On Fasting When You Have to Eat

Thursday, January 16, 2014  ::  

This is Second Mile's tenth annual week of prayer and fasting. I know it is cliche to say, but I really can't believe we've been doing this for ten years. It blows my mind just a little. The act of gathering as a church with one heart and mind to start the year praying through the same topics and fasting from a variety of pleasures bonds us, strengthens us, and challenges us.

Through the years I've fasted for different lengths of time from food. One year I skipped the internet for the week, but decided it didn't draw me closer to Jesus in the end. For me, fasting from food forces me to experience emptying myself and relying on Jesus in mysterious ways. The clarity and worship not eating brings to my heart, mind, and soul lifts me up. Therefore, last year when people who love and care for me brought up the fact that I should probably eat during our special week because of the health issues I was facing, I felt crushed and left out. In God's mercy and omniscience, I learned to engage in the week in different ways and I grew in compassion and understanding for those who cannot fast for a variety of reasons.

The excitement for this year's week of prayer and fasting has been building in my heart for months. Go big or go home, right? Since I didn't fast from food for the week last year, I figured I could just go ahead and fast a few days longer than the week this year. To be clear, my motives were not to make up for lost time, but to celebrate the healing that's taken place in my body and to rush into the presence of God. However, my sweet, loving husband who does more than I could ever explain to take care of me, especially since I don't often take care of myself, sat me down a couple of weeks ago to gently bring up the fact that I'm taking blood thinners, that fasting from food may not be the best option considering the potency of the medication, and that I should do some research. If you know me, you know I was instantly in the state of "Whatever! I will deny myself food if I want to!" That's kind of an ironic statement of rebellion if you think about it.

Long story short, Chad was right. Shocker. He's right most of the time. I love it and it drives me crazy. I can rely on him completely, but I can rarely win a debate on details and logistics. Again, if you know me, you're laughing at me debating details and logistics. Let's just say those two words do not translate well in my view of the world.

I'm writing this little blog post for those of you who may be thinking and wondering about how fasting pertains to you. Some of you are on medication, or are nursing babies, or take care of sweet littles and not eating could endanger them, or work in very stressful or strenuous jobs. We are all at different places in our lives. Important notice: This is not a blog post to give anyone an excuse to not fast from food if God is leading you in that direction. There are people in our church who have stressful jobs or take care of sweet littles that fast from food. You must run your own race! You must seek God in this area, ask him about fasting, and obey.

I'm letting you know what I will be doing for this year's fast to invite some of you to join me. I've taken some ideas I've found on the internet, as well as Jen Hatmaker's 7 book to come up with my own personal plan.

Starting soon, I will only be eating apples, chicken, broccoli, and brown rice, using minimal olive oil, sea salt, and pepper to cook the broccoli and chicken. My stomach needs something or my blood thinners will turn on my body. We don't want that. For me, I will be limiting my quantities for each meal, but if you choose to join me, you should check with your doctor about your necessary caloric intake.

Eating only these four foods for a week will force the issue of simplicity, which is important in fasting, will cause me discomfort, which comes with fasting, and will make eating about sustenance and not so much about pleasure, which food is almost always about pleasure for me.

If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or shoot me an email or Facebook message. I will promptly reply. What are your plans for fasting? What has been your experience in fasting and prayer? How can I help, encourage, and pray for you through this walk of obedience? 

Let me end this post with these important words:

Romans 14:17  
The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

Hebrews 3:12-13 
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of us has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the Living God, but encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that 
none of us may be hardened by sins deceitfulness. 

Hebrews 10:23  
Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, 
for He who promised is faithful. 

3 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Cheryl Hutchins said...

I really, really like your idea for chicken/broccoli/apples/rice. I've been stressing about whether or not it's a good idea for me to fast for the bulk of the week, since so much of my job involves transporting children around Pima County. I wasn't sure how much of a danger it would be to be zooming along the highway without having eaten, but also wasn't sure how much I was saying that to avoid fasting? This definitely gives me more to think about. I have, what, two or three days to get it figured out?

Emily said...

Love this. I love that you are finding a way to draw closer to God and participate in what the community is doing without jeopardizing your health. And I love that you think outside the box and encourage others as well. This is just one example of what God will do through you during this time. :) I'm not spiritual enough to look forward to fasting, but am always excited to see how God will work in my heart and community during this week. Thanks for sharing your journey and encouraging us through it Friend.

Erin Fabry said...

I am always encouraged by your journey, Angel. Your story is beautiful, and I am grateful that you are sharing your fast with us so we can all share in seeking God together. I think it is so wise what you are doing, and I pray God honors it in big ways this week, with many answered prayers, changed hearts, and encouragement :). May we keep praying big things, for we know that God hears us and longs to help us.

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