Sure Jesus, Elijah, and Moses have done it, but could I? I know that physically I can but convincing my psyche to cooperate has proven challenging. Forty days, huh? I write in confusing tenses since thus far my attempts at the extended fast have failed. Ten days has been my limit and I am still trying to figure out how I can succeed in forsaking food for the benefit it will provide.
I want to convince someone to lock me in a room with some books and slip a gallon of water in each morning. The constant availability of any food I can imagine is making it hard. I need a faux desert. I need a tangible resolve. I want to hear from the Lord on a few matters and my love of crunchy bread; sharp cheeses and chocolate steal my devotion from Him.
I must keep the matter between God and myself as best I can. What is done in secret to honor Him will be rewarded openly. Food is a distraction and for many (read me) a hobby. Call it idolatry if you want. It fits. Short fasts are nice and God appreciates them I’m sure but I am not getting any genuine affliction out of them. First, I did them for the no-brainer weight loss they provided. Now I want a higher purpose. I want to empty my vessel of a lifetime of easy living, to appreciate his provision and enjoy life without food dictating my hours and minutes. It’s quite absurd.
I have titled this work Forsaking Food because I think of marriage vows that state how the bride and groom are to forsake all others in favor of one another. Well, from Scripture I know that I as a member of the Church am the bride of Christ. I need a lot of work to be faithful. Some people struggle with gambling, some people struggle with sex, some people struggle with drugs, some people struggle with video games: for me it’s a struggle to stop eating when I already feel sick or actually making it past a restaurant after just having had a fine meal at another.
Add to the guilt that I have been thin my whole life and when I complain about my food addiction people mock me for lack of understanding. I have never been anorexic or bulimic (although I have tried- my body refuses to throw-up), I just pound food like every meal will be my last. My parents provided a good home to me when growing up and food was in constant supply. One thing I want to gain from a long-term fast is a genuinely fresh approach to food. Start over. To cleanse my body of every piece of damaging gunk and eat like God intended. He put enough passages in His word against excessive love of food.
I eat for drunkenness. A great sin. At this point, some people are surely calling me crazy. But I am comforted by the idea that if you are reading this, you might understand. So the reasons for my fast are three which often grow into four or five depending on how capricious I am acting with my Lord in prayer on any given day. First, I want to experience that spiritual state that I will attain if my mind becomes free and I focus on God instead of Pizza. That is wrapped up together with my desire for greater faith, indeed the faith as a child. Second, I want to squash my unhealthy relationship to food once and for all. I lack faith just thinking about it. That is part of the problem. Food has always controlled me. Can I forsake it? Really forsake it? My third petition to the Lord is more earthly. I want the Lord to place me into my niche. If I must walk in the flesh, I hope to do so with a decent job that fulfills me and allows me to pay off my pesky student loan. I shudder to think that I went to college and got a good education just to be under the weight of debt for the rest of my days.
Well those are my hopes for my forty day fast. I wonder if God is laughing at me right now or if He is thinking, okay put your money where your mouth is. Thank goodness He is merciful. That other one though. He unsettles me with this guilt and I want to send Him to Hell myself.
So then, comes the doing of it.