Our lives are fast . . . and getting faster. Life has become so fast the rats have taken the off ramp. We live in a world of habitual patterns, both the conscious and subconscious. Our conscious patterns dictate our ritual “lifestyle,” including work, family, social, eating, hygiene, etc. Our subconscious patterns dictate our non-awareness patterns, such as checking social media, cravings when you are not hungry, impulsive shopping, excessive worry, etc. Then there are the subterranean subconscious behaviors that affect our lives, like our boss calling outside of working hours, having to work on the weekends, or lack of planning on the part of a family member that results in an emergency for you.
Before you know it . . . poof! Time has flowed through the hour glass without a grain of sand to spare.
With a month peeled away from the 2019 calendar and resolutions in the rearview mirror, let’s take time to hit “pause,” head for the off ramp, and put up the “on holiday” sign in the window of our souls.
In February, the SOTC will be entering into a Creative Fast. I know most of you have experienced fasting on some level over the course of your lifetime, whether it was a traditional abstention from food, or just giving up something for a period of time.
The principles are the same: setting yourself apart from something and giving that time to God. But here’s the twist.
The SOTC Creative Fast is about creating your own CUSTOM FAST that will enable you in all your uniqueness to communicate with God in a fresh, intimate way. Because fasting is not about food . . . it is about FAITH! It is about changing your focus, shifting your perception, separating yourself, and acknowledging this sacred time is a privilege and not a right.
How do I do this, you ask?
Fasting is intentionally disrupting your normal routine to free yourself up for more of Him. Before the fast, find some quiet space to take a personal inventory survey to see what things you may be doing that are dominating your schedule. Obviously, you can’t quit work, ship your family off, or quit the daily routines of life. That’s not practical. This is about the extras that are consciously or subconsciously filling up your time or taking control of your emotions.
For example, If you reach for your smartphone every spare second, maybe the phone needs to go on “ice” for a period of time. If you cannot live without checking social media, maybe it is time to put your account on vacation hold. Instead of eating three meals a day, skip a meal or two. All this will take discipline. There are no “do’s” or “don’ts.” Pray. Seek. Hear. Do. Do what you hear when you seek and pray!
Now the key . . . using your “freed” time wisely and creatively.
After you decide how long and what you are going to fast, you must decide what you will commit to do with your time. Experience different. Try painting, drawing, cooking, dancing, running, writing, photography, knitting, or coloring as you pray. Maybe worship has become stale and you are not feeling the Presence. Take a visit to a different church, experience different forms of music, worship meditation, try worship music with no words only instruments, or compose your own song from your soul. Maybe you feel like God is outside and you are stuck inside. Head outside and experience God in the open air while walking, running, hiking, or skiing. Take a drive just you and the Lord. Get in the car and go. Maybe just sit still with no agenda, just you and God. Maybe God has illuminated a book or film for you to experience.
Go into your fast expecting creative wisdom to flow your way. Get out of the box, open your heart, explore new facets of Creator God, and see what can happen in partnership with God.
Ingrid Maddock and the Sisters of the Crown Leadership Team