Podcast #124 – (updated)Fasting From Negativity (8:36)(Live – Lent update)

Many join the fasting tradition 40 days before Easter to prepare for Easter Sunday. This year, I’m also joining them in fasting… but in a different way. Transcripts and more are available at http://www.sabbathcafeblog.com

Hi everyone, happy 2023.  I hope everyone is doing well.  I can’t believe we’re already almost March. I took a few weeks off and I am working on the next podcast, but I did want to just jump in here and give everyone a quick update because it’s Lent season.  And it’s kind of funny because I have not fasted in a very long time and the Lord didn’t  put on my heart to fast either. But this year, somehow, he is bringing it back into my attention. 

And I guess it started because my YouTube feeds, I started to get these videos about  Lent and about fasting. And I thought, and after a few times I got the message.  So I started to ask the Lord, okay, is this something that I want to be doing?  And how does he want me to do it this year?  Because I don’t want to just follow the traditions. I kind of want to see what God has in store for that, how God wants to lead me in that area.  And it’s funny because the pastor that I’ve been following, he also had an invitation to do fasting and prayer for the Lent season. 

And I was like, oh, okay.  So that kind of took me down a different path.  So I started to ask the Lord. And so the day after, I was kind of having my tea and suddenly this idea just popped up.  And I just felt like the Lord is asking, how about you fast from the thoughts of negativity?  And I was like, huh? Now that’s a novel idea. 

Actually this year, God has been challenging me to change my mindset, to upgrade my mindset and to learn to shift it from a negative mindset to a more hopeful outlook.  And so when he talked about “Oh, why don’t you fast from negative thoughts?”  I thought… Perfect. That’s something that is in line with what I’m learning right now, so I just feel like it will work much better. And so I said okay. 

And so I think today is probably the third or fourth day that I’m doing this.  And let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than fasting from food. And so the fasting that I used to do is fasting from meat.  And what’s funny is when you do food fasting or that kind of fasting, you just really think  about it pretty much three, four times a day. So every time you eat, you will stop and think, okay, I’m going to fast.  So I have to make a decision to let go of meat or what I decide to give up.  So that’s like three, four times a day. 

And when I started to fast from negative thoughts, oh my goodness, now it went from three times  a day of me working through my fast. Now it’s about 30 times, more like 30 times a day of me fasting because I didn’t realize how often negative thoughts come up in my mind.  When I was just thinking about it, I thought, okay, so I’ll just be mindful of when I’m worrying about things or when I’m stressed out or when I’m frustrated. So that’s okay.  Fine, I’m being mindful of those now. And then one day, I realized I had made a mistake. It was some decisions I made, I was kind of like, ah, dang it, I think  God was recommending me to do something different and I probably should have done that.  And that just would have made my day so much easier. And I was beating myself up. 

And all of a sudden, I just felt the Lord went “ahem,” tapped on my shoulder: “Don’t beat yourself  up.  That’s negative thoughts.”  And I was like, oh, I did not realize… I guess beating yourself up does count as negativity because you’re trying to berate yourself.  And I was like, oh, that’s a good point.  So I stopped and go, “Thank you, Lord, I give that to You” and move on. 

And shortly after that, I was helping my parents take care of some stuff.  And all of a sudden, I just started to be worried about their needs and their health. And I just went on this downward spiral. And I didn’t realize how naturally my thoughts just went there.  And again, the Holy Spirit went, “Tap, tap. Just so you know, you need to stop that because we are fasting from negativity.”  

And so I had not realized how much of my mindset and how much of my thought patterns… I’m so used to giving into these thoughts. And so I guess that’s what God is challenging me… to let go of those things and to, learn to have a new mindset.  Because after all, Easter is really symbolic of hope and new beginnings. And so I really feel like maybe that is something that God is wanting to give me too… just this breakthrough in this old way of thinking and this old habits of mine that tend to be gray.  And that just is not very helpful. So starting the Lenten season this year, that’s what I’m doing. I’m fasting from negative thoughts.  I’m fasting from negativity.  And maybe later in the year when I’m all done, I’ll do another follow up and maybe gather my thoughts and share another update on how that went. 

So I just wanted to share this with you.  And you know, I want to just encourage you, for those of you that also are doing that  you feel like you want to do something for the Lenten season. I just want to applaud you and say, hey, encourage you just do what the Lord’s laid on your heart to do.  And it may be food, it may be drinks, just whatever He’s put on your heart.  It’ll be a great journey for the next 40 or 30 some days for this whole season. If you like, send me a comment to let me know what you may be fasting from during this Lenten season.  And so I hope you’re all having a wonderful year.  

And I am working on the next podcast. So hopefully I will get that out to you really soon. And have a wonderful week.  Thank you so much for listening to Sabbath Cafe podcast. I’m Michele and I’ll see you next time. 

Podcast #119 – The Power of Our History With God (5:04)

Newer isn’t always better. Our spiritual history may actually help us get the breakthrough we’re looking for.

Welcome to the Sabbath Café Podcast.  You’re listening to episode #119 – the power of our history with God. 
I was sorting through some old notebooks the other day, and a note card fell out.  It was a crafted prayer I wrote about 5 years ago for my family.  I had tucked it away, and totally forgot it.   
 It was a small card, and filled up front and back with a prayer I wrote about a broken relationship.  At that time, it felt like the situation was never going to change. These relationships have been broken for years. Honestly, I didn’t know if my prayers were going to make any difference at that point.  Still, I remembered that no request is too small or insignificant to God. And sure enough, after praying this crafted prayer for about a year, a breakthrough happened!  God answered my prayers and reunited a family!  It was nothing short of a miracle.   
As I read it, I was amazed that most of my requests have been answered.  Changes didn’t happen overnight, but they did happen.  As I remembered how God made possible what I thought was impossible, my faith rose up.  Suddenly, all of the negativity I felt that week vanished. 
In our social media world, we’re always looking for the latest news and trends.  We rarely take the time to reflect on our past.  To be honest, I feel that my generation, me included, don’t really understand the value and purpose of history. I think that’s why I didn’t recognize the value and power of my own history with God. Our history with God is made up of all of the interactions and experiences between us and God. Every prayer He answers adds to that history.  When it comes to building up our faith and spiritual maturity, our history with God can be a powerful tool. 
History gives us perspective.  It shows us the big picture and reminds us that real change takes time.  It helps us to be patient and wait for God’s timing.  When we can’t see the hand of God at work, our history reminds us that God is indeed still working.  When we feel discouraged in the middle of the storm, it reminds us that our journey is not finished yet.  Every experience we have with God, whether big or small, adds to our faith. And every interaction we have with God brings our faith to the next step.  
When I feel anxious and fearful, these negative emotions can be so overwhelming that I feel paralyzed.  My mind jumps to the worst case scenario and I sink into a pit of negativity.  And that’s exactly what happened to me recently.  I felt the challenges I had were so big… so beyond me that I couldn’t muster up any faith to pray.  But when I found that prayer card, and remembered how God answered the prayers that I thought were impossible, my faith rose up.  I remembered that God is bigger than my challenges.  I remembered that despite my limitations, and my lack of faith, God really can do above and beyond what I can ask, think or imagine.  
Are you also facing a difficult situation lately?  Do you feel like you’re dealing with a giant in your life?  Maybe it’s time for you to take a break and remember how God has showed up for you in the past.   Push the pause button on your worries, and think about your own history with God.   If you keep a journal, this is the perfect time to take it out and read a few pages.  Not only will you remember God’s faithfulness to you, you’ll also be encouraged by how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown in your own journey.  And you may even see that your current challenge is not as big as you thought.  God can and He will help you walk through it, just like He did before.  And you will come out of the storm amazed and transformed. 
And that’s our podcast for this week.  I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.  Thank you so much for listening.  Merry Christmas and we’ll see you in the new year!