Fasting: Day 13 – Too Much Navel Gazing?

By: Ron Lagerquist

Physical Side

One pineapple, sweet potato, and two oranges juiced. Two glasses of veggie juice with a half a bag of spinach added. Two glasses of Welch's grape juice; three medium grapefruits juiced. 

In meetings at work today, so increased juice intake. While fasting I find the rigors of social interplay that these meetings demand more taxing then manual labor. This is because I derive energy from focusing on God, and when I have to spend hours with people who are expecting all of my attention, the fast loses its meaning and becomes more of a nuisance then a blessing. During these times I have learned to quietly remind myself the importance of what I am doing. Once the meeting is over I flee to a deserted room, even if it’s a washroom, and get refocused. It’s the little things that can be the difference between success and failure. 

As far as I am able I do not announce at work that I am fasting, so I appear as unchanged as possible. As the fast progresses that becomes more difficult. A funny observation: because the change is so gradual, people who see you every day are less likely to notice the transformation in face and body then someone who hasn’t seen you for a while, except for those observant ones, and unfortunately, they are usually the gossips. 

Spiritual Side

If you have been following my daily entries, you may be thinking, man, there’s a whole lot of naval gazing going on during a fast. Issues layered on top of issues, which would be unwelcomed for the carefree that enjoys living life and not overthinking everything. I get that—I envy that. Being borderline compulsive obsessive, I must guard myself from overthinking.

During fasting, a sure sign that things are out of balance is when I am thinking more about me then God. My countless sins, my failures and regrets, my unworthiness, my fat tummy, my useless writing, my, my, my. And here’s the crazy part: in this self-absorbed state, my precious opinion of myself becomes how God sees me. I God-ify my dysfunctional feelings. Talk about narcissistic! 
Imagine serving a God whose opinion of you was as fickle as your view of yourself? That would be a nightmare. By the way, beating myself up is not humility, but the worst kind of pride. As if my sin is so fabulously wicked, so marvelously inventive, that it’s able to overthrow the power of Jesus blood. I must really be something!

I can become so focused on my dirty navel that the cross, Jesus, the blood, grace, it’s all gone, just a massive, filthy belly button. Ridiculous! It can last for hours before I realize what’s going on, and finally I correct my thinking, but not after a lot of wasted energy and time. 
Here’s the confusing part, God does convict, and sin is bad. The trick is to learn the difference between guilt and conviction. Guilt is satan’s counterfeit to conviction. Cute truth, too vague, let’s bring it home. With conviction there is always hope, and it’s not about rejection, but getting back into fellowship with God. Guilt, on the other hand is weighed down with hopelessness, God is nowhere to be found. I have felt both, and they are as different as night and day, and have very different results. One draws us closer to God; the other sends us running and hiding. 

Here’s a little test. When you hear the name GOD, what is the first thing that comes to your emotions? Is it feelings of failure, fear, sin, shame, or is it a Father’s love, forgiveness, tolerance? I think most Christians do not live with the cross in front of their face. Over the remainder of this fast, I am going to try to catch myself from falling into unhealthy navel gazing. 

Next Article: Fasting: Day 13 – Failed!

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