Jul 16, 2013

Daniel Fast Update: FOCUS!

It’s mid-afternoon, day three of my Daniel Fast. I’m sitting at my desk, working on a tedious schedule. I wasn’t hungry, and yet I wanted something to eat. Visions of Cheez-its danced through my head. I could taste them, smell them, and I wanted them. The more I thought about them, the more I craved them. My mouth started to water in anticipation of that first bite.

Yes, it’s me again. Writing about focus again. (See What's Cookin' - Part 1 )

But this time it’s not about inability to focus. It’s about being focused on the wrong thing…the other side of the focus coin.

When I first read this verse, “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3 KJV), I had trouble understanding it at first. I knew there wasn’t any way to make God bigger. Then I realized it was about making God bigger: to me.

Picture Jesus standing in front of you, so close that He blocks everything else from your view.

Now picture a box of Cheez-its right in front of your face, so close that you can read the fine print on the box.

Each picture will bring thoughts to your mind, and eventually you will act on those thoughts. So in my battle with the Cheez-its, I needed to stop focusing on how great they tasted and how much I wanted them. In fact, I needed to stop thinking about them at all! But to do that, I needed to bring something or someone else to the forefront of my mind.

And that’s where Jesus helps us – that’s how we access His grace. When we focus on Him and how amazing He is, and how much He loves us, and how much He wants us to succeed, He begins to block out that which is not nearly as important. The temporary cravings and lust of the flesh flee in His awesome presence. 

Is it quick and easy? Not always. And it’s not a formula where you can say, “focus on Jesus for 3-5 minutes, pray, and PRESTO! craving is gone.” Sometimes that is true and the craving will flee immediately, but sometimes it’s an ongoing battle.

Like for me yesterday. I was ready to give up on the fast. I was tired, hungry, and frustrated. Why was I doing this fast anyway? I don’t care about losing weight, I feel fine the way I am. And anyway, did God really say…

Wait, was my Cheez-its craving spurred by emotion? Was I an emotional eater? Did I lose my focus that easily just because of how I felt, just because I was tired?

Yes, I did! And yes, I was about to feed my emotions. I temporarily forgot about obeying God in this fast, about the excellent health benefits, and about my goal to lose weight.  All of that seemed distant in the face of the Cheez-its right down the hall.

Thankfully, I chose to stay at my desk. Unlike other times over the past few weeks, this time I didn’t get money out of my purse, didn’t walk down to the machine. I switched my focus to the task at hand, realizing I could go home and eat right in 2 more hours. I chose to obey what God told me.

When we obey Him, He becomes magnified.

And the temporary cravings of the flesh truly do disappear.

Today’s Challenge:  What are you focused on right now that is bringing you down? Ask the Lord to lead you to a Bible verse that can help adjust your focus.

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