Why I Hate Fasting

Update: While I can’t say I love fasting now, I have found a few things that have helped me get the most out of my fasts. I jotted those down in another post you may find interesting.

Every January for the past six years I’ve taken part in a 21 day fast. The idea is to set the spiritual tone for the rest of the year.

I’ve heard it said before, this can be your best year ever if it’s your best year spiritually.

But I hate it. I hate fasting.

I don’t deny it’s a great way to start off the year. Praying, fasting and seeking after God. What I hate about it is what it reveals about myself.

It always show show incredibly undisciplined I am (maybe that’s why “discipline” is one of my words for the year). How I’m consumed with hunger for food. How I’ll cave to temptation and cheat on my fast. How I’ll compromise and change the fast to make it “easier.” How it becomes less spiritual and more diet.

What I hate about it is how a season/time of denying the flesh and focusing on God becomes just the opposite.

A time of focusing on the weakness of the flesh.

So this year I’ve made a conscious effort to use that to my advantage. Whenever I feel the weakness creeping up, I use it as a reminder that weakness is where Christ wants me (2 Corinthians 12:9). That as my body hungers for Pittsburgh steaks, it should really hunger for a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ.

And that is where I find myself. Craving all sorts of food, but being reminded that my hunger should truly be for Christ.

For all you fellow fasting peeps out there, what are some ways you keep disciplined and focused on the right things when you fast?


My 3 Words for 2012

Following the footsteps of Chris Brogan, I’ve come up with 3 words instead of resolutions for the new year.

Rather than resolutions which tend to focus on a specific areas, these words represent broader themes that will help me define my goals and experiences for 2012.

Here are my three words for the year.


This is a word that is completely opposite of my natural tendencies. I don’t explore. I don’t get outside my comfort zone.

But this year I want to get off the couch/Internet and explore the diverseness of life. Create new memories, experience new sights and entertain new hobbies.


Not too long ago I asked a handful of people some feedback questions. One question was “What could I improve?”

This was the common thread.

I honestly feel like there is so much more to you then you ever let out.

You have a lot to offer. Sometimes it seems like you hold back…

It’s all true. And I don’t know why. Why I tend to shrink back. Not rise to my potential. Why I hide from embracing leadership responsibilities.

So the word “rise” is a charge to rise to my potential. Be on the offensive. Attack rather than retreat. Embrace the fear.


There are a lot of things I’d like to do in 2012. Explore life, rise to my potential, write two ebooks, develop a useful web app, etc.

All that requires discipline. The discipline to start, follow-through and finish. The discipline to show up every day regardless of feeling or motivation.

How about you? What words will be driving themes for you in 2012?


Holy Crap, What Just Happened?

I would not describe myself as a visionary. One of those people able to rally people around a greater purpose or goal.

I am not a very confident leader when I don’t have all my ducks in a row. A clear mental map of what I’m trying to convey, how I’m going to do it and a structured order of events. <– that’s the ISTJ in me.

I do not lead very well having to think on the spot and navigate a flexible, unknown environment.

I get panicky. Anxious. I can sense physiological changes in my body.

So it was much to my surprise when I found myself having to lead a group of leaders today not knowing exactly what I was going to say or really what the take home message was supposed to be.

I was scared I had called this meeting and was going to waste people’s time; ruining any potential momentum.

But God showed up despite my insecurities and weakness and revealed these verses to be true.

1 Corinthians 2:3-4 (NIV)
3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
…my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I told people not to waste their lives, but instead, to live them focused on leaving an eternal legacy for Christ.

But I didn’t say any of it. It was a surreal, “holy moment” (for lack of a better description).

God’s Spirit, Christ’s power spoke through me more eloquently, confidently and with more conviction than I could have ever spoken on my own with a month of preparation.

One of those “holy crap, what just happened?” moments.


Centering on Christ

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (click to listen)

…and soak up these lyrics.

In the midst of madness, chaos and life, sometimes we just need to slow down and sit at the feet of Jesus.

And let him remind us of this…

The More I Seek You (Kari Jobe)

The more I seek you,
the more I find you.
The more I find you,
the more I love you

I wanna sit at your feet,
drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath,
feel your heart beat

This love is so deep,
it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace,
it's overwhelming

Use Evernote to Maintain a Digital Encouragement Folder

In my previous post, I talked about maintaining an encouragement folder; a folder storing encouraging notes, emails, etc. reminding you of what you’re doing well and the impact you’re having.

In this post, I want to talk about creating a digital encouragement folder using a service called Evernote. It’s a service the lets you save and access information anywhere you have Internet access (e.g., a computer or smartphone).

Evernote’s tagline is “Remember everything.” Sounds perfect for those of us trying to remember encouraging things. ;)

Here are the features I appreciate about Evernote for maintaining my encouragement folder.

Save Anything Via Email

This is probably the feature I use the most (particularly on my iPhone).

Every Evernote account comes with a private email address you can use to save information to. Anything you can send in an email, you can store in Evernote.

It’s perfect for capturing information while on the go!

For example, let’s say you get an encouraging text, simply take a screenshot of it and send it to your Evernote email address. It’ll magically appear in your account.

Receive an encouraging email? Forward it to your Evernote email!

iPhone Tip: Take a screenshot on your iPhone by pressing the Home and Power buttons at the same time. The screenshot will be saved in your Camera Roll.

Digitize and Save Hand-Written Notes

Sometimes the most meaningful encouragement comes in the form of a hand-written note or letter.

What I love about Evernote is I can take a picture of the note/letter and store it in my Evernote account. The paper will never fade and I won’t ever have to worry about losing the note, spilling coffee on it, etc.

I’ve got a digital copy I can keep forever.

Not only that, but Evernote has an awesome feature that will make any text in the picture searchable.

So as I send notes, screenshots of text messages and other images with text into my encouragement folder, I can go back later and search for specific ones based on keyword.

Here I searched for “thank you” and Evernote brought up this hand-written note. It’s pretty stinkin’ legit. ;)

Options, Options, Options!

With Evernote, there’s no shortage of options/tools for capturing, organizing and viewing your encouragement folder.

There’s a Mac/Windows version, a web clipper for clipping information in your browser and an app for virtually every type of smartphone.

I’ve also only covered a small part of what Evernote is capable of. I strongly recommend you check out their website and blog for more ideas on how to use Evernote.

One Folder to Rule Them All

Evernote is pretty much the bomb diggity. ;) It enhances the usage of an encouragement folder in so many ways.

You can keep track of every piece of digital and physical encouragement using a single tool. And everything is searchable and centrally accessible!

And using the vast number of options/tools provided by Evernote, it’s ridiculously easy to capture encouraging tidbits as soon as they happen. No excuses not to keep your folder up-to-date.

So the next time you need some encouragement, I hope you’ll fire up Evernote and read through some of the things in your  folder.

Where do you keep your encouragement folder now?

Do you use Evernote? What do you use it for?