Food is a big deal in my family. I am tempted to believe that this is symptomatic of my southern roots. In my family every social gathering, every church activity, and every holiday is planned around food and lots of it. It is safe to say that I'm a borderline food addict (not that I'm blaming), and I medicate with food which makes me an emotional eater. Suffice it to say, you can tell when I'm stressed because I'll have put on a few pounds.
I have experienced fasting only twice in my life. The first time was with a group of people whom I cherish. They made up the first small/cell/support group in our first full-time ministry. Our church was facing some big decisions. So, our little group decided to set a day where we would all fast and pray for our congregation. Then we came together that same evening and shared our experiences. I was eight months pregnant at the time and unable to participate literally. However, listening to the experiences of my peers and closest friends was so meaningful that I knew it was something I wanted to experience for myself.
I remember one friend sharing that every time they began to feel hungry throughout the day their thoughts were immediately forced onto God.
Fast forward nearly five years to today. Yesterday, I fasted. I didn't even have my morning coffee. Water was the gig...all day.
The first half of the day was easy. Skipping breakfast is normal for me, so no biggie there. (No lectures on the importance of the first meal of the day, please)
By lunch time, I was a grumpy lady.
By mid-afternoon I was ravenous enough that my boys instinctively evaded me by hanging out in their room.
It wasn't easy for me.
I made it through the day. I can support my friend's claim and then some. Every second of the day I was thinking about the task at hand. Every other second of the day I was trying to convince myself that one little grape wouldn't declare the fast null and void.
In my Christian walk I've always wanted more out of my personal devotion to Christ. I've wanted to truly empty myself of me and instead be filled with the word and Spirit of God. I long to hunger and thirst for Christ, like I hunger and thirst for my own selfish satisfaction.
Let me tell you what I learned from fasting. There is a battle going on inside me. One where I want to serve God and do His will, and also one where my will is served and my wants are satisfied. There is a tug of war for my heart and most of the time God is not the one that wins the battle.
I don't believe that I'm spiritually stunted because fasting is more trying for me than the average healthy human. I do believe that I AM the average human. I realize that I give in to myself too often and what may seem like a blessing of abundance morphs into a god itself whom I worship daily.
There are lots of gods out there...the god of playtime, the god of work, the god of food, the god of sex, the god of money and the all powerful god of me. How wonderful it would be if I for one day could empty myself of all the worship time I offer to the other gods and devote one day to THE God.
I'm still working on it. Praise the God of forgiveness and mercy that knows I'll never perfect it. I hope He knows how much I try.