During the Awaken 21 Day Fast, I felt God call me to let go of several different habits that had crept in over the last year. Just a lot of empty down time from exhaustion. And not to just cut things out, but to fill up the static space. In the midst of this season of pressing in to seek the Lord through every moment of my day, I started to see more clearly areas that needed work. I saw plain old areas of sin, root deep, that needed major gardening attention.
At first, I felt overwhelmed. I started down the path of condemnation. I started making a ladder and trying to climb right up on that cross. Anyone else good at that? Seeing a big old pile of mess in your life and climbing up on the cross and starting to act like you are Jesus? But, fortunately, I didn’t stay there in that position this time. Why? Well, probably because of the grace of God working through the decision I had made to purposefully and constantly guard my thoughts and turn my heart back to Jesus in every single open moment of time that I had.
I felt a bit desperate. I have not felt that desperate for Jesus in a long time. And in my desperation, I was not disappointed. He was right there before I opened my mouth. Kind of helping me kick at the tires of junk and turn over stones in my life. I felt he was saying: “Let’s get rid of this, Jess. We really don’t need this. I’ve got better things for you. Here let me help you with that.”
The last week of the fast, I started to get frustrated. I was having anxiety attacks. I kept crying. I talked to some friends and family. I was having major meltdowns each day. At first, I was a bit concerned about myself. I was pretty out of control, and I can not be bawling my eyes out to Jesus all day long.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had this experience. I don’t think you can stay in this place; but years ago, I had two summers of these fact to face Jesus moments. I sold kids books for the Southwestern company. Door-to-door, yes ma’am! And no, we were not the encyclopedia people. This was a legit business. We were part of an amazing team and trained by some of the best organization leaders in the country. I began that journey thinking I’d make good money, work hard, and “find myself”.
I spent a lot of days crying my eyes out along side the country road because that job was hard. About two weeks into the process, I realized it wasn’t about selling books. It wasn’t about “finding” myself. But, I learned to walk every moment of those days fully talking and walking with Jesus.I would talk to myself outloud driving door to door between houses. I would ask God for each person to see. I wasn’t just selling, I was hoping to be a blessing and love on people and sell them some books a long the way. It was amazing. And I was a mess. But, I taked more to Jesus out loud and authentically than I ever had.
In those seasons, that was exactly where I needed to be. In the grace, of real desperation for Jesus. Anything I had built up on my own needed to not work. Now, of course, I am very grateful that I’m not walking around sobbing anymore. And although, I romanticize my book selling days, I am glad I’m not working door-to-door anymore either. But, the season of seeing more deeply that every breath and step relying on Christ alone through overly emotional experiences, is something I will never dismiss or lament.
But, truly if that’s what it took for some desperation for Jesus flowing into a refreshing repentance and re-direction of a more reliant life on Jesus, then…Yes, Jesus! Yes, please! Thank you!