A Fast from Strife

Over the years, I’ve been a part of many different fasts.  Going for hours, days, and even weeks without food.  The motivations have been different: to know more of God, to see Him bring breakthrough in various situations, to release His power in greater ways.

But it was not until recently that the Holy Spirit asked me to fast from strife.  Say what?

I was sensing that He wanted me to step back and fast from something, but I was not sure of the specifics.  Chocolate?  Food?  Social media?

No, actually.  I was meant to fast from striving.  

Strife is defined as angry disagreements (according to the Cambridge Dictionary).  And I didn’t realize how often I allowed myself to engage in strife on a daily basis.

The Bible has this to say about strife:

“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” -Proverbs 20:3

Strife is rooted in pride (Proverbs 13:10).  In Isaiah 58, God tells His people that He’d rather have them stop fighting than to fast food.

I was quick to quarrel, primarily with my husband.  I had gotten into a habit of making mountains out of molehills.  God was inviting me to a fast from strife.  A fast from quarreling.  A fast from needing to prove myself right.  A fast from pride.  A fast to freedom.

With the promise that He would fight my battles, and He would bring any vengeance or correction required (fire from heaven if one more dirty sock is left lying around, perhaps?!), and He was actually a much better Holy Spirit than I was, I accepted His invitation and began a fast from strife- for 3 days.

I was surprised at how many times during the first day that I had to stop myself from answering back.  Not necessarily in strife at first, more just wanting to explain myself or prove a point, but knowing where it could lead, I held my tongue.  For 3 days this continued, and by the end of the third day, I found that peace had returned to my heart and to my home.

I had been blocking the fruit of Peace, the Prince of Peace, from reigning in my house and in my life because I felt I must prove myself instead of letting God be in charge.

I could be free from the need to be understood at all times.  I could be free from the drive to control all parts of my life (and others’!)  I could be free to let go of the little stuff and focus on what was more important.  I had more energy to do so.

I had forgotten the promise that Jesus made to me many years ago- that He had set me free.  It was, indeed, for freedom from myself that He saved me.

I do not have to attend every argument to which I am invited. #strife Click To Tweet

Even if I’m right, I don’t have to quarrel.  You would think that after years of marriage, I would understand this, but it’s still hard.  I know the times when I do give conflict over to the Lord, ask for Him to correct and help us, and hold my tongue, are the times where real change actually occurs.  I can’t think of too many times where I have brought about any real change on my own.

There have been times with my husband when I was CLEARLY in the right.  I should not have to be the one to ask forgiveness first.  If I responded unkindly, it was because he made me!  And in all honesty, times where my husband did not “deserve” my forgiveness (because when is forgiveness ever really deserved?)  And I remember in those moments, the Holy Spirit asking me if He deserved my obedience or not?  Ouch.

There are times in my marriage where neither of us deserves mercy, forgiveness, grace, or kindness, but because God is always deserving of that, He must always remain the focus.

My fast from striving showed me how easy it is to partake in little quarrels that don’t matter and also how easy it is to not.  We have been given the gift of self-control.  He has set us free from our-selves.

Jesus set us free from the need to prove ourselves. He is proof enough. #freedom Click To Tweet

16 Comments

  • Rebecca L Jones April 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Isn’t this what I needed to hear today! I just started another fast, now that I’ve found out partial ones work better than starving. I do have the gift of self control. It is hard to not want to prove you are right, but we don’t have to and strife does stir things up and let in evil work. Thanks, Brooke.

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard April 18, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca. I have to tell myself sometimes that I DO have self-control because it can feel like I don’t! And yes, I totally prefer partial fasts!! Thanks for joining in the conversation here!

      Reply
  • Sarah Geringer April 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Such a good point: “I had been blocking the fruit of Peace, the Prince of Peace, from reigning in my house and in my life because I felt I must prove myself instead of letting God be in charge.” I needed to hear this today, Brooke! #raralinkup

    Reply
  • jodie April 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

    This is such a great message and very timely. Thanks for knowing exactly what I needed today!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
    #womenwithintention

    Reply
  • Susan Shipe April 19, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I pray we all “get this.” Visiting from Kristin’s today.

    Reply
  • Kelly Basham April 20, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Such good truths here, Brooke. I’m so thankful for the freedom I have in Christ! Thanks for reminding us that we don’t have to prove ourselves.

    Reply
  • Dianne Thornton April 21, 2017 at 8:17 am

    God is speaking to me similarly, Brooke. Getting all hot and bothered about things that “might be” important. But is it necessary for me to be hot and bothered by them? I’ve been stepping back from that … and I am definitely sensing more peace. Beautiful words today!

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard April 21, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks, Dianne. And that is awesome to hear your personal story as well. Amazing how just stepping back can bring so much peace, hey?! Thanks for adding to the conversation here!

      Reply
  • nylse April 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Good for you for sharing. This is more common than we let on.
    Strife results from pride and I too have learned that when strife ceases there is peace – not an artificial peace, but one that is guided by the spirit who also gives wisdom in letting us know how and when to speak up.
    Stopping by from #SoulSurvival linkup

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard April 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Absolutely! Turning from pride back to peace is always worth it! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  • Marva | SunSparkleShine April 25, 2017 at 1:40 am

    Brooke, this is certainly a unique fast but such a great idea. As I read it, I was reminded of Jesus as He was questioned just prior to being led to the Cross. He didn’t see the need to defend Himself against His accusers and we all know that He had good reason and a very good defense. I pray that I will be more like Christ in that way!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply
    • Brooke Grangard April 25, 2017 at 9:18 am

      Jesus was amazing. Such humility! Thanks for adding to our conversation here, Marva. Bless you!

      Reply

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