I got the idea for this image during a 10-day fast in January. As usual, it looked a lot different then than it does now. Originally, I envisioned myself pushing back darkness, but that didn't pay off visually... so here we are.
During the fast, I gave up all media - Netflix (my source of TV), I only listened to praise and worship music, and I cut out indulgent food... and then all food... until on the 10th and final day of the fast I drank only water.
For those of you reading who may not be familiar with the concept of a fast, it’s more than a diet. The idea is two-fold. For the first part, you pick something you’re oversaturated with (media, food, alcohol, business, excess spending - really anything) and you decide that you’ll deny yourself that thing (or things) for a pre-determined number of days. The second part suggests you pray every time you feel yourself craving whatever it is you’re fasting. So if you fast sugar, every time you start day-dreaming about chocolate cake and ice cream (instead of going to the fridge) you pray. In theory, you're training your brain to want Jesus more than anything worldly.
In January, when I examined my life in preparation for this fast, I looked at all the things that distracted my mind and body from time better spent. The outcome was me giving up the things I previously listed.
The result was an overflow of time. I had so much time on my hands! (Especially since I had just started a new job with normal hours and didn’t have many friends here yet) It resulted in extra time with family, and more time with God than ever. THAT resulted in an overflow of inspiration and joy in my life, and I kept thinking that this idea of creating space was going to be an important theme in my life.
I was right!
Now I’m exploring the concept of a sabbath - how it's restful and restorative, and how we were created in a way that requires us to rest. In a way, the sabbath is like a fast - a day long* fast from all the things life demands of us. A chance to do whatever it is that feeds our soul. A chance to clear our schedule and only say yes to the things we actually WANT to do. A chance to spend time in the presence of our creator!
*it doesn't have to be an exact 24 hours, though that's suggested. I've been encouraged to be flexible and creative as life allows, but to also consider the importance and impact of a full 24 hours
In exploring this concept of creating space - through fasting, sabbath, and a perspective change, I've seen my priorities change, my creativity explode, my inspiration flow, and more. I've realized it truly is a wonderful rhythm to be in.
If you created space in your life for the things you love to do, what would change?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a sabbath, I highly recommend the video below - I also included a brief summary of the series we’re in at Lifegate right now. You can check out the entire thing, if you want!
If you’re interested in the fasting thing, there’s another series from Lifegate called Thirst - you can find all the lessons on the website.
שבת שלום - Shabbat Shalom
"We are not machines, we are made in the image of God who stopped on the 7th day from all his creative work to rest and delight in all He had made. Just like Him, we are to work six days and truly rest on the seventh - a day when time slows and becomes full of possibilities. Learn as Pastor Les describes sabbath, how important and life-giving it is and that no matter what our weekly schedules are like, we can be flexible and creative as we live a sabbath lifestyle."
We’ve talked about how sabbath is kind of like a rebellion against our current culture - how we can resist the temptation to over fill our schedules and be busy every second of our lives, just so we can say “I can’t, I’m too busy” - like that’s something to be boasted. By embracing a sabbath lifestyle, we rebel/resist/revolt against the trend of busyness.
- Resistance! Hey! I’ve explored that concept before, haven’t I?
- I wonder how I could represent that visually?
- This “creating space”/“pushing back the darkness” thing isn’t really working visually…..
- WALLS!!! TWO WALLS!
^ a timeline of my thought process
*deep breath* wow, this is long - If you're still here, thanks for reading! I'm almost done! :)
Here's a pretty picture for your trouble!
Since creating this image, the meaning behind the walls has transformed a bit.
Originally, they were supposed to be a representation of protection - holding me safely in a space that is all mine.
But now I see they can just as easily be a barrier - keeping the outside world quiet and subdued.
And now I’m realizing that’s what Jesus does for us. In his presence, we remain safe and sound, the outside world can remain at bay. Yet we always have the option to stand up and walk out, and to face it all again, knowing we always have that place to return to to be refreshed.
ARE YOU KIDDING?! HOW ROMANTIC!!!
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11: 28-30 ESV
Thanks for reading. It means the world to me!