Tag: Living

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

1. It doesn’t matter where you are or whether there is a bed around or not, you will be able to fall asleep if you try.

2. No matter how noisy it is, you can sleep through basically anything.

Nice try, but there’s no way I’m waking up for that.

3. And you definitely don’t need a room to be pitch black to be able to take a little siesta.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

4. You completely and utterly dread waking up in the morning.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

5. And your alarm clock is basically the devil.

6. You literally can’t understand how anyone can get by with less than eight hours of sleep a night.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

Honestly, eight is at the low end of your sleep spectrum.

7. Your morning coffee doesn’t really seem to have any effect.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

8. And even when you try another one, it doesn’t really help.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

There is no caffeine strong enough to break through this sleepiness.

9. You need to get up and walk around every once in a while so you don’t snooze at your desk.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

10. Or, if you have them, you must resist the temptation of working from the office couches.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

11. You always wonder if it’s worth it to take a nap when you get home from work since you’re just going to fall asleep for the night in a few hours anyway.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

12. Sometimes your friends invite you out, but you kind of just want to get in bed.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

Your bed counts as a friend, though, right?

13. The weekends have become a sacred time for you.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

14. There are times on the weekend when you’ll go back to sleep only a few hours after waking up, and you don’t feel any shame about it.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

15. Though you do often struggle to decide between getting brunch and staying in bed.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

16. You have to be extra careful not to “rest your eyes” because you WILL pass out.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

17. Any exercise makes you immediately want to climb right in bed afterward.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

“Ten jumping jacks? I think I deserve a little nap.”

18. You’re always a little nervous that you’ll doze off in a dark movie theater.

You're always a little nervous that you'll doze off in a dark movie theater.

19. You’re so used to having bags under your eyes that it doesn’t even faze you anymore when people bring it up.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

20. Buses and planes may be uncomfortable, but you get so tired that you can sleep on them anyway.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

21. It’s inevitable that after a bit of drinking you’ll end up needing to excuse yourself to go catch some Z’s.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

22. And you consider it a late night if you manage to stay out past 11:30.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

23. You often find yourself procrastinating because you just become too tired to finish your tasks without a quick nap.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

24. You are outrageously jealous of animals like sloths that just get to chill and rest all day long.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

25. Your bed is probably the most important thing you own.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

26. Because being tired isn’t just a physical feeling for you. It’s a way of life.

26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand

*This article was originally published on Buzzfeed.

Shake, Rattle & Roll!

I hail from the golden state of California (yeah!!). We are the 8th largest economy in the WORLD, and have the largest population in the entire United States. We are home of the entertainment capital of the world and our football teams have won more NFL championships than any other state (with our NBA teams also ranking near the top). With all of the wonderful things that California has to offer, there is one bad thing that we are known for – our earthquakes.

I was born & raised in California and have experienced several earthquakes growing up.  But something I have never witnessed before was 2 earthquakes taking place within two weeks of each other. And last month that’s precisely what happened – two earthquakes, back to back.

What should one do in an earthquake (or any natural disaster), you may ask? Well, my very own Senator, Ms. Barbara Boxer, has sent all of her constituents directions on what to do. I decided I would pass this information along just in case you find yourself in a natural disaster.

Dear Friend:

The recent earthquakes in Orange, Los Angeles and Napa Counties remind us all of the importance of being fully prepared for natural disasters.

The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA have put together some helpful tips on what to do before, during and after an earthquake to help protect you and your family.

Before an earthquake:

  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Secure items in your home that could fall during a quake, especially heavy objects and overhead light fixtures.
  • Make sure water heaters, refrigerators, furnaces and gas appliances are strapped to the wall studs or bolted to the floor.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations, and be sure your residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
  • Identify safe spots to take cover in each room, such as under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family to practice “drop, cover, and hold on.”

During an earthquake:

  • If indoors, drop to the floor; take cover under a sturdy table, desk or other piece of furniture; and hold on until the shaking stops.
  • If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Do not use a doorway unless you know it is load-bearing – many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • If outdoors, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires to avoid falling debris.
  • If driving, stop as quickly as safety permits; avoid stopping under or near buildings, overpasses, and utility wires. Proceed cautiously after the shaking stops – roads, bridges or ramps may have been damaged.

After an earthquake:

  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building.
  • Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger of further injury.
  • Expect aftershocks as well as power outages. If you live in a coastal area, be aware of possible tsunamis and be ready to move to higher ground.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • Authorities recommend using your telephone only for emergency calls. For further information on how to communicate after a disaster, click here.
  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been requested by emergency personnel.
  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Check for gas leaks and damage to electrical systems and water lines. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.

For more information on how you and your family can be ready for a major earthquake, please go to Ready.gov or click here to visit the earthquake page on my website. To take part in California’s annual earthquake practice drill, the Great California ShakeOut, click here.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer United States Senator

quake

Find Your Perfect Fit

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.
—Hebrews 11:8

If you are doing nothing with your life because you are not sure what to do, then I recommend that you pray and begin trying some things. It won’t take long before you will feel comfortable with something. It will be a perfect fit for you. Think of it this way: When you go out to buy a new outfit, you probably try on several things until you find what fits right, is comfortable, and looks good on you.

Why not try the same thing with discovering your destiny? Obviously there are some things you cannot just “try”—such as being an astronaut or the president of the United States—but one thing is for sure: You cannot drive a parked car. Get your life out of “park,” and get moving in some direction. I don’t suggest going deep in debt to find out if you should own a business, but you could begin in some small way, and, if it works, take it to the next level. As we take steps of faith, our destinies unfold. A confident woman is not afraid to make mistakes, and if she does, she recovers and presses on.

Lord, I want to be moving in the right direction with my life. I trust You to guide my steps as You did Abraham. Amen.

Gods sign

A Big Dose of Humility

For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce].
—Romans 2:1

Humility is defined as “freedom from pride and arrogance…a modest estimate of one’s own worth.” In theology, it means having a consciousness of your own defects. We often judge other people because we don’t really have a conscious awareness of our own flaws. We look at everybody else through a magnifying glass, but we look at ourselves through rose-colored glasses. For others who make mistakes, “there is no excuse,” but it seems for us, there is always a reason why our behavior is acceptable.

The Bible says to “humble yourselves…under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6). Examine your own heart and actions and humble yourself before Him. God gives us an opportunity to humble ourselves, but if we refuse, He will do it for us. So pray for God to make you aware of areas that need attention and refuse to sit in judgment on others.

humility

*Originally published by Joyce Meyer.

4 Things to Do When You Feel Unappreciated

It’s a cruel, cruel world. Most of the appreciation you receive in life happens when you’re young and incompetent or after you’re dead. In between, you have a measure of competence and you’re expected to get busy using it.

Expectation ends gratitude.

People aren’t grateful for what they expect. There comes a point when you’re expected to keep your shoes tied, food off your face, and your pants zipped up.

Gratitude is limited to first accomplishments. After that, success is expected.

Parents go nuts when their children learn to use the potty. I don’t blame them. But, there comes a point when no one is excited that you can use the toilet on your own.

The cruel truth:

Everyone who deeply invests in an organization, project, or person has felt under-appreciated. No one understands the amount of energy you’re expending or the full weight of the load you carry.

To make matters worse, competence is taken for granted.

Warning:

Feelings of under-appreciation turn into self-defeating anger, self-pity, bitterness, and foot-dragging.

Dealing with under-appreciation:

  1. Invite trusted friends to share their success. Share yours. Create environments where bragging is OK, once in a while.
  2. Work hard because of who you are.
  3. Express appreciation when you receive appreciation.
  4. Value your work like you hope others will. Don’t say, “It was nothing.”

Be grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Leadership:

Someone on your team feels unappreciated.

Unappreciated people, under-perform.

  1. Give back-handed complements. Ask, “How can you bring your talent to this situation?”
  2. Honor competence. “One of the things I admire about you is ________.”
  3. Focus on giving appreciation, not receiving it.
  4. Gratitude reinforces behaviors. If you want more of something, show gratitude for it.
  5. Keep pressing into the future. Gratitude doesn’t create complacency when you press toward new goals.
  6. Give hit-and-run expressions of gratitude.

What strategies address issues of under-appreciation?

How have you shown appreciation, in the last 24 hours, to key people you work with?

unappreciated

*This article was originally published on Leadership Freak.

1 Down, 3 To Go

The first quarter of the year is just about over which means 2014 is well underway! Is your year going the way that you planned? Are you checking things off your ‘New Year’s Resolution’ lists? Have you started working towards everything you set out to do this year? I certainly hope so! But if you haven’t yet, don’t worry because there are still 9 more months left in the year to get things in order.

This year has gotten off to an okay start for me, but I still have a long ways to go – both personally & professionally. As I think about the goals I haven’t accomplished yet I’m focused on how to make things happen for me before the year is over. Everything happens the way it’s supposed to but there is always space to do better. People are usually very excited at the beginning of a project or really motivated towards the end of a project but tend to lose steam somewhere in the middle. I’m trying to stay motivated myself but it’s tough when life throws curve balls.

Here are some tips to help you accomplish your goals for the remainder of the year:

  • Make every day count – Put your phone down, log out of Facebook & turn off the TV for the day so that you can focus on what matters
  • Guard your thoughts – Don’t let the negativity creep in
  • Be positive – Try and find the good in every situation
  • Don’t be afraid to celebrate your progress – Remember what you’ve accomplished so far
  • Ask for help – Find a good support system and lean back!
  • Take good advice – If you ask for it, use it. If you don’t ask for it, use it.
  • Encourage someone else – You never know what other people are going through or how you can help someone else

So don’t fret, You still have 3/4 of the year left to finish what you’ve started. Conquer the rest of your year!

third quarter

Giving up Your Impatience for Lent

Scripture Verses

Questions to Consider

  • What are you impatient about? What are some things that cause you impatience?
  • What are some things that help you to relax and find peace in a busy and hurried world?
  • What are some ways that you can intentionally practice patience today?
  • What does Jesus teach us about patience and peace?

Plan of Action

  • The next time you are at a busy store, pick the longest line. As you stand in the line pray for the people around you. Pray that God would give them peace and patience.
  • On your drive home from work, intentionally get in the slow lane. Listen to some inspirational music or an inspiration audiobook. Savor the moment. Thank God for this day. Thank him for the car you are driving. Consider how amazing is our modern day ability to travel and commute. Live in the moment.
  • Be still and know God.

Reflection

Someone once told me a joke that went along these lines:

There was a man who once asked God, “How long is a million years to you?”

God said, “A million years is like a second.”

Then the man said, “How much is a million dollars to you?”

God said, “A million dollars is like a penny.”

The man smiled and said, “Could you spare a penny?”

God smiled back and said, “Sure, just wait a second.”

God’s sees time very different than us. Throughout the Scriptures it seems God seeks to teach his people lessons in patience. It was 40 years that his people wandered in the desert. It was 4000 years from the time of the fall in the Garden until the time of the Messiah. And now we are 2000 years waiting for the return of Christ. But everything happens in God’s good timing.

I want you to consider 3 aspects of patience in regards to faith and life.

Patience towards God

Patience towards God is the patience to wait for God’s answer to prayer no matter how agonizing it might be. It is always believing his time is the best time. When we find our impatience towards God growing, we go back to the invitation in Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.

Patience with Yourself

Patience with yourself is is to recognize that accomplished people are not born that way. In 1 Timothy 4:7 the Apostle Paul says, “train yourself to be godly.” Training is pushing ourselves to do what we can today so that we can do tomorrow what we can’t do today. Growth is a process that takes time and does not happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. You are on the way. Don’t be in a rush to get there. Enjoy the journey.

Patience towards Others

Patience towards others is difficult when we feel they have taken advantage of us, when we feel they don’t listen to us, when we feel they have wronged us, or when when they don’t agree with us.

But the reason we can be patient with others is because God was first patient with us. Though we are sinners and do not deserve his love, he still loves us. He still waits for us and gives us the opportunity to try again. It is called forgiveness. And he doesn’t just forgive us once. He forgives us over and over and over and over. In the words of Jesus “seventy times seven” which was a way of saying he forgives us to infinity (Matthew 18:21–22).

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

When it all comes down to it, patience is about love. Love is patient! It is the first characteristic of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Being patient towards others is making it about them rather than making it about us. Impatience happens when we are focused on ourselves and our priorities. Patience happens when our focus is on God and others. Let’s start looking outside ourselves!

patience 1

*This article was originally published on Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

Coffee Cups Up! – The March Issue Is Here!

The latest edition of Coffee Cups Up! is finally here! I was able to get an interview with the Editor-in-Chief, Ms. Yolanda Bradford, who is a cooking extraordinaire! She opens up about her life, her cooking experience and also offers valuable advice to everyone. Read her interview below & be sure to click on the magazine to enjoy this month’s edition of Coffee Cups Up!

My name is Yolanda Bradford.  I’m from Houston, TX.  I graduate from Grambling State University with a degree in Office/Business Administration.  I work for an oil & gas corporation as a Senior Travel Consultant.  I’m married and we have a daughter in college at Florida Atlantic University.  I love softball, music, drawing, writing and cooking.  I love to travel and explore new things.  I’m a free-spirited person and God is head of my life. What I’ve come to learn, it is never too late to for-fill your dreams and goals, even when you think you don’t have any. That is how I have live my life up until now, not knowing what my purpose in life. I now have a vision. I now have purpose.  My life is for-filling, overwhelmingly gracious and joyously prosperous.  I would like to dedicate this interview to my father, Freddie L. Stewart, Sr., who recently lost his battle to cancer. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He was my motivator and he gave me strive to accomplish any and all.

1)      What made you start ‘Coffee Cups Up!’?

   I’m a very spiritual person.  When I say spiritual, I don’t mean religious.  I mean “spirit guided”.  My husband can tell this story better than I can.  He tells it to me all the time. You see, I had first started a website that hosted all of my cakes but I was not getting the amount of traffic/views to the site that I wanted.  So I began to brain-storm ways of how I could market my cakes/my brand.  I slept on.  The next morning, right before awakening, a voice came to me and said “create a magazine”.  When I woke up, I turn to my husband and said, “I am going to create a magazine for my cakes!” Of course, he looked at me strangely but by the end of the week, “Coffee Cups UP!” was born.

2)      Where did your love of cooking come from? How long have you been into the culinary arts? 

“Culinary Arts”?  I would love to be in the Culinary Arts education but unfortunately I haven’t had the chance. My skills, I consider them talents given to me by God.  I love cooking, baking, and the art of it.  I see food differently. I’m passionate about my work and I take pride in every cake I bake, every dessert I make and every meal that I prepare.   

3)      What is your favorite dish to cook? 

    I really don’t have a favorite dish.  I just love cooking.  I’ve always had the “knack” for cooking but I never have put a stake into it.  Not until now.  Cooking comes natural for me. I love to watch cooking shows and learn new things.  If I had to make a chose, I love seafood. I love crabs!  Fried, boiled or sauté.  

 4)      What do you think is going to be the next big thing in the food world?   

   I believe International foods will take over the food world.  People are getting bored with the ‘usual’ U.S. foods.  The food world is so broad, there’s not one simple ingredient to pin-point the food world.  People love to eat and food will always be of second nature.  What I would like to see in the future are healthier fast food chains like boiled or baked meats. Instead of the fried food restaurants, let’s see boiled, baked, grilled or sauté type of fast-food restaurants that will serve 2 veggie sides and a crystal light drink.   J I’m just saying!  You shouldn’t have to only get that kind of food at home or at a high-end restaurant.

 5)      How many dishes do you think the average person should know how to prepare (whether they’re single or married)?  

    They say the way to a man’s heart is through to his stomach. I normally don’t like to cliché responses but I believe this one is true.  When I first met my husband, I had made gumbo.  I invited a few friends and family over, he was among them.  Well, unbeknown to me, my husband had told his [then] roommate that I was going to be his wife and he didn’t know me from Sally Sue. LOL… we laugh about it to this day. Of course his roommate thought he had one too many bowls of gumbo by then; but we are a true testimony to this day.  So to answer your question, a person needs to know at least 3 dishes:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!

 6)      Outside of cooking (and publishing), what are some of your other interests? 

I have recently formed a ladies’ group called the “Glam Girls”.  It’s a good group of ladies who come together to “Relax, Release, and Relate”. The 3 R’s.  We share news, accomplishments, target goals and achievements.  We just want to make a difference in life. We’re like a support group for empowering women.  We also celebrate birthdays and give back to the community. 

 7)      Where do you get your inspiration for your articles?

My inspirations come daily.  I never have a set format for the monthly issues. I like the freedom of expressions without limitations. I will publish newsworthy events, positive role models, information that you never thought would change your way of thinking.  I’d like to think that each publication will bring about a change. My purpose for the magazine is to give recognition to everyday people.  I want to use “Coffee Cups UP!” as a beacon for the average “Mary” or “Joe”.  It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around and you don’t have to be a Pop Star, a millionaire, a famous person or the President to get your 5 minutes of fame in “Coffee Cups UP!” magazine. 

 8)      Is there anybody you’d like to interview? 

    That’s a loaded question.  The first answer comes to mind is, “no”.  Then retreating back, I will say that I love people.  All people are interesting to me.  No one person stands out in my mind because success is an open playing field. We all can achieve it, if we believe it.  So to interview any particular person would be a blessing within itself. I don’t alienate. If you say “yes”, the interview is on. 

 9)      What do you think is the most challenging aspect to running your own magazine?

     Time! The most challenging aspect is having ample time to formulate and publish the magazine… and the second most important that I don’t have much time for anymore is “baking”.  My soul purpose for creating the magazine was to showcase my cakes on every advertising page, but my time for baking and publishing has become very limited.  So I sacrifice, which then puts a load on me.  I just pray to grow old… beautifully.      

 10)  What’s your best piece of advice for someone who can’t cook at all

     The best advice that I can give to someone who can’t cook is to learn how to cook. God gave us 5 senses and the ability to learn reflects in all of them some kind of way.  The second advice I could give is shopping at the grocery store.  All of the stores, nowadays, make it so easy for even the “challenged” cook. They have everything they should need.  You see, “Cooks” will shop counter-clockwise in a store, from wall to wall; from the produce, to raw meats and then the dairy section. The “non-cooks” should shop at the deli where everything is pre-made like salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and soups or in the frozen section. They can even chance it in the aisles for can goods or box meals.  But if all else fails, the least favorite is take-out. If you are trying to impress with a meal, order take-out, take the food out of the cartons, platter it up and throw the boxes away!

 11)  What are your future plans for ‘Coffee Cups Up!’? 

     I want my brand to expand, gain notoriety and recognition as the next new magazine to hit the stands. I want to transform from “the new online magazine” to the” new paperback” print.  I want my magazine to sit next to “O” on the magazine rack!

CCU

Positive Belief

Hebrews 11 is a chapter about faith and the people of God who dared to believe the promises. “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]” (v. 6).

As I consider that verse, I can see how the devil creeps in. He says to us, “Yes, that’s true. Those were special people. You are nobody. God won’t do anything special for you. Why should He?”

That is a satanic lie—and one that too many easily accept. God loves each of us, and the Bible says He’s our Father. Any good father loves to do good things for his children. God wants to do good things for you and for me.

The Lord chooses to do good to us and to make us happy; the devil chooses to do wrong and to make us miserable. We can remain patient and keep believing God’s promises, or we can allow the evil one’s whisper to fill our ears and lead us astray. Too many of us have ignored the fact that God is the originator of miracles. He specializes in doing the impossible: He provided a son to barren Sarah; He opened the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk across on dry land; He destroyed Goliath with a single stone from a slingshot. Those are miracles. That’s the Holy Spirit at work, defying the laws of nature (He made the laws, so He can break them).

Expect a miracle in your life. Expect many miracles.

Positive belief in God’s promises yields good results because the Good One sends them to us. Refuse to give up, and you will see the result of your positive belief.

Dear Father in heaven, forgive my lack of belief. Forgive me for allowing Satan to deceive me or make me think I’m worthless or unworthy of Your miracles. I am worthy because You made me worthy. You are the God of the impossible, and I ask You to help me wait on You and never give up. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, I pray. Amen.

-by Joyce Meyer

sunday

Right and Wrong Reasons for Giving up Something for Lent

Lent has been going for about a week now & I thought I’d check in to see how everyone is doing with their “sacrifices”. As you know it is a tradition during the season of Lent for many people to “give something up.” You may very likely practice this tradition yourself. Some examples of the things people give up include chocolate, alcohol, smoking, television, and Facebook. There are lots of different reasons people have for giving something up for Lent. As with many practices there are some good reasons to do it and then there are some not-so-good of reasons to do it. Here are some of the not-so-good reasons:

1. Because it’s tradition

There are many good traditions in the church. Most every tradition is begun for a good reason. But there often comes a time when we lose the connection with the purpose of the tradition and we continue the tradition for the sake of the tradition. If you are not sure what the purpose of the tradition is, then it may be time to stop the tradition or at the least go back and re-examine the origins.

2. It helps me relate to the suffering of Jesus

Many believe that making a sacrifice will help them better relate to the sufferings of Jesus. But if you think this through, does giving up Facebook for Lent even begin to come close to helping you relate to the suffering Jesus went through? We are totally missing the point. Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice. His suffering was brutal. The idea of giving up 1st world luxuries to help us relate to the suffering he endured is laughable at best and mockery at worst.

3. To help me feel better about myself

For some giving up something for Lent is a way to kick a bad habit. Lent serves as a catalyst for living a healthier and more balanced life. It might serve to help you eat better or make better use of your time. All that is commendable and God wants us to be good stewards of our lives. But this still falls short of the fuller Lenten experience.

 

So what is the point then? Why would I give something up for Lent?

The whole idea behind giving something up is called FASTING. Fasting is a spiritual discipline much like prayer, Bible reading, and worship. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “when you fast …” He didn’t say, “if you fast …” There was an expectation his followers would fast. But it is an often overlooked discipline in the church. And because we don’t often teach about it, there is great misunderstanding about it.

So here are some reasons why we do fast or “give something up for Lent”:

1. More of God

While the idea of fasting involves taking something away, it is ultimately about more of God. Fasting in its purest form involves foregoing food for a certain period of time. This will lead to a hunger in our stomach which has an ultimate purpose of connecting us with our hunger for God. The time you might have spent preparing a meal and eating the meal can now be spent feasting on God’s Word. In other words, spend the time you would have spent eating by reading the Bible and praying. Jesus says, “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We realize our food and everything else we have comes from God. If God did not provide it, we would not have it (see John 6:68–69). We eliminate that which we think we need for that which we truly need.

2. Removing barriers

Another important aspect of fasting is cutting out that which is hindering our relationship with God. There is nothing more important in this world than our relationship with him. Yet, we allow so many other things to get in the way. In last Sunday’s message we heard Jesus say, “if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off” (Matthew 5:29–30). The principle applies here is that we eliminate that which separates us from God. There are many things in life we think we cannot do without, but Jesus says only one thing is needful (Matthew 10:41–42).

3. Re-centering

Finally, fasting has a way of centering us and reminding us what is most important. We have a lot of competing priorities in life. We don’t fast for God’s sake. It is a discipline given to us for our benefit. Fasting points us to what is most important. It helps us to keep the first things the first things. This is why we see the early church enter a time of fasting prior to making a big decisions (see Acts 13:2–3; 14:23). Fasting helps us better discern God’s priorities for life and ministry.

So how about you? What are some of the reasons you fast or “give something up” during Lent? Make sure to share in the comments below.

God’s blessings,

Pastor Phil

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*Article original published on Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.