Fasting - Week 3
Shouldn't this fasting thing get easier as you do it? I feel like it's' getting harder!
As I continue with my fasting I am taking time to reflect on how fasting is freeing even when it feels limiting. Yes, I sit in my office or sit at home and desire a snack, but I choose to not give into that desire. I do something in place of that desire that is good, whether it is praying for a loved one, getting (another) glass of water, or pulling out some knitting project that needs to be finished. Usually the hunger pains eventually go away because I was not really longing for junk food, but I was thirsty, or bored or in need of time with God. Most times when hunger calls to me it's not really about hunger, it's about something else. By not giving in to the temptation to eat I am caring for my body and my soul. As I challenge myself to hold back from grabbing a quick snack I am listening to my body and my heart to find what I am truly hungry for, I find myself paying closer attention to what it is asking for. I am finding moments of true freedom when I open myself to paying closer attention to what I am truly longing for and not making a quick decision based on what feels like hunger.
I see this parallel to other areas of life too. For example, emotionally it's pretty easy to jump to feelings, like anger, when something happens rather than taking the time to pay attention to what I'm truly feeling - sadness, hurt, humiliation, disconnection. Slowing down, assessing the situation and my thought patterns can lead me to greater understanding of where my feelings are coming from and gives me the opportunity to be able to deal with the root cause. What about when things go wrong in a situation? I often want to immediately find fault with the other person, but when we fast from blaming we again take a moment to assess the situation and with honesty in our hearts we can find where our own fault lies first in a situation which allows us to grow in relationship with others. What about spending habits - it's way too easy to go out, or online, and purchase anything you want without really thinking about your budget (taking the Dave Ramsey course - so it's on my mind) until bills are due. When I fast from spending on every whim, I am free to do bigger, better and greater things - like go to Rome this fall.
No one really wants to live with limits, yet limits can set us free in ways we can't imagine right now! How often we choose the quick answer without taking time to slow down and assess what's really going on, what's stirring up within me, what is it that I am truly needing/feeling/desiring. Fasting helps to remind me to not give in to desires and wants, but to take a moment and be sure it's the right choice for right now and for later. When a glass of water is what my body is needing, a bag of chips isn't going to satisfy the craving. Fasting pushes me to pay attention to my body and what it is telling me. Just like a mother with a baby - she know the cry of hunger versus the cry of a wet diaper. We need to know our body, mind and soul in the same way a mother knows her child. Fasting is one way to do this and it frees us to grow in love of ourselves, our future and in relationship with God and others.