here in Zambia, but your problems are much worse. I fear I wouldn’t be able to hear the voice of God in America.”

I was so struck by the idea that this woman would give up food, quality healthcare and an education in order to hear the voice of God! So the question is, what are we willing to sacrifice? 

This post is part of the series {31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way}. Did you miss a lesson? Catch up here.

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