As we continue through our 21-day fast as a community, we wanted to provide a space to read and share stories about how God is moving in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Check out the stories below and submit your own at the bottom of the page. You can choose to keep your story private (and only share it with our staff team) or share it publicly and we’ll add it to the list of stories below.
In processing the fast with a family member I was given this bit of wisdom, which was given to him a while back, “When your mind wanders to the past, Satan is there to tell you that your past decisions have ruined you. When your mind wanders to the future, Satan is there to tell you that you haven’t got what it takes to make it and that you’re ill-prepared. But only in the present does Jesus dwell, and there Satan cannot touch you.”
This fast has been absolutely life-changing in the most ordinary, simple ways. Just by removing some things, and replacing them with intentional time to listen and seek God, I have received so much. I feel more clear-headed and so much more present to each moment and the simple things that bring me joy in my day. It has felt like God has chipped off some hard edges and pieces of me and I feel a fresh excitement for what is next.
I chose to fast my spending and have loved seeing God move through that! I initially thought that I would cut my spending so I could practically view my habits and see which areas where I could spend less and where I could invest more. I was surprised by how much more I’ve learned from this experience.
I’ve felt very affirmed by this fast and feel a call to be more generous and service-oriented. And while I’m listening for more direction on that, I’ve also seen God point out so many other ways that my spending affected my life. The past 3 weeks of just buying groceries and gas forced me to actually pack a lunch, which then allowed me to actually sit down with coworkers and enjoy my lunch rather than running out to grab a quick bite. This helped me to feel more engaged in life and not go through the motions. Overall this fast has helped me to feel refreshed and eager for what’s in store!
Coming into this fast I was excited to see what was in store for my relationship with God. Sitting in church listening to Phil talk to us about not only praying or reading the bible, but to make time to meditate — I had never done it before, and I thought what does meditation look like with God?
So that week I decided to give it a shot.
First, I prayed to God asking Him for help to clear my mind and guide me.
As my mind became quiet, I began to picture a bay with boats, but all my eyes were focusing on was how calm the water was. My mind then began to swim through the bay and out into a stormy ocean where the weather was fierce. I then felt Jesus there with me walking on the water. As I opened my eyes from my meditation, it was almost like God whispering to me that He is the one who walks through life with us no matter how calm or stormy the waters are.
Reading through the gospels again, I feel like I am understanding the humanness of Jesus, the real pain to his betrayals, constant sarcasm by the Pharisees constantly, and his own disciples constantly not understanding him & falling asleep when he prayed…..I am better understanding the deep, true emotions Jesus must have felt, to the point that I am getting emotional & fired up when reading. I am learning to walk, rather than feeling the pressure of sprinting to “know everything.”
Distance doesn’t hold Jesus back!
I moved to Portland 6 months ago and am going through a fasting series with Bridgetown Church. I was halfway through fasting the moment Phil sent out the encouraging email today. God is funny and so so personal. Learning a lot about His loving character and the pruning that NEEDS to happen for me to hear, have greater dependence on Him, less on the world, and have better focus in the day-to-day and grander perspective.
I fasted from coffee!
I learned that things shouldn’t own me. We THINK things will be hard to let go of, but God gives us strength.
Released from anxiety!
No Smartphone = No Google Maps
This fast is allowing me to reduce distractions and relearn that boredom is okay.
I took my daughter to Target and instead of buying stuff for us, we packed backpacks full of stuff for the homeless. Seeing her heart and mind start realizing how it’s more important to give than receive was the best.
Spending more time in prayer
This first week it became evident how I turn to food for comfort and distraction. I chose to fast lunch and take that time to step away from my desk, go outside, and sit with Jesus. By lunch the first day, I already wanted to shove food in my mouth after a stressful meeting. Instead, I sensed the invitation to let the Lord comfort me. In the space I had opened, I was reminded that he wants to be the one I turn to in every situation. Going in to the second week I feel expectant of his presence, wisdom, and peace.
As we have begun the fast it has been amazing to see how God has been so faithful to show up to the space that has been created in simply giving up social media, podcasts, certain music and about 10 sports blogs/apps. Within the spaces that I usually cram full with “stuff” I now am being reminded of certain people that I haven’t talked to in awhile. Those reminders quickly turn to prayers for those people and a couple of times those prayers have turned to some really awesome phone conversation with those people. It’s rad to see all of the ways that I can (now that I am making space) participate with God by blessing friends or family with the simple gift of attention.
Astonished, I can hear again
Past that incessant hum
I found more in absence
Without those beating drums
Time it passes slowly
And slow the absence brings
Like a feather falling gently
On the early morning breeze
Reflection takes its leisure time
He’s a veteran on a cruise
What will his thoughts uncover
In the stillness and the muse
I am so excited to see what God does during this fast. Yesterday was day one and God already started to move. My husband and I decided to cut out all television and movies because that is how we normally “zone out” or “wind down”. God began to show me yesterday that when I turn on the TV as soon as I get home to relax, or when I’m bored, I don’t get the opportunity to fully process the things that have happened in the past day, week, month. I don’t get to think about what God might be saying to me. I don’t get to just think. But even just ONE day of cutting it out and “clearing the way” God began to speak loud and clear. He began to bring up unprocessed memories from several years ago that needed healing. It was just a start but I am excited to see what God does these next twenty days.