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I hate being late.  That’s why I married a drag racer at age 20.  I usually show up fifteen minutes early with a well-deserved speeding ticket and an invisible trophy from my imaginary friend who I like to call “Put Together and Prompt.”

That said, at three days into the New Year, in Loriland, this article is extremely late.  This time, my lateness is purposeful.  I believe it actually reveals something about what God has been doing in me over the past year.

As many do, I like to recollect my thoughts, evaluate my life, and process what I have learned and where I’m heading at year’s end.  I usually start summing up the day after Christmas.  By the time my tree is down, my time is up – if I want the trophy that is.

This year was different, though.  This year was exceptionally deft.  It was also unusually difficult.  It taught me – a recovering intuitionist – to slow down.

Oh, by the way, if you don’t read me often, I also make up words.  That’s what creative writers do when there aren’t adequate describing tools.  Don’t worry, though, we usually also define them.

Intuitionist – a person who trusts intuition and instincts to a fault and frequently inserts both feet into her mouth.

Being intuitive is not bad.  If you’re a single woman or a witch hunter, it’s likely highly beneficial.  The problem is that intuition is likely responsible for creating both the Mr. Perfect illusion who keeps single women perpetually single and the Salem witch hunts where innocent people were mistakenly murdered.  The truth is that fear, past experiences, and personal insecurity can easily be mistaken for the highly regarded, supposedly fool-proof test known as intuition.

Enter: pseudointuition.  (Yes, I made that one up, too.)

Pseudointuition is very dangerous for those of us who like to think of ourselves as naturally intuitive.  It causes us to conjure up flawed hypothesis, enter into premature judgments, and jump to hasty conclusions about many matters.  Without adequate prayer and fasting, pseudointuition will destroy true discernment and leave us paranoid, cynical, and thoroughly untrusting – just like single women and Salem witch hunters.

Like I said, though, I am recovering.  I am learning.  I am slowing down in a good way.  I no longer say everything that I initially think.  I am avoiding any reliance on first impressions.  I am refraining from dismissing that which I cannot put under an interrogation lamp, study intricately, and dissect until it stops moving – yet.  I am learning to wait upon the Lord – longer.  I am beginning to hide my face like Elijah and pray five, six, even seven times for the tiny rain cloud that I must believe will annihilate every desert and doubt surrounding.  Even when every weather man insists that there will be no rain for many more days,  I resolve to keep on believing for the very best.  I resolve to put down the pride that prods me to pounce when people and places seem particularly peculiar to me.  I still have my wings.  I’m just not sure how often the Lord really wants me to fly.  I think, maybe, he gave them so I might spread them to protect far more often than I project.

Bottom line: Life is not an algebraic equation.  A + B does not always equal C.   If anything, life is more like geometry – you’ve got to be able to prove how and why the pieces fit together before you really find a concrete solution.  If you cannot, you are probably suffering from a bad case of pseudointuition with the underlying etiology of fear, bad past experience, and personal insecurity.  Life really isn’t like math anyway – despite how desperately I need it to be.  I think it is more like creative writing – there are too many words to ever comprehend them all but never enough of the right ones.

That is why my New Year’s recollections are, according to the schedule of a neurotic race runner, late.  My goal for 2014 is not to be less intuitive or timely, but to be more patient, prayerful, and, God help me, precise before I act, write, or speak.

  Happy New Year!

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,
    but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. ~Proverbs 28:26

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztjhHkH7OvQ

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Fasting.

 Hold the press!  I said the only word in Christianese marked restricted.  Fasting is just something we don’t discuss.  We all know it’s supposed to be important.  It’s just that most of us don’t do it.  So, really, I would venture to say that many Christians don’t believe it’s very important at all.  And, we figure it’s quite convenient that we aren’t supposed to talk about it because we really would rather not.  Fasting is supposed to be done in secret, right? Only there’s an unwritten rule that says part of the secret is that if we don’t ever talk about it, we won’t ever have to do it.

 I hate to rain on the hush-hush parade, but after studying the scriptures I have to say that there is no way possible for a Christian to avoid the subject of fasting.  This taboo-ness has been a frustration for me for a number of years.  Therefore, I thought it best to put down in writing what fasting is and what it is not.  Here is the fruit of my Saturday morning geek session with Mr. Strong and none other than my B-I-B-L-E.

The first question I sought to answer was, “Why fast?”  If we do not get the “why” right, we will not glorify God in fasting.  Fasting is not a ritual or a way to manipulate God.  Historically, fasting was the characteristic response of God’s people to crisis or major transgression.  I’m not sure what people do today, but I’m almost positive that fasting isn’t on top of the list where it absolutely should be.  There were many other reasons for fasts as well.  These are the reasons found in scripture regarding why and when fasting is necessary:

Fasting accompanies true worship.  The sincerity of our worship is made manifest when we are willing to sacrifice. (Matthew 4:2, Acts 13:2)

Fasting accompanies prayer and commissioning.  If you’re setting out on a new leadership position, mission, journey, or idea, fasting is very appropriate, and, more accurately, very necessary.  If you are sending another out to the field, whether in evangelism, service, help, or teaching, every minister of the gospel should be covered by the prayers and fasts of his fellow constituents back home.  (Acts 13:3, Acts 14:23)

Fasting is an important part of the act of true repentance and earnest confession.  Fasting helps us to recognize the weight and the pain caused by our sin and rebellion to God.  Fasting makes both our sin and our God more real in the day to day.  (1 Samuel 7:4-6, Nehemiah 1:4, 9:1, Joel 1:14, 2:12, Jonah 3:5)

Fasting is a way to show gratitude, respect, honor and mourn after a death.  There is no better way to identify with suffering than to be willing to suffer alongside them.  (1 Samuel 31:12-13, 2 Samuel 1:11-12, 1 Chronicles 10:12)

Fasting should accompany earnest prayer on behalf of another’s well being, during times of acute pain, sickness, distress, or life threatening illness of our brothers or sisters.  This is putting our money where our mouth is, so to speak.  Bearing one another’s burdens is more than a trite, “I’ll be praying for you.”  It is a serious, sacrificial, committed, other-centered relationship towards our brothers and sisters.  (2 Samuel 12:16, Esther 4:16, Daniel 6:18, Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29)

Fasting is most important when we want to hear from God, understand his Word, or listen for his voice.  It’s when we cannot seem to see or hear God that fasting is most imperative.   (Nehemiah 9:1, Jeremiah 36:9, Mark 2:20, Luke 5:35)

Fasting is appropriate when we are afraid or under attack, either militarily or spiritually.  Fasting works to dispel the fear of man by pursuing trust in God.  (2 Chronicles 20:3, Esther 4:16, Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29)

Fasting is a way to humble ourselves before a holy God and seek his favor regarding specific requests for protection and well-being during travel or uncertain circumstances.  By tangibly acknowledging our great need for God’s protection and preservation, we are debunking our tendencies toward self-sufficiency.  (Ezra 8:21-23, Esther 4:16, Daniel 6:18, Daniel 9:3, Joel 1:14, 2:12)

The second question I researched was, “How should we fast?”  Some will argue that fasting is always to be a singular, individual, private act carried out secretly.  Some will fast out of a sense of duty or obligation.  But what does the Bible teach about how we ought to fast?

While fasting is often times an individual act carried out privately, it should also, often times, be carried out by the believers corporately.  Uh, oh.  Does this mean we have to talk about it now? 🙂  Fasting is not a show or a religious parade of piety, however, it is a necessary task of every body of true believers.  (Acts 13:2-3, 1 Samuel 31:12-13, 2 Samuel 1:1-12, Esther 4:16, 1 Chronicles 10:12, 2 Chronicles 20:3-4, Ezra 8:21-23, Jeremiah 36:9, Joel 1:14, Joel 2:12, Jonah 3:5)

Fasting must be done in humility and unselfishness.  It must be carried out alongside justice, goodness, sharing materially, and a right attitude in order to be honored and recognized by God as a true fast. (Isaiah 58:6-14, Zechariah 8:19, Matthew 6:6)

When fasting is done inappropriately in selfishness, pride, a lack of repentance, in an effort to manipulate God, a wrong attitude, to honor men’s traditions, for self recognition or alongside injustice or accusation, God is not honored and will not honor a mere cessation of food intake.  (Isaiah 58:1-5, Jeremiah 14:12, Zechariah 7:5, Matthew 6:5, Luke 18:12)

To that end I ask, why do we so seldom ever hear the word “fast?”  Why are we, as the church, by and large not submitted to this part of our calling?  I would that every church would see the value and utter necessity of this discipline.  Not to say that fasting in and of itself will bring any change by mere determination or duty.  Rather, that fasting, when coupled with the the truth, the humility, the love, the perseverance, and the very lives of true believers can only serve to assist, embolden, and enlighten us as followers of Jesus Christ.

If you are a Christian, I would love to hear your take on this.  The floor is yours.  Let’s talk about fasting.

Related: https://lorirodeheaver.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/lent-fast-or-fiction/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzIjMcCQF9Y

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“The skill of a rider is not seen in how well he can ride fast, but how well he can ride slow.” ~Rider Coach Roy

As I embarked upon my first not-in-a-parking-lot motorcycle drive, I recognized how true this statement is.  Little wonder why the place credited with the most potential for danger for bikers is at intersections.  Anyone – ok not anyone – but most people can ride forever on wide open stretches of highway, but when it comes to tight turns, stop and go traffic, starting out on a hill, or figure 8’s inside that way-too-small box at 6 miles per hour, it takes a bit more practice and skill than meets the eye.  Generally, the faster you go, and the more momentum you have, the easier it is to maneuver.  

Yesterday I pulled out of my driveway (a steep downhill) and onto the real road (just over a hill crest, narrow, country, back road that is) on my motorcycle for the very first time, and, unskillfully and dangerously turned far too wide into the wrong lane.  Acceptable if no one is coming in the other direction.  Roadkill if someone is.  Yeah.  I need more parking lot practice, not to learn to ride fast, but to learn to ride slow.  

After I foolishly convinced myself that continuing this hobby would not end in imminent death, I got to thinking…how often do I recognize Rider Coach Roy’s wisdom in daily life?  And how often do I recognize skillful slowness as a valuable asset?  And how often do I foolishly assume that multitasking at the speed of light is superior?  Like, well, never.  Right.  Way to miss the forest for the trees, Lori…er…uh…perhaps these days I should say, “Watch out for that tree!”

My thoughts turned back to my Saturday night out with Mr. Rodeheaver.  My 9 second street car chauffeur, who, I’m pretty sure caused my heart to stop dead at least twice on that exquisitely romantic tire burning session he called a date.  Fast.  Too, too fast.  Ridiculously, dangerously fast.

Being the good car guy’s wife that I am, I stood in my favorite parking lot and I scanned the faces.  Yes, this is what space cadets do when we can make absolutely no logical sense out of the endless jargon regarding nuts and bolts for hours upon end.  Do they know the truth?  How fast should I bring it to them?  How slow?

In that split second before the utter urgency overtakes me and I interrupt the fluid flowage of the gearhead galaxy with the the gospel, I pause.  Where ten years ago I’d fly in and feather homemade, wild-eyed-man-on-the-street-corner tracts through the crowd like funfetti, I stop.  I remind myself that slowness is a skillful virtue.  I wait.  I smile and extend my hand.  “I’m Mrs. Rodeheaver.  Are you into fast cars?…”

Am I maturing?  Progressing?  Or am I losing my zeal?  Declining in the good fight?  Because all too often the conversation never turns.  Even though it’s taken everything in me to suppress the truth for this one moment, I continue.  Slow is good.  Too slow is bad.  Really bad.  Ask Rider Coach Roy.

Oh!  To cease being extreme and learn to be steady!  To put away pragmatism and pine only for precision and penetration!  Practicality and passion must kiss if Christ is to have any presence in my parking lot.  This is my intersection.  I must learn to navigate and maneuver in new and better ways.  

I climb into the 9 second street car and I place my ball cap over my face.  Prayer.  Prayer will save me from my slowness as well as my speed.  I need both attributes to be skillful if I’m going to ride, and live, effectively.  Like the preacher said, it’s not ok just to begin well, we must finish well.  And I don’t want to be roadkill.  Teach me, Lord, how to drive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXbA_A3eTGw

 

 

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