A Time to fast
My last few months were wrought with a lot of soul searching and major changes.
At a certain point between some of my health issues (dealing with fibroids) and what felt like trying to keep pace with chaos in my life I decided it was time to fast. Fasting was something I used to dread at times as a teenager but my mother always had us join in if our church was fasting. We would fast for a day or two and break our fast at night. It always felt like an accomplishment to do that.
When I was in university and on the track team I shunned fasting. I was obsessed with being at peak performance and used the excuse that fasting would make me lose too much muscle and therefore was not worth it. I didn’t care that much about performance since I pretty much ate whatever I wanted, but still that was my excuse for not fasting. For the first time in my life I missed church for track meets because we had away meets out of the city/country on some weekends.
It wasn’t until the last years of University when I started to put things into perspective. I had a level of success I was pleased with, but I started to become really hungry to know more things about God. I had some supernatural experiences that jolted me out of the way I was living my life and I wanted to prioritize God.
I started to focus on my walk with God, surprisingly my grades went up and I was running better. When school ended I was thrown into indecision about my life. The plans I had were now gone and my desire to be a track superstar was quickly falling into the background. I was so confused and broken. I remember when I decided to start pursuing God more. I went to every church/ conference event I could find. I attended prayer meetings and I’d spend hours worshiping alone in my room.
All of this just made me more hungry for God and I asked Him to reveal to me my purpose. I became so interested in how I could please God with my life. That was when I started fasting and praying on my own. I don’t remember what prompted me at first, but it became something to look forward to. I would go on three to seven day fasts, I tried a Daniel fast (which I hated) just eating fruits and veggies for 21 days. I even did one with no water or food for three days. Each time it was difficult, but I felt something happening to me. I look back fondly at that time. Most people didn’t understand why I was doing those fasts but years later it was obvious that a foundation was created in my relationship with God.
Over the years I still fasted occasionally, but during major life changes I felt the need to do longer fasts. Each one was marked by a turning point in my life. So recently I was feeling the need to begin a fast. I prepared myself mentally, spiritually and physically for a few weeks in advance. While I normally keep fasting as secret as humanly possible, this time around I decided to be very open about it and document it partially on my tiktok channel. I hope I inspired a few people to start this practice again. Fasting is great for you physically and spiritually if you take precautions to do it properly. Here are some other great reasons to fast.
If you want to grow in your walk with God, fasting will help you to be spiritually hungry. It removes the comfort of food and the usual things we use to pacify ourselves. It builds self- control and discipline and allows for you to be more sensitive to God’s voice and Spirit in your life. When you fast you are humbling yourself before God and in turn it transforms you.
Identify with the poor and broken
Isaiah 58 talks about a fast that helps you have sympathy for those that are oppressed and to share with those who are in need. When you’re fasting it’s an opportunity to remember others that we sometimes forget.
There have been many reports of fasting allowing the body to rest and heal. Your digestion system takes up a lot of energy. When you pause on food you allow your body to fix other things that may be out of whack.
This is my opinion not medical advice but I believe fasting helps to bring joy into your life. I haven’t figured out why but I think fasting brings you more in touch with what is important in life and helps you remember to enjoy the simple things we often take for granted.
Productivity, clarity and focus
Without needing to do as much meal preparation and clean up you automatically will have more time for other things. There have been times when I’ve fasted and still had to prepare food for others. Sometimes you don’t get the free time, sometimes you’re more busy, but as long as you set your intention and plan it can be beneficial. Fasting can provide mental focus and clarity. Sometimes you will be weak and you may have brain fog but that won’t last.
What greater example could we have of the importance of fasting then Jesus. He did one long fast that was necessary for him to begin his ministry. Right after his fast he was tempted by the devil. You may be tempted or face trials right after a fast but you will have the necessary strength to resist.
Make fasting a normal part of your life
Are you searching for purpose and direction? Fasting is a great way to seek guidance from God about that. If you have an eating disorder or have ever struggled with one, or are on medication that would make it impossible to fast get counsel before you attempt a fast.
Many people believe they can not fast just one day but I assure you that you will survive. It will be uncomfortable at first but it will be worth it. If you’re not ready to try a food fast try fasting something else in your life and using that time to focus on God.