I’m not sure I completely understand fasting.
I read a book about it once. It gave me a little better understanding of the concept of fasting. The gist was something like “fasting is about depriving ourselves for a period of time in order to refocus on God, not about bribing God with our sacrificial self-deprivation or offering him some gift of self-discipline (though that may be part of it).”
I also read Foster’s book on the Spiritual Disciplines, which is why I think I started fasting in the first place- I mean, it’s biblical.
So today I packed my little ford focus with a towel and swimsuit (I think God appreciates a good swim as well as I), Bible, laptop, vitamin water, sweatshirt (weather is unpredictable in Michigan), and my parents’ dog (Skylar) and headed for our cottage in the U.P.
I arrived around 11am to a quiet cottage and went straight to the front porch overlooking a surprisingly calm lake under cloudy and unsure skies. Everything was covered in a soft blue hue and infused with the smell of pine, cedar, and a bit of fish.
After some quiet time I decided to take Sky for a walk. Sky has been my faithful companion since I’ve returned home. She follows me around the house and is always next to my bed when I wake up in the morning. Having Skylar around has confirmed my belief that getting a dog just might solve all my problems.
As I walked through the dense wildflower lined woods with my canine friend, I realized that the last time I fasted was also the last time I was in “the land between.” I’m noticing a theme here- Maybe if I starve myself God will give me some sort of direction- Lest you miss the humor, I do not really sacrifice meals to get what I want from God, I am simply poking fun at my habit of fasting out of desperation rather than virtue.
When I fasted last time I was job searching after grad school. I remember I had intended to fast every Monday throughout the summer.
That lasted about two weeks.
Fasting when you work in the restaurant business is absolute torture for two reasons: 1. The obvious fact that you are surrounded by both the sight and smell of ridiculously beautiful and aromatic platters, and 2. You’re burning about a million calories running after your unbelievably high maintenance patrons (I wore a pedometer on a double once; at the end of the day it read 13 miles).
I’m not making excuses for why I quit fasting that summer, just explaining the reasoning behind my lack of follow through.
When I fast I have in mind that it is to refocus my heart on Christ, but I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that part of me always hopes that I’ll get some clear, audible direction from the big guy.
Krista, thanks for fasting. Here’s your ten year plan in both alphabetical and chronological order. Just follow it and you should have no trouble, heartache, or worries.
Ya, that never happens.
I don’t see more clearly what God wants me to do, but sometimes I do see more clearly where my focus has gone awry.
This time it’s my hope.
At Fellowship Church in Denver last weekend the pastor talked about how our hope is in Jesus.
Our hope is in Jesus. Pretty basic. Sunday school 101, right?
So I know this, but I’m not sure I’ve been living this.
It’s taken me some time to remind myself of this truth: My hope is not in a husband. My hope is not in having children before the clock stops ticking. My hope is not in a successful career or moving to Chicago.
My hope is in the One who makes all those things worth having. My hope is in the One who teaches me how to love and receive love, how to extend and accept grace.
My hope is in Jesus.
And that’s why I fast- not because I’m trying to bribe God to give me what I want, because I want to offer my sacrifice to God, or even because I want to hear from God- but because I know that even when I don’t know what I’m doing, even when I’m just sitting on a porch on a chilly summer’s day in Northern Michigan, He hears me. And He meets me there.