At the beginning of each year the women of my church, The First Baptist Church of Glenarden partake in a fast. During this time we abstain from something that gives us pleasure; collectively we fast from meats, sweets, and television. In 2015, I added social media to my list. During this time we draw nearer to the Lord, focus on strengthening our relationships with Christ, surrender our idle time and desires to God, while also increasing the time in our day that we spend with the Lord. For example, when surrendering social media, if I were ever to get the desire to get online I would grab my bible instead or listen to gospel music. So I exchange something pleasurable for something related to increasing my relationship with God, simply right? Eventually, I got to a place where reading the word of God became one of the simple pleasures in my life.
During this time we also collectively read a devotional or book selected by the leaders of the church, this year we are reading Embracing Excellence by Carolyn Tatem. This book is a 31-day journey through Proverbs 31. We also do a daily morning call, and prayer line, pretty much girl, chat a 5:30 am. Pretty cool right?
Two Thousand and Fifteen was my first year partaking in this fast, and although I was dedicated to building up my relationship with God, my ministry sisters and I decided that we would make a list of prayers we were expecting to be answered or blessings from the Lord we wanted to see realized. Fasting is also a time used to receive clarity from the Lord on daunting uncertainties. My list consisted of the following:
- A less stressful job with the same pay, working four days a week and one day off.
- Success with professional writing life
- Restoration with a family relationship
- Jennifer’s (my sister) Boaz
- Kiki (my niece) new job
These are the things that I wrote in my journal on January 12, 2015. Now I know it may be hard to believe, but GOD ANSWERED EACH OF THOSE PRAYERS BEFORE THE CLOSE OF 2015. I practiced discipline and sacrifice for those thirty days. I didn’t touch one piece of meat, I didn’t watch one commercial on television, I didn’t put one lick of sugar in my nasty dry oatmeal, and nobody on social media received a like from me from January 1, 2015- February 1, 2015. I sacrificed the things that pleased me and exercised discipline for 30 days. AND LIKE HE ALWAYS IS, GOD WAS FAITHFUL. August 2015, I was offered a position closer to home, that was only four days a week, MORE PAY and less stressful; December 2015 I wrote my second book Forbidden Truth 2; Life After Death; October 2015 my relationship with my family member was restored; April 2015 Jennifer began dating her Boaz and fall 2015 my niece landed one of her dream jobs. Won’t He do it?!
Now don’t get me wrong, fasting is not a get rich quick scheme to obtaining God’s blessings, it’s a method in strengthening your relationship with God and positioning yourself to hear clearly from Him. During this time was my first time hearing God’s voice and being 100% sure I heard His voice because He is always talking, we just struggle to hear Him.
So why am I telling you all this? Because I want to challenge you!
January 2016 Challenge:
- Read one self-improvement book in January 2016. Begin the book in the month of January and complete it before the close of the month. Commit to reading it daily.
- Journal each day what you took away from your reading and the great lessons learned.
- Fast from something that gives you pleasure for January (i.e., social media, shopping, sweets, soda, TV, sex, etc.)
- Read one Proverbs verse a day (Proverbs 31: 1-31 is what my church is focusing on this month)
- Journal throughout this entire process.
Simply! So for January 2016, I just want you to read a book that will lead to a better you, journal what you learned from the text each day, fast from one thing for thirty days, read one verse in Proverbs daily and journal, journal, journal!
Think you can do it? Let’s GO!
My motto for 2016 is JUST DO IT! So I tell you JUST DO IT!
(Don’t forget to write to me as you journey through our January 2016 challenge, I’d love to hear from you and share anonymously with others on this journey with us.)
List of book suggestions:
Forbidden Truth 2: Life After Death by Deborah Almaroof 🙂
Colliding with Destiny by Sarah Jakes
A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer
Dancing with Broken Bones by Dr. Jazmin Sculark
God is Able by Priscilla Shirer
Until Next Time…
I wish you Love & Happiness