Sunday, August 12, 2012
Notes on fasting
Fasting is supposed to be part of the Christian life. I fasted once before for 12 hours on Good Friday last year. It was cleansing, but 12 hours did not leave me feeling there was much to fasting. I mean, I was hungry, but we were also heading to Athens that day to see family. The whole day was a whirlwind of excitement and the inevitable sadness that comes with Good Friday. I wasn’t focused on the idea of fasting or the discomfort of being hungry. I did it, said done, and moved on. I don’t remember it being a majorly big deal.
Trying to make fasting a part of my life, I decided to give it another shot today. I started at 8pm last night by promptly falling asleep and not waking up until 8am this morning. That’s the first time in years I’ve slept for 12 hours. So far, fasting seemed to be working for me.
My original goal was to make it 24 hours. I made it almost 18. God woke me up from family naptime around 2pm to remind me chicken was about to be burning in my oven. Toasty brown describes it quite well by the time I made it to the oven. I then started having not so great symptoms of not enough food in my body: black dot vision, a slow but very loud heartbeat, slow motion head(don’t really know how else to describe the slow motion feeling of my body). I remembered my husband’s words from the morning: “Kris, please don’t go all legalistic with the fasting. I support what you’re doing, I’ve done 24 hour fasts, but there is nothing that says 24 hours is a magic number. You are nursing, still having issues with holding weight, and you have blood sugar dips. Just, you know, be calm.” With that in mind, I ate some chicken and it was a fine thing to do. I’m grateful for Dennis since he is the partner that keeps the black and white in me somewhere around the shade of normal grey. I’m the partner that helps him see sometimes things can be extreme and fun and necessary. And I still took so much away from fasting.
Fasting makes you appreciate food.
I have always had an appreciation for food, but today was different. I have never appreciated the fact that I’ve never had to wonder where my next meal is coming from. When my fast was over, I knew I had food to eat, waiting in my pantry just for me. I just happened to be born into one of the richest countries in the world. If food is going to make it to my table has never been a concern for me, but I should take seriously and care that it is a concern for other people. Being hungry or watching your kids be hungry is real for a huge portion of the world.
Fasting makes you focus on other things besides food.
I seriously cleaned the kitchen counters today just to have something to do. I decluttered parts of the house; I thought about detailing my car. I can be very efficient when eating is not an activity I can partake in.
Fasting helps you focus on one thing at a time; it’s almost impossible to multitask when hungry.
This was good for me. I sort of found the sweet spot of balance for about two weeks, but then in the last few days I lost it and insanity ensued. Everyone was crying at the same time, sassy at the same time, we needed to make dietary changes again, I didn’t get to work out for five days, and on and on. Nothing earth shattering, but I lost my balance. When I lose my balance I run around trying to do 50 things to get my mind decluttered. That is exactly the opposite of what I should do. Being hungry made me focus. Step one: read my Bible; step two: don’t burn chicken; step three: find my bra(don’t ask). One thing at a time. I’m feeling more balanced.
Fasting cleanses your temple. No need to explain.
Fasting makes you remember the Christian life was not meant to be always easy and comfortable.
This one was fairly huge for me since I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I live a very cushy life, and that’s not so much what the Christian life of the New Testament looked like at all. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, but it’s worth being examined. Would I die for Christ when I don’t live for Him every day the way I should? Will I leave my comfort zone if it’s what I’m told to do(and essentially, it’s what every Christian has already been told to do)? Being uncomfortable and almost sick feeling made me realize that fasting was not really meant to be fun. It was meant to be beneficial and sacrificial, and that does not always mean fun. Despite the hunger pains and general brain fog, I remembered where my strength really comes from. It’s not me. It’s not food. The food helps, but the food is given to me by a higher authority. Getting out of my comfort zone was, well, uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t where I should be. That’s a lesson worth remembering.