How should we fast?
Fasting is a traditional practice of Lent. We fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by abstaining from snacks, and only eating small meals. On Fridays during Lent, we abstain from meat. Some people do a true fast of bread and water one day a week for Lent. If food is an issue for you, there are plenty of other things for fasting - phone, internet, your car, complaining, anything!
What is the deal with all the fasting? It can seem like little more than a holy diet plan, don't you think? I tried fasting once, and stopped because I felt exactly that. It wasn't connecting me with God in any way, I wasn't getting anything spiritual out of it, I was just waiting all day to eat my dinner. It wasn't like I needed to diet, and even if I did, this was not the way to do it.
I tried again another year, and that time it was different. My fasting wasn't just an activity that I was doing, it was something steeped in prayer and awareness of God's work and action in my life. As I willingly gave up something I enjoyed, I realized that everything I had was given to me through the grace of God. In an incredibly deep way, I understood and appreciated that I was owed nothing, but given everything.
Even more, offering my temptation as a prayer for those who have no choice but to do without, I grew in love and compassion for them.
After all, isn't the point of our Lenten practices to draw us nearer to Christ and make us more like Him? If your practices aren't doing that, check your perspective, and start again.
Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of my new book Walking Through Holy Week. Order your copy here to make it a good Lent!