Comfort Zone

When I think of spiritual disciplines, fasting is not on the top of my list. In fact, it's not something I've given much thought to at all. But over the last year, the Lord has continued to bring something to my attention that I need to lay at his feet. I found that whenever I read my Bible or listened to a sermon, this thing would come to mind. So for the last year I've done my best to manage it. I gave myself boundaries and set expectations. I asked for accountability from my community group and after a while I started to feel pretty good about how I was doing with this thing I found so hard to give up. But therein lies the problem… why is it so hard to give up completely?

You may be wondering what this thing is and if you know me, you can probably guess. I've decided to fast from drinking alcohol altogether. This isn't because I'm addicted or think that alcohol is bad; it's a personal decision I feel God is prompting me to make and go all in with. Over time, I have felt the Holy Spirit within me urging me toward this as I read my Bible, hear sermons, have conversations, etc. I feel like God has been telling me to give up alcohol for a number of reasons. One is that alcohol and partying are a big part of my past and if you knew me in college you're probably a bit confused as to how I write a blog on faith. That being said, it is a "sin struggle" I still deal with, but even though I've grown exponentially in this area and am no longer a slave to sin, I still feel God wants more for me. Secondly, the purpose isn't entirely about the alcohol itself but the self-control that goes into abstinence. We live in a culture driven by giving into our fleshly desires, and as a believer I know I'm called to live differently (1 John 2:15-17). To be completely honest, a big part of the reason it's taken so long to get to this place is because drinking is such a normal part of my social life and I don't want to be the odd man out. When I actually admitted that to myself, I knew that fasting was the right thing to do.

I feel like God is preparing me for something deeper and by fasting from alcohol I'm able to shift my focus (Romans 12:2). I realized I shouldn't have to manage this area of my life and devote energy into making sure I was honoring God with the way that I drink. Fasting allows me to take my eyes off of my desire for alcohol and turn my attention to God. Waging war against my desires forces me to depend on God rather than on myself. Now every time I say "no, thank you" to a drink when I actually really want one, I'll ask God for the strength and self-control rather than patting myself on the back when I only allow myself a drink or two. For me, fasting is about surrendering control. It's about not being mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12) but instead executing discipline. Among a generation that isn't used to abstaining from desires, fasting may make me feel uncomfortable but I'm learning that God's way typically does. 

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 
- 1 John 2:15-17

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
-Romans 12:2

"I have the right to do anything," you say--but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything"--but I will not be mastered by anything.
- 1 Corinthians 6:12

I still have questions I'm processing through and would love to hear feedback from you about any experiences with fasting. Also, now that I've expanded my accountability in this particular area to a much wider audience, feel free to ask me how it's going any time you see me. I'd love to start an open dialogue here in the comments too. What are your thoughts on fasting? Is there something you feel God is asking you to give up?

Photography by Justin James

Since life as a Christian can be uncomfortable, I decided to play off of that with a super comfy outfit. I bought these pants at Target before my trip to India and could seriously live in them! Since it's been so gloomy lately, I wanted to brighten up the black and white with some color so the orange tee and paisley scarf were the perfect additions. (Mixing patterns is a hot trend right now by the way.) Lastly, I threw on my new favorite sneakers (on sale for $15!) from Payless. This is a perfect outfit for brunch and running errands because it's easy and a cute alternative to basic yoga pants and a t-shirt. Get outside your fashion comfort zone by trying out some new trends this summer!

Silk Scarf: The Dallas Flea
Gold Bracelet: All The Wire
Black Wristband: I Am Second

Shop my look here:

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