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As Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) quickly approaches, my mind turns to a memory of the one that the Father taught me what it means to afflict myself.  

You see, I didn’t understand what Yom Kippur was all about, so each year, I fasted because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. One year, I fasted from my phone and was shocked by how many times I reached for my phone that day so I felt that was a successful observance. I know this may sound silly, but I thought that fasting from something important was what the day was about, but I was missing the whole point. 

It took a few years of seeking the Father to understand that afflicting myself wasn’t about physically denying myself food or access to my phone for 24 hours. Instead, it was about afflicting myself spiritually.  

Before I go any further, it might be good to find out what afflict means.

According to dictionary.com, it means –

to distress with mental or bodily pain; trouble greatly or grievously: 
Obsolete. to overthrow; defeat. To humble.

This definition makes so much sense to me now. Why did I ever think that fasting from my phone equated to bring greatly or grievously troubled?

On my 5th Yom Kippur, I chose to try a different approach. Armed with my Bible, notebook, pen, and highlighters, I entered my room and shut the world out. I was determined to seek the Father in this matter.

Before I knew it, I was sobbing as He showed me how I had missed the mark. Memories of harsh words I had spoken, unkind thoughts, ungratefulness, unforgiveness, and not putting the Father where He should be, flooded my mind. Each one broke my heart.

How far I had come, and yet – I was still so far away.  

This was my affliction, and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I felt guilt and shame and humbled before my King. As I confessed and repented for everything the Father showed me, I felt His grace, mercy, and forgiveness. 

I was reminded of the potter and the clay. It was as if He scrubbed this vessel that He had created clean. Where the inside of the pot had once been black, it was now white.

Each year before the Fall Appointed times begin, the Father reminds me of this encounter with Him. Not because this is the only one I have had but because it is my nature to dread facing those things I have done. Reminding me of this encounter with Him helps me to recall that even though it was like walking through fire –  deeply painful, in the end, I was beyond grateful that the Father took the time to show me my sins and teach me how I could do better.

With this memory at the forefront of my mind, my prayers are for everything that is not of Him to be rooted out, and in its place, for me to be filled with more of Him.

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About the Seeking Scripture Team: We are a group of believers from all walks of the faith, saved by grace alone through faith in our Messiah. While we are of one accord in many things, we are all works in progress and lifelong learners. Therefore the opinions of one may not always represent the opinions of all.

Aliisa DeSalvo