Fasting

Fasting seems to be such a hot topic these days.   I just did a little google search on “fasting” and got 9,170,000 hits in .3 seconds.   People are going nuts over fasting to cleanse, detox, diet, pray, etc. and I’ve felt like I’m totally left behind.   I’ve heard of fasting before in the Bible.  Even Jesus fasted and prayed as part of His spiritual life.  It’s kind of an intriguing thing to me but I must admit that I’ve never really understood it.  As I’ve read my Bible and come upon a passage involving a fast, my mind usually thinks, “I just love food way too much to do that.  And besides, I get crabby when I’m hungry.” So I had literally never tried to do it in my personal, spiritual life.

Recently, I read Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  In the book, she journals her experiences as she “fasts” from 7 areas of excess in her life.  I thought it was a fascinating book which challenged me in good ways.  I don’t feel motivated to live as extremely as she did but the book did motivate me to further explore this idea of fasting.  It was the first time I thought of fasting in connection with things other than food.   If I had to define “fast” now, I would say it is intentionally denying yourself to make more room for God.  It is physically living more simply in whatever area you choose to invite in more spirituality.  Simply said, it thaws the ice off our souls.

So I’ve started small with certain fasts one by one… a break from Starbucks, a break from sweets, a break from spending, etc.  The most poignant fast for me so far began before Christmas.  It produced such a “thaw” in my soul that I had to share my experience with you.  The opportunity for a part-time job came up and I really wanted to pray thoroughly about it. But I thought, when am I going to pray about this?  It’s Christmas, our schedule is bursting at the seams!  So I decided to fast from all things about my smart phone except for phone calls and urgent texts.  I still nurse our baby about 3 times a day and usually, I use my phone to look at Pinterest or play games during that time.  Fasting from my phone would provide the perfect opportunity for prayer 3 times a day.  At first, it was really hard (I know I’m pitiful!).  My mind wandered, bouncing back and forth between praying and thinking.  But slowly, the thaw came.  I began praying more consistently, less distractedly.  I began to look forward to this time to pray and be with God. I felt both rested and rejuvenated by these consistent times of prayer because of the fast. Many things began stirring in my soul and I prayed about much more than the job opportunity.  I not only gained great time with God but also realized the way I was wasting my days.  This fast really did make more room for God in my soul.  It felt like clearing out clutter.  And by the time my interview came, I felt completely prepared and directed by God about what He wanted for our family.

What would it look like in your life to fast?  I’d love to hear from you.

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