Back during Lent I went on a fear fast that was an amazing growth opportunity for me. But in recent weeks I’ve been feeling a tug to go on a real, honest-to-goodness, Biblical fast. You know, by abstaining from food.
Let me just insert here that food is one of my favorite things. It’s almost certainly the thing I think about most often. Even as I finish one meal, I’m planning the next. And I’m a grazer. There’s breakfast, then the mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon nibble, and finally supper.
So. Fasting. I decided the thing to do was to just cut out all the middle stuff. Have a nutritious breakfast and then a normal supper in the evening. I mean, surely I could go 10-12 hours without eating. I even opted to drink a small can of vegetable juice mid-day to keep my metabolism from jumping ship.
Turns out fasting is HARD. I work in an environment where there are snacks everywhere. But on fast days, it’s none for me. And the upshot is–I don’t like fasting. But I have learned a few things:
- It’s actually easier to NOT eat than to eat just a little. Just a few chips turns into half the bag. Ten M&Ms turns into the whole packet. A bite of this turns into a bite of that. But if I’m not eating? I can’t have one more bite of nothing.
- It doesn’t hurt me a bit to skip food for a little while. Okay, there’s the sugar headache, but that’s just my body telling me to cut back on sweets. Good advice. I don’t get faint with hunger. I can still take the dog for a walk without feeling weak. Turns out I have sufficient stores of energy on me. Mostly in my thighs.
- After missing a meal (well, three mini-meals) it actually takes less to satisfy me. Supper is delicious, but I don’t find myself making up for the missed food. My belly’s just glad for what it gets.
- Fasting makes it easier for me to say “no” to food that’s not a good choice. I’ve proved that I can say “no” to everything for 10 hours. Surely I can say “no” to one cookie.
Of course, the ultimate goal of Biblical fasting is spiritual. And I have chosen to fast on days when there was a particular challenge or concern weighing on my heart. I wish I could say fasting has brought amazing revelations and godly insight. But here’s what it’s mostly brought–knowledge that my body is not the boss of me.
I’m so much more than my physical body–how it looks, how it feels, what it craves. I’m a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit is stronger than any chocolate chip cookie or cheeseburger. And so am I.