Around the nation and in many parts of the world, people have begun the new year by fasting. God asks us to fast. Jesus said that his disciples would fast (Matt. 9:14-15).
But in most western countries, we do the opposite. We gorge. We grow addicted to eating. People go to counselors because of their food issues.
I grew up fasting. Not because I was spiritual, but because I was a wrestler and had to make weight. At one point I had to lose about 30 pounds.
So I became well-acquainted with the gnawing pain that attends a fast. I probably needed to go to a counselor for my food issues.
This morning a World Racer wrote me about fasting:
I have been battling with fasting the whole race. But today, I felt an extra pull and Jesus spoke that it was time. I have fasted for a few days at a time, but I’ve always told myself that I could never do 40 days – there’s just no way and I’m afraid.
My question for you is, how do you not only overcome that fear, but also that doubt? Nothing in me wants to be fearful or doubtful, but for some reason I have just always thought “I could never do it.”
Good question. Can you relate to feeling fear about the prospect of a long fast? Where does fear like that come from and how do we beat it?
Many of us are simply addicted to comfort. We’ve not known what it feels like to be hungry for an extended period of time. We’ve not had much experience enduring physical pain, so we worry about whether we can defeat it.
Pick your reason why fasting seems hard. The question is, if you sense that you should, will you say yes or no? It’s that simple.
And if you say yes, how do you beat your fear? Perhaps a one-day fast seems doable, but anything much longer seems impossible.
First, my suggestion is that you recognize that you may be an addict. A comfort addict. As addictions go, it’s respectable enough. Only in recent history has there ever been the expectation that you could live with such comfort. Economic and technological progress has given us this gift.
Second, learn from AA and take it a day at a time. Is God calling you to fast for three weeks? Just start by fasting a day. And if you make it through the day, then do it again the next day.
If you feel fear looking at three weeks, just focus on doing it a day at a time.
Have you ever done an extended fast? Why or why not? What worked for you?