Do you ever feel it’s easier to have grace for others than for yourself? From a young age, my idea of God would be considered “legalistic.” God cared more about the letter of the law than me, I sometimes thought. It led to me being tough on myself and others. As I learned about God’s overwhelming grace, it became easy to extend that grace…to others. Me? Well, that was another story. Last week I shared a little bit about my struggle with my negative thought life in, “Be Good to the Baby.” One thing that has helped free me from negative thoughts about myself is a negativity fast.
I was in my late twenties when I first participated in such a fast. I had heard about fasting from food, social media, chocolate (the most painful fast I thought), but I had never heard of a negativity fast. At the time, I was in a small discipleship group of four women. We were reading a short devotional called Igniting Faith in 40 Days** by Steve and Wendy Backlund, and we coupled this devotional with a negativity fast. We set up a specific timeframe, one week, and we recorded every negative thought we had about ourselves (this can be done with negative thoughts toward others as well, but the purpose of our fast was to renew our minds and identities in Christ first). This, not chocolate, turns out to be the most painful kind of fast. It was a tough work but with fruitful results.
After a week of recording our negative thought life, we began to look for patterns. This gave us insight into the specific lies we were telling ourselves. Once we identified the lies, we were able to pray against them. We replaced them with the truth of Scripture by looking up verses that contradicted those lies. The beauty of doing it in a group is that we did it all together. We were able to pray for one another and remind each other of the truth. When it comes to a negativity fast, the Evil One would have loved for us to fail. His work is much easier if he keeps us in bondage and from fulfilling all that God has for us. If we had done this fast alone, it might have been easier for him to sabotage the work; however, in completing this fast in a group, we got to experience the power behind “two are better than one…if either of them falls down, one can help the other up…though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). God used us to support and encourage one another; it was a reminder that we’re never truly alone.
Periodically, I will return to the negativity fast. A lot of lies I spoke over myself were broken during the first fast, but it’s important for me to continue to renew my mind. Plus new lies can be planted or old lies dressed up differently show up. This fast allows me to connect with God at my most vulnerable. God moves and responds with the reminder that I am a child of God (1 John 3:1). With that as my foundation, I delight in my relationship with God and walk in confidence of who I belong to. This freedom is exhilarating and available to all.
**I enjoyed this devotional very much, but there were some parts that I wondered about theologically. As with any resource, be sure to pray and use discernment. In general, I try to take in what is Biblical sound and leave out anything that I’m not sure about.
Movement Step: Grab a few trusted friends who are willing to do the negativity fast with you. Search for Scriptures that combat the lies you may tell yourself. Write them down. Memorize them. Post them where you see them. Journal about them. It will change your life.