It’s strange that I’ve been a born again Christian for over twenty years now and yet I’ve never truly fasted.
Well, not properly. Sure, when I was growing up I’d give up something for Lent – like chocolate, or video games; I guess that’s a type of fasting, but did I spend more time with God during Lent? No… because I was eight years old and had no idea what the concept was truly all about. I figured the church just decided to take away neat stuff from kids for a couple of months for whatever reason – and that our parents were somehow involved in the conspiracy.
About ten years ago I decided to honestly and truly fast from food for forty days. I started by telling myself I’d drink nothing but water during my 40-day fast.
Two hours later I compromised. Surely, having a cup of orange juice is okay – after all, it has vitamins that I’ll need for my fast. Okay… water and orange juice, I can do that.
The next morning I craved coffee. Well, c’mon, you can’t be expected to give up food AND caffeine. After all, I need to be awake as I head to the radio station to do my radio show. God would understand that. Oh… and I need a little milk with my coffee for flavoring too. I can use the Vitamin D and calcium anyway. Oh… and I added a little sugar to my coffee too. Energy, ya know.
By the end of the first week of my forty day fast I was rationalizing chocolate milk shakes because they weren’t technically solid food. It was about that time that I realized fasting was pointless – at least in the manner I was doing it. Had I gone much further I’d have been placing cheeseburgers and pizza in a blender with a can of Mountain Dew just to liquefy it so I could say I was abstaining from solid food, “for the Lord.”
Well, the last couple of days I’ve been feeling perhaps that God is calling me truly, honestly, and this time do it right… fast. I’ve been talking with a few of my Christian friends who have wonderful things to say about their experiences with fasting – how it brings clarity of mind, that you feel closer to God and that your conversations with Him are that much more intense and personal, etc.
But then there are the downsides… the “side effects” if you will. I’ve got people telling me that fasting can (and likely will) bring about headaches, bad breath, body odor, sluggishness, fuzzy thinking, acne and even (eww) boils. Lovely… that’s really giving me incentive to do this whole fasting thing.
Still, I’m debating it. In fact, today I only ate a couple of bananas and drank tea all day. Heck, I’m halfway there already without hardly trying. Of course, I know the instant I officially declare a fast I’m going to want a Venti Mocha from Starbucks with whipped cream – and a side of McDonald’s fries. We’ll see what happens.
I’ll keep you posted.