On Fasting

I’ve never really been one to fast. I’ve had a whole host of excuses lined up, and during certain seasons my excuses are (were) certainly valid. My problem now? I can no longer claim any of them: I’m an adult; I’ve not been pregnant or nursing a half pint for well over three years now; I’ve run out of reasons.

I probably wouldn’t even be thinking of this at all but for the series on fasting I’ve been reading over here. And the clincher for me? Carolyn reminded me that Jesus didn’t say if you fast, he said when you fast. It’s an implied spiritual discipline, one I’ve been all-too-content to ignore for, well, forever.

I’m trying to be careful how I write this because I really don’t want to be pharisaical by saying that it’s something I’m trying to incorporate into my spiritual disciplines. I’ll just say that Craig and I have added a 24-hour fast into our weekly practice for the past two weeks now and I suck at it.

I’ve needed to explain to the girls what I’m doing because they’ve gotten pretty concerned by my not eating on those days. So, the last time I did this (today) I read the above linked passage to them and explained that I’m not wanting to make this a big deal to anyone else but me and God. I told them I was trying not to really mention it, though I think it’s good for them to know I’m actually trying to pray through it on these days.

Anyway, last week when Craig came home in the evening, he asked me how I was doing. I told him, “I’m hungry. And tired. And grumpy.” Today I was much the same. I’m not doing a very good job of putting oil on my head, washing my face, and not being completely obvious about this to my family.

I’m not meaning to be this way, but I just never realized before how completely dependent I am on food. I didn’t even realize I was getting short-tempered with anyone until late tonight when I broke the fast and had something to eat. I felt normal again; I was nice again; I suddenly wanted to hug everyone and giggle and play. Rebounding from the fast made me realize just how much the fast really did affect me during the day.

Craig wondered tonight if maybe I shouldn’t do a 24-hour fast anymore. I wondered if I should do a computer fast instead. He said (somewhat in jest), “No, that would make you even more grumpy.” Yikes. I’ve clearly got some idol issues I need to wrestle through, so I guess I’ll add those to my list of things I’m praying through when fasting in the future.

Speaking of my list of things I’m fasting over right now, there are three significant areas that have been weighing very much on my heart for several months that I’m finally getting more serious about praying over. I’m entering into this season of weekly fasting until we wrestle with God in two of these areas. I’m praying He answers very soon.