Monday, January 16, 2012

The Fasting Experience


So what's it like to be fasting?
Why fast at all?
Some of you may be wondering - especially if you've never experienced or heard of a fast.

Honestly, before last year, the only times I'd ever "fasted" were when I was growing up in the Catholic church and we didn't eat meat on Ash Wednesday or Fridays during Lent.  That was pretty much it.  It was "required".  But there was no "intention" behind it.  I just played by the rules.

Fast forward several years to where I am now.

As a maturing Christian woman, I am on a completely different journey than I was.

Due to a very unfortunately, terribly awful and {some might say} disgusting event which happened to our family in a local church when we first moved here, we pretty much gave up on church.
We tried to find another church home within the confines of the Catholic religion, but it just didn't happen, so we basically stopped going.

We eventually found our current church home in mid-2009, and haven't looked back.
We belong to a multi-denominational evangelical Christian church.
It's far from how I grew up.
But it's brought me closer to Christ than I've ever been in my life.

Last year we discovered the fasting experience through our church.  They began a 21 Day Fast along with hundreds of other churches across the nation.  Ron and I participated.  Once again, this year our church began the 21 Day Fast, and Ron and I are taking part.

For people who only ever "fasted" on Fridays during lent, doing a 21 day fast was way out of our realm of experience.  And it wasn't just fasting from meat.  We chose to follow a strict "Daniel Fast".  We are following it again this year.  It's consists of a diet of whole foods - lots of water, vegetables, fruit, brown rice, absolutely nothing processed, no milk, no meat, no sweeteners.

It's not a diet.
It is a way of humbling ourselves before God.  We deny ourselves certain things {in our case, food - but maybe in someone else's case it's fasting from social media}.  We spend time in prayer.  We put forth a conscious effort to be with God in prayer so that we can open our hearts and our minds to what He may be trying to speak to us.

There is so much noise in everyday life.  All this noise can make it almost impossible to discern what God is saying to us.  If we can't tune the distractions out, then we can't hear what He has to say.  If we can't hear His voice, then we are missing out on some incredible things!

Maybe God is trying to direct your path a certain way.
Maybe He is trying to show you right from wrong.
Maybe He is trying to offer you an opportunity you might otherwise miss.
Maybe He is showing you that the timing of something in particular in your life is right...or wrong.

Whatever the case is, the noise can cause us to miss out on hearing His word for us.

During the fast, we put forth more effort to spend time in God's presence.
We tune out the noise so that we can listen for His still small voice.
We pray.
As for me, I have a couple very specific things which I am lifting up in prayer every day to God.
Why?
Because God hears our prayers.  God answers our prayers.
God has the power to do immeasurably more.
I am reading daily devotions specific to this fasting experience.  I am reading a specific bible plan on YouVersion which is geared towards a 21 day fast.  I am trying to discern from these readings what God is saying to me.  I keep on praying daily.

As I move through this fasting experience, I hope to gain wisdom and insight into what it is that God is wanting for me in my life.  I am trying to keep my eyes and ears open for the little ways in which God is trying to speak to me.  Sometimes it may seem so little, but it may just be His voice nudging you in a certain way.

I fast because I want to grow in my relationship with Christ so that I may become closer to God.

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