On Sundays, I will be introducing each week’s theme in a blog post. Every week we will study and pray about a different aspect of Lent and how we can use Lent as a time of reflection, understanding, prayer, and a time for us to find new ways to overcome darkness in our own lives and to help others through the dark times in their lives.
This week we are going to be talking about fasting.
Y’all. Fasting is hard for me. I love eating. I love drinking socially. I love watching TV and being on social media. I love shopping (at Target) and I love, love, love eating. Wait, I said eating already. That’s how much I love it. I am a hobbit.
So fasting has always been kind of a foreign concept for me. During Lent, I usually don’t “give up” anything, but instead, I try to take something on, like writing a daily blog or taking time to journal everyday. The last few years I’ve given up social media, which was nice, but as soon as Lent was over I just jumped right back in head first. I love social media because I’m a crazy extrovert that needs to feel connected to other humans at all times even behind a screen.
When I was in elementary school I had a friend who was Muslim. She practiced the traditional fasting of Ramadan in which during the month of September, Muslims do not eat after sun up until after sundown. You can only eat when it’s dark outside. I took her to the nurse one day in early September because she almost passed out due to her fasting. It was around 1PM and all she had eaten that day was a bowl of rice at around 5am.
I remember thinking that was crazy. Who eats rice for breakfast? As an adult I totally get that, but I still struggle with the fasting from food thing. The week before my gastric sleeve surgery and the month after were some of the worst days ever.
When Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit in Luke 4, he does not eat or drink for 40 days. 40 DAYS. 40.
When we give something up or fast from something, in the moments when we desire the things we have fasted from are the times in which we should turn our hearts and minds to God. If you’re fasting from social media and you go to your phone to click on the twitter app, remember to put the phone down, still your spirit, breath in your humanity, and exhale grace, love, and peace.
According to UMC.org, “John Wesley considered fasting an important part of a Christian’s life and he fasted weekly. To Wesley, fasting was an important way to express sorrow for sin and penitence for overindulgence in eating and drinking. He believed it allowed more time for prayer and was more meaningful if combined with giving to the poor. Wesley did advise caution against extreme fasting and against fasting for those in fragile health.”The same website also says that “Lent is a very personal time of self-reflection, so The United Methodist Church does not have official guidelines on how individuals should observe Lent. Some choose to give up a certain food, however a spirit of fasting can include restriction of activities such as television watching, shopping or social networking. Some choose to give away clothing or possessions, give time by volunteering or increase time spent in prayer. We fast to reorient ourselves away from the distraction of those things and back toward God.”
So what should I fast from? What is distracting me from God and taking my focus away from God’s call in my life? How do I reorient myself?
This week I’m going to be trying several different types of fasting and posting about it here. If you would like to join me on these days, I would really appreciate the solidarity!
Monday – fasting from TV
Tuesday – fasting from social media
Wednesday – fasting from spending money
Thursday – fasting from meat
Friday – fasting from food during the daytime (only water)
Saturday – fasting from work (observing sabbath)
AND we have our first guest contributor this week! So be sure to check back in on Tuesday for an awesome post by my sweet ginger friend, Calia.
I hope you find something that you are able to fast from in order to help you reorient and center yourself. Allow time this week to take care of yourself, mind, body, and soul.
Have an awesome week everyone!
God, please give me strength as I fast from the things that I love. Help me to remember that I really only need you to sustain me, not social media or other distractions, but your heart and your spirit living in me. Help me to be kind to others this week, to reach out to those who are hurting, and to be okay with being uncomfortable. Amen.