Happy New Year

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in Faith, Marriage & Family, Mental Health | 6 comments

Happy New Year

At the start of every new year, I take some time to fast and pray, to shake off all the dust from the past year, to get fresh vision for the new year. As I seek direction for what I should fast and for how long, I usually sense God asking me to set aside something that I’ve unknowingly and unintentionally started to turn to for comfort or security that’s not Him.

A few years ago as I was preparing for my fast, I felt Him asking me to give up arguing and complaining for the entire month of January. Kind of incredulous, I checked back several times. Arguing and complaining? Is that it? I thought for sure He’d pull out the big guns – chocolate, coffee, dinner, wine. Nope. Just arguing and complaining. For one month. That’s it.

On January 1, I set about my fast with a spring in my step and deep gratitude that I could still enjoy my morning coffee and evening dessert. This was going to be sooooo easy. I wasn’t much of an arguer and complainer to begin with, right?

Wrong. Of course, it turned out to be the most difficult fast I’ve ever done. I could hardly keep myself from feasting at a table of arguing and complaining for three square meals a day and snacks in between. I felt like I was starving without it. Wasting away.

During this time, God revealed to me how much arguing and complaining I was doing in my marriage. He showed me that the problem wasn’t just that I was arguing and complaining, but that my arguing and complaining had become tools I used to defend and protect myself. They were bad and unsuccessful ways to cover up and manage a lot of hurt and resentment I held in my heart towards Husband. Because I was not handling this emotion in the right ways, I was acting it out in all the wrong ways.

God used my month long fast from arguing and complaining to show me the truth underlying my actions, to help me clean out my unexpressed emotion, and to begin healing my heart. He gently redirected me to pour out my concerns about my marriage to Him so that He could help me, rather than erecting impenetrable walls of defensiveness, rudeness, and hardness towards Husband because I did not know how else to help myself.

At the end of the month, I felt impressed to tell Husband about my fast, to apologize for all of my arguing and complaining, and then to talk to him about my hurts and anger. In that order specifically. Honestly, I can’t remember exactly what the outcome of that conversation was. I imagine that it was great in some ways and hard in some ways, that it brought some resolution but left some conflict to be worked through at a future time. What I do remember vividly, though, is that my heart felt cleaned out of bitterness and resentment afterwards. I did not need to argue and complain to protect myself any longer, I needed to focus on keeping my heart healthy regardless of what Husband or my marriage made me feel in the course of a day. I remember with great clarity that, following this experience, something changed and shifted in me and my marriage for the better, and it has remained better since.

As I was preparing to ring in 2013 with a time of quiet reflection, this story popped into my head and I wanted to share it. I do not think this is an uncommon pattern in marriage. Changing this way of relating in my own marriage freed me up in so many ways and left me feeling better about myself, my life, and my family.

I plan to spend this next month of January as I usually do, and this year that includes taking a break from social media and blogging. Happy New Year! I’ll see you in February ~ Celia

 

6 Comments

  1. You have a beautiful soul, my friend. Thank you for your inspiring words. Have a peaceful fast.

    • Thanks, sweet friend – that means a lot coming from one of the most calm and peaceful people I know.

  2. C,

    I’m a huge fan of people allowing their lives and struggles and challenges to be used for greater good. When we share even a part of our journey with others, we allow the hope of God to be delivered to a heart in need of encouragement through our words. Too often we buy into the enemy’s lie that struggles within marriage, or relationships for that matter, should be concealed in order to keep from feeling like we’re the only ones walking through a particular situation. By opening our lives, we let others see that they are not alone and that most marriages go through the same types of struggles, give or take specific details. I celebrate with you the shift in your marriage through your obedience to God’s calling and pray continued growth and deepening of love between you and Joe. I also pray your January produces a rich harvest in your life and sets this new year on a course of kingdom success!

    Thank you for sowing seeds of encouragement and hope!

    love.Love.LOVE. ~ Babs

    • Thanks, Babs! You are such an encourager and I love that about you. Your writing has blessed me more than you know – I hope this year is full of joy and blessings for your family.

  3. That was an interesting ‘fast’. The first thing that came to my mind when I read that was food but then when I read on, I was amazed and my perspective about fasting widened. That has to be one of the most brilliant ideas I have come across for 2013 although it has only been a few days. thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! Prior to this I had always done food fasts, so I also thought it was interesting when God placed this fast on my heart. I must give credit to Him for the brilliance behind it 🙂

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