February 20, 2011

The Next Level

This afternoon I taught the lesson for our women's organization at church. I usually always run out of time when teaching. Even when I think I'm not going to. But I get carried away and then there is a lot of participation and time slips away and before I know it, it's time to go. Today was no different...even though I had about 10 more minutes than usual. Instead of focusing on the lesson manual I really wanted to get involved with the scriptures and look at what the prophets have taught us through their experiences...and while I did take my understanding of fasting to a new spiritual level...I didn't even get to my discussion questions...let alone answer or process them. And I want to. I want to verbalize where I'm at. Then I'll be able to judge later how far I've come. I want the spiritual strength that comes from fasting for myself. 


What would it be like to call down the strength of heaven as Jesus did when he fasted for 40 days and nights? It was a miracle. He was spiritually fed. He buoyed his spiritual strength before his ministry.
To Be With God - Simon Dewey
And it's not just him. It was Moses, too. He fasted 40 days and nights while receiving writing out the Ten Commandments. And Ester asked her people to join her in fasting for 3 days. And so many others. I want to be like them.


1. How do you make fasting a joyful experience? I don't. I usually just go through the motions of fasting 24 hours without eating or drinking anything. Nothing terribly positive. Nothing terribly negative. I'd like to change this.


2. How does your attitude influence your experience when you fast? Not having a positive or negative attitude toward fasting makes it so I also have a bleh experience. I have seriously put stock into prayerfully fasting and then working to back it up maybe just one time. Don't get me wrong. I've fasted hundreds of times. Prayerfully. For many reasons. But this time I was fully invested. I was a missionary in Slovenia. Living in Celje. I'd been in the country about 6 months and my accent was unacceptable to me. I couldn't roll my "r"s. I really wanted this skill. I fasted and prayed for it. And the time was right. My companion was a linguistics major in college. She actually knew a couple of exercises that could help train the tongue to flip. As we walked from one appointment to another, she gave me the tools and I practiced. A lot. It was a matter of constant prayer not only during the actual fast but in the weeks that followed. I am now able to roll an "r" once. Not twice. Definitely not a whole string of them. But once. And once is enough to effectively communicate. 


3. How have you benefited from sharing your testimony in fast and testimony meeting? I don't do it often. But when I do, the truth of what I've said rings true to my heart.


4. How have you benefited from hearing others share their testimonies? I like hearing other people's experiences and thoughts and feelings about the gospel. Often, I connect with them on a deeper spiritual level. I especially like to hear about how others first found Christ and how their lives have changed for the better.


5. Why do you contribute to fast offerings? To whom much is given, much is required. My family has been blessed with so much. We need to share with those in more difficult circumstances than we are in. Someday it may be me on the receiving end.


6. What blessings can you receive when you fast properly? Special blessings - like the ability to roll an "r", Healing for the sick, Gaining testimony, Personal revelation, Conversion to truth, Comfort to a mourning and sorrowful heart, Sanctification of the soul, and Guidance are among the blessings.


7. How has fasting strengthened your character? I know that hard things don't last forever. I can control my body. I tell it what it will and won't do.


8. How has fasting given you spiritual power? I don't know. I'd like to put more effort into making it a joyful experience and increasing my spirituality.


If you would like to answer any of the questions or add your insights, please do. Keep the conversation going. I love your comments and want to gather additional insight.

    3 Riveting COMMENTS:

    1. We usually fast when we need something, but one day I fasted out of sheer gratitude and joy for a blessing that my brother needed and deserved in his life. I fasted only to say, "Thank You!" That was the most honest fast I have ever done in my life and the most rewarding.

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    2. Thanks Becky. I think sometimes just acknowledging our blessings helps us recognize how good we have it and how much Heavenly Father loves us and cares about what happens in our lives.

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    3. Thank you for your insight on fasting. I am in Primary these days, and haven't looked at the RS lessons in months. I ought to be more focused with my fast, and not just go through the motions like I usually do.

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