Lent has arrived and with it a time to reflect and seek God as we look forward to the celebration of Resurrection Sunday (Easter, for all you bunnies out there.) 🙂
One practice that is helpful in this time leading up to Holy Week is fasting. Fasting is going without food for spiritual purposes. Jesus fasted in the wilderness prior to the launch of his public work. It was a time of empowerment. Fasting is a powerful practice that does a few things:
1. Fasting reveals what really controls us. When I go without food (or some other thing) I begin to realize how much I am under the thumb of that thing. By body screams for it.
2. Fasting reveals our need for God. When I fast from something I have to depend on him to have the will power and focus. I begin to recognize that I should depend on him and not the things I consume.
3. Fasting is a “gut check” on our lives. Fasting naturally creates reflection. Every time I hunger or crave the thing I desire, I am reminded of what is most important and why I am doing it. Fasting forces us to look into the mirror and examine our lives, our priorities, and how we even spend time.
So, how do we get started? (I can tell you are really eager!)
Here is some wisdom in fasting compiled from various authors:
> Do not fast if you medically can not. Find something else to fast from.
> Determine the purpose of your fast. For me it is to kill my food idolatry.
> Determine how long you will fast. Don’t be afraid to start small! Baby steps.
> Determine one kind fast you will do. What are you going without?
> Be aware of how the fast impacts you physically & spiritually.
> Use the time you would be eating to connect with God. If you get a hunger craving you can use that as a reminder to pray for someone.
> How will your fasting impact those around you. Fasting isn’t something you should do publicly, but you may want to share what you’re doing with people affected.
> Break your fast intentionally & nutritiously. Don’t go bonkers! Been there, done that. Hello pizza buffet, where have you been?!!!
I plan to fast as we approach Holy Week. I’ve realized again how much I look to food to comfort, to relieve stress, and to be my companion. My hope is to rely on God and find everything I need in him. After all, he is God.
What types of things besides food are possible things to fast from?