Fasting, weeping and mourning - Redefined!

Fasting, weeping and mourning - Redefined!
by Joel Howard

What I once thought
I used to think of the biblical call to fast, weep and mourn on a day of repentance as a call away from God, an embrace of my nothingness before God and a day to move away from joy, true joy.  
I used to think fasting was an extra thing I had to do for God because of the bad person that I was/am. 
I used to think weeping was embracing the curse of shame and condemnation for my shortcomings. 
I used to think mourning was missing out on the love of God because I had messed up. 

These were my core beliefs about these disciplines and mandates from God.  
It was as if God were telling me to go sulk in my shame all by myself.  

What I now believe
Today when I think of the three - fasting, weeping and mourning, I see them slightly different actually quite different!

Instead of doing more for God, fasting is doing less in order to get God!
Instead of hiding in shame, I now see weeping as taking an honest, real look at life's scenarios, its ups and downs, my sins and gifts, the whole of who I am, just as I am, and as the Psalmist says in Psalm 62, pouring out my heart to Him in full honesty and increased integrity. 
Instead of seeing mourning as resigning to the flames of hell in my soul, I now see mourning as allowing myself to pursue health in my positive and negative emotions, seeing them as signpost from God and to God - listening to my body and, as a child, coming to my Father in raw, unhidden emotion.  What a fruitful process!

Three new friends
My old views of the three were Godless, Jesus-less and Spirit-less. They were all about me.  
My new friends in fasting, weeping and mourning encourage me to -

Do less for God
Lament freely before God
And look honestly at my soul for God

More Him, less me
More Christ, less me
More Spirit-presence, less me
Less hiding, more me
Less striving, more me
Less dodging, more me

A sit down at the table with God
Fasting, weeping and mourning are not pagan rituals we apply to our relationship to God. 
Fasting, weeping and mourning bring more God to the table and more of us to the table 
For a real, good, intimate gathering of God and man

Soul, now are you ready to fast, weep and mourn??

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