Both yesterday and today have been tremendous mental and physical battles. A battle of wills – Will I cave? Will I fail? Will I pass out? Will I stay strong? Will I give in and just take a taste of peanut butter? Will my stomach ever stop growling?
It is not easy to break off deep, ingrained routines and habits cold turkey (mmm, turkey….). Such strong and natural instincts that have been with us since we were babies.
Something so simple as: “I’m hungry…I eat.”
But in fasting, in denying ourselves of something, whether is be food altogether, or certain foods, or fasting from TV or other activities, we should be fixing our attention on God and on honouring Him.
I honestly do not know how I got to end Day 7 on my water/juice/broth fast. Everyday I expected to give up or cave in to some temptation, even just a tiny bite. The truth is, God carried me. He helped me shut off those impulses when temptation struck me or snuck up on me. He reminded me that He is my strength when I am weak.
The hardest moment in the past few days was last night, Day 6. I was getting quite relaxed and used to not eating, but when I went out with a friend to the movies and smelled the familiar smells and saw everyone around me eating and snacking on some of my favourite treats I was constantly turning off that switch, over and over again, saying no in my head. My relaxation in my fasting turned into nightmarish, teeth-gritting, fist clenching pure will power with strength that can come only from leaning on God. I didn’t give in and not even one kernel of popcorn passed my lips.
Please understand, I am not writing about this to be proud or boast, I am trying to share my experience with you so if you are fasting or if you ever decide to try it, you will not feel so alone. I’ve been madly blundering through this first fasting experience and have probably broken every decorum and proper way of doing this. I feel that God has gifted me with the ability to write and I want to use that gift to honour Him. I hope that if you are taking part in any sort of fast this year that you feel encouraged and find your way to leaning on God the way I have this week.
Tomorrow is Day 8 and I find myself altering my fast plans a bit. I’ve been feeling physically very tired over Day 6 & 7, as well as quite weak, shaky and nauseous. I’ve been planning out the first foods I’ll eat soon and tonight I honestly felt like I needed to sit down and have something more substantial in my system than juice. I heated up a bit of squash soup and I already feel much better. It kind of feels like I gave in, even though the soup is the same consistency of some of the fruit juices I have been drinking. Yet, I don’t feel like I’ve finished. I feel like I’ve obeyed God as best I can and also listened to when I need to stay healthy and acted accordingly.
A few articles and blogs about fasting had this tip, “If you accidentally break a fast, do not use it as an excuse to stop fasting altogether, just pick up where you left off.” And that is what I intend to do.
Today I read a passage in Isaiah about fasting and the true ideal of what would happen and how God would bless communities like ours if we would fast and be kind and gracious to others.
“I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.” ~ Isaiah 58:11-12
That is the kind of life and blessing I would love to hold on to.
My prayer for today –
“God, make me a better version of myself. Help me to be kind, helpful and loving. Constantly remind me to fix my attention on You and not on the things of this world that give us pleasure and entertain us.
Teach me humility. Help me to place my fears into Your strong hands and let You guide my everyday decisions.
God, bless my family, my friends and my community. Thank-you for the opportunity to strive to know You better. Thank-you for keeping me safe and healthy and help me be a steward of all that You have given me, that I might use it all to bless others and honour You. I trust You. I love You. Amen.”