I’d like you to meet our son, Stefan. He has some great thoughts about fasting and I’d like to share them with you. Let us know what you think!
When I am extremely busy, I can go an entire day without eating, and I won’t even realize it. I won’t have hunger pains. I won’t get cravings. I won’t even realize that I haven’t drank anything. And, I can do that a lot! I know, I know- that isn’t healthy. But, when I have so much happening during the day, I forget about caring for my body and don’t even miss eating. It isn’t until it is the end of the day, late at night, when I start to get a headache. It’s a pounding, obnoxious headache, and my stomach feels like it has a knife piercing directly through it. I’m slightly dense sometimes; so, I don’t always realize that it is extreme hunger pains (“extreme” as if I have gone days without eating). By the time I stop to think, “Oh, I haven’t eaten today”, it is late at night, and I’m on the verge of death. So, I just quickly shove chips or bread or popcorn down my throat (something that’ll relieve the hunger pains and give a filling sensation to my stomach). Of course, that works in the moment, but I always wake up starving!
I wasn’t going to admit this, but there have been times where I have sleep-eaten. Yes… It is true. My body is desperate for something; so, I wander out in the night and find something to consume. This could be dangerous because I’m an all-natural eater, and I’m not sure if my body knows that… So, I could have eaten cheese puffs without realizing. Anyways, I have gotten better about making time in the day to eat actual meals. What’s the purpose of eating all-natural if I’m starving my body?
Okay; my point in all of this is that I can’t help but draw a connection between my body and our spiritual lives. Allow me to explain:
We can get extremely busy in our day-to-day lives. We work, go to school, have families, friends, commitments, ministries, sports, foundations, outreaches, and, of course, we “need” our tv time, social media, video games, cell phones, and apps to unwind and relax. During all of this, we forget to eat (spiritually speaking), and we don’t even realize it. We won’t have hunger pains. We won’t get cravings. We won’t even realize that we haven’t spoken to God or spent time in His presence in weeks!
It isn’t until it is late at night (a bad point in our lives) that the intense headaches start- that’s the anxiety, worry, depression, sorrow, insecurity, loneliness, restlessness, etc. We get the sharp pains in our gut. And, we realize, in this nighttime, these bad seasons of life, that we haven’t eaten. This is when two things can happen:
We begin to find the quickest snack to shove down our throats in order to resolve the hunger pains and get a filing sensation (i.e. a worship night, an inspirational scripture, an uplifting word or prophesy from someone). AND/OR we begin to search in the night for something. Our spiritual bodies are desperate to be filled, so we sleep-eat. And, since it isn’t accustomed to us eating, our spirits may not know we are all-natural eaters (consumers of God’s Word)… So, we may have eaten of the world’s pantry and not even realized it (those pesky cheese puffs).
And, here were are- somewhat starved, malnourished, and filled with cheese puffs. It’s not exactly the best place to be in life. How do we get out of this place? Easy. Make time.
It always happens when I am fasting that I realize my hunger pains. Of course I never feel them when I’m not fasting, but then again, I am always busy with work or friends or entertainment. But, when I’m fasting and separate myself from my everyday life, I realize that it is 2 pm, and I haven’t eaten. I’m hungry! Clearing my schedule, letting go of certain things, making time brings the realization that I haven’t eaten and my body is hungry.
The same goes for our spiritual lives When we clear out the unnecessary and even the necessary things from our lives, when we make time and separate ourselves from the normal, day-to-day routine, we get those hunger pains. We get the cravings for more of God and for more of His presence. We’re reminded that we need to eat and that our spiritual bodies have a hunger for the Bread of Life.
So, just as I have made time to eat actual meals during the day, I have started being intentional in spending time in the Word, drinking from the Well, and eating the food that is most important. And, the more I do that, the more I realize how hungry I actually am for God. Good thing it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet (cheese puffs not included).
“…man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3
yeah – he’s got a thing for chocolate too 😉