My wife and I are in the middle of a Negativity Fast for Lent! I don’t think I have ever taken part in Lent before. I guess I always thought that most people seem to miss the point. Showing you can give up chocolate for a month doesn’t normally prove much or achieve anything long term! While most of us are far removed from the original intentions of Lent, it was originally meant to be about self-denial in order to display sorrow for sins. This feels more like an old testament approach to living! Christ suffered so we don’t have to, he was poor so we can be rich, sin has already been paid for and anything we can do to earn anything is simply insulting what Jesus already did! All that said, I do think there is something really important in the process of self sacrifice and fasting can be really healthy with the right perspective. For many in the church Lent can be a time of prayer, reflection and focus on all that Jesus already accomplished. Anyway I feel I am getting distracted…
What is a Negativity fast?
The idea is that we spend 40 days watching what we say. I have already been surprised just how negative I can be! The plan is that 40 days will be a catalyst to a lifestyle of faith and hope. The goal is not that we become people who deny reality but people who are not limited by reality. The problem in most cases is not the situations we find ourselves in, its the conclusions we make about them. When we find ourselves saying “It’s hopeless” we can be sure we have stepped away from the God of the impossible. There are no hopeless situations, only hopeless people.
At times in the past I have hidden behind the false idea that cynicism was a strength. The more I learn about life and living well I discover that spotting problems and expecting things to go wrong is not a strength. I would even go as far as to say it is a weakness, one I have battled with for years. It is quite challenging to discover that those who think it can’t be done and those who think it can, are both right.
The goal of this fast is not that we simply restrain ourselves from saying negative things but that we replace negative conclusions with positive conclusions. We are not only fasting from negativity we are feasting on positivity! As part of the fast we are reading daily devotionals that give us truth from the bible to help us shift our mindsets. I have never been so convinced that all growth in our faith as Christians is a direct result of us shifting our beliefs. Jesus has made so much available to us that it is difficult to get our heads around especially when we don’t always see our experience match up. Time and time again I have seen my experience play catch up to my beliefs. As I really started to believe that God wants to heal people I started to see people I prayed for get healed. As I encountered the God who wants to lavishly provide for my needs I started to see his provision manifest in my life. Belief is more than mental assent but changing patterns of thinking is definitely part of the process. Renewing our minds leads to transformation. It is actually impossible for me to renew my mind and not see transformation (Romans 12:2). I am excited to see what transformation takes place this lent!
You can read more about what we are taking part in here: ignitinghope.com/negativity-fast/