Essay, Faith, Spirituality

The Freedom of Emptiness

Reflective Essay

I thought it was poetically fitting that the first day after my 40-day fast ended was a beautiful one. An almost cloudless sky greeted me Thursday morning, Feb. 12, and a bright sun with a hint of spring warmth hugged my cheek.

During my 40-day journey, I had wondered how I would change. How I would be different when it was all over, how I would transform, how I would feel, what stunning revelation would manifest. What would it be like after it was all over?

I hoped for and expected the usual: a couple of miracles, about three divine healings, promotion in ministries, financial breakthroughs for several, salvation for about five souls, deliverance for another three and restoration of relationships for a lot. An ambitious list I know, but all of the cases are and were exceptional and so I set about on an exceptional course. I felt victory would only come through a radical approach––and that’s why I chose to open 2009 with 40 days of brokenness.

This was not about me, but of course, I wanted a few things from God for myself, too. Spiritual things, not materials things. I wanted answers.

So on the back of my fasting contract, I asked: God, how is it exactly that you want me to serve You in ministry? People keep telling me that my call is to speak Your Word, but is that so? Just in case you want my two cents, if you don’t want me to evangelize, it’s perfectly fine with me. I won’t be mad about it. I want a new job and I know You have one for me––will it be in Poughkeepsie ? Can it please, please NOT be in Poughkeepsie ? God, where am I going? Where are you sending me? And God please give me the courage to write the books and plays that are in my heart and have been waiting to be birthed for 20 years––and also, please forgive me for not nurturing the books and plays that are in my heart that have been waiting to be birthed for 20 years. I know you gave them all to me––please don’t take them away. I’m sorry for not writing more. I know You gave me that gift for a reason. I’m sorry.

I asked all of that. And I waited. I was very still.

Many mornings I would wake up and just lie in bed waiting to see if He’d visit me, or if a new vision would come, or if I’d hear Him clearly and loudly.

Forty days went by. There was no booming voice from on High, yet I know He spoke to me. The room never filled with smoke as I prayed, yet I know He was there. No moments when time stood still as a Heavenly messenger stood before me. Nope, there was none of that. But I continued to pray and believe God for what I petitioned.

Freedom by Chris, Creative Commons
Freedom by Chris, Creative Commons

 Wash Me, Make Me Over

Forty days is symbolic of cleansing and purifying and even though I entered this period not knowing what God wants me to do next or where He wants me to do it, I knew I needed to be washed anew to be ready for however the next chapter reads. I desperately needed that purging.

So, for 40 days, I worked to get clean. Some days, instead of getting full during a meal, I made it my mission to eat but remain a little hungry. I wanted the rumbling in my stomach and my subsequent weakness to move God––not for my benefit, but for the souls, minds, ministries, bodies, jobs, deliverances and breakthroughs I was fasting for.

I was searching for a cleaness—a freshness, a newness— that I hadn’t experience before. The level of clean when all of those past hurts, disappointments fall away and you barely remember the offense. The level where you pray for your enemies with fervency and not just out of rote obedience. I wanted to get to that level where tears fill my eyes and soak my shirt and beads of sweat dampen my lower back just like when I’m praying for my family and friends or others who have never torn my heart or caused me any pain.

That’s quite a level to aspire to. You gotta be clean to get there.

Running On Empty

I heard Jentezen Franklin say recently that fasting is a time for emptying and I realized what a simple yet deep truth that is. That comment really stuck with me.

I guess as a prayer warrior, it’s easy to get drained and emptied out. Sometimes I’ve wondered, “Lord, I’m happy to pray for these people, but who’s praying for me and my strength?” Even though I’d gone on a 21-day fast and a three-day fast in December, when I started this journey on Jan. 3, I was a little empty in a way.

But the thing is, empty is good. We should all strive to get empty as often as we can. See, when we get totally empty––of ourselves, our pride, our hurts our anger, our frustrations, our doubts, our resentment, our doubts and our sorrows––that’s when we can get TOTALLY filled with God’s power. How can you get all of what you need from God when you’re carrying so much garbage?! Are you kidding me?!! Get empty!!

You want a breakthrough from God? Get empty!! You want to go to the next level in your ministry? Get empty? You want forgiveness from someone? Get empty? You want to forgive someone––in Godly forgiveness? Get empty!!

By the way, how dare we withhold forgiveness from an offender after all of the dirty, smelly, rotten things we’ve done and God continues to infinitely shower us with His mercy?!! We don’t have the right to hold any aught!!

Are your children rebelling? Get empty!!! Are your prayers being unanswered? Get empty! Have you been stuck in the same rut for years? Get empty!!!

Think about it: In the grand scheme of things, if you’re not completely filled with God, aren’t you really empty anyway?God wants our brokenness and He wants our emptiness. Break yourself down. Get empty!!!

Freedom Song

So, that’s it. I have no miraculous stories or divine encounters to share. But I made it, or more appropriately, God made me make it. Of course, my Mommie kept me motivated and encouraged. Many of my prayers and questions were answered. Some are yet to manifest, but I do know that it’s all done!! I know that.

I know that many times, we pray and wait to “hear from God.” The answer doesn’t always come in God’s voice though. I got a few confirmations about things––even though they weren’t revealed in God’s voice, the messages were still from God because they came through people who are anointed and appointed.

I know God moves when we ask. It’s just that move does not always play out as we’d expect. The growth is in waiting for Him to move and not interfering. I tell you, I love Him and whenever He moves is alright with me.

How awesome when our soul escapes us. How beautiful to find that place of freedom. You can find it, too. I found a new level of freedom. I am free. I am free. I am free. Now show me Lord what You want me to see. Happy to do Your will. Proud to be your slave. I shall always be, because You died for me. Now I’m free. I’m free. I’m free. Jehovah Rohi, you chase me down with your mercy. I’m free. I’m free.

Being clean feels real good. Emptying is hard, but it feels good, too. But the best feeling of all is being full.

 

 

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