Think about it. It’s a short amount of time if you’re talking about a visit with family or friends that you hardly see. It can be a long amount of time if you have to be anywhere you’d rather not. But either way, it can be a learning experience, can’t it? It’s all in how you look at it.
Our congregation has been called to a 40 day fast, which started yesterday, March 3. Not that our pastoral staff expects us to fast for the entire forty days, but to participate as much as we feel lead to stretch our faith, bring us to our knees and ultimately closer to God and His plan for our life and future as a church.
We’ve known that the fast was coming for a few weeks. And there was something about God’s voice speaking to me on Sunday that I couldn’t deny. I kept hearing “TV….TV.” Now, that can only mean one thing- I was being challenged to exchange some of the time that the television consumed in my life for more important things, such as studying the Word. Okay, I can agree to that.
But it didn’t really end there. See, my boys, the youngest especially, are addicted to cartoons. We try to keep a tight reign on that because we know that he would watch until his brain started to ooze out of his ears. And forget getting their attention during commercials- those are nearly as captivating as the shows themselves!
So, we as a family agreed to a fast from television. And before you think that we are crazy, let me just tell you that we already broke that last night- for Biggest Loser. That’s a show, albeit not “reality” that we all enjoy and so we agreed that we’d break the fast for BL but that would be all. Fortunately for me, it isn’t college football season.
I’ve discovered in the last 48 hours that I have the television on as much if not more for the background noise as anything. Jon’s suggestion for that was for me to turn on the radio. It isn’t the same. LOL But no TV has given me time in the Word and also time to read books that I always wanted to (I’m reading In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado right now) and given me extra time to practice my praise and worship music for ladies retreat coming up.
And then we’re back to the 24 hour thing. I decided that personally, I would take a 24-hour fast from food from Monday supper to Tuesday supper for each of the six weeks of the fast. Doable, I thought, since I’m not a big breakfast person anyway and then I can still eat what I fix for family dinners.
I won’t lie….it was difficult. I started out strong, but my stomach was in very angry protest by 10 am yesterday. So I drank more water and juice- even hot chicken broth- and prayed. And as I did so, I started to feel like it was doable. Pastor told us to pray when our stomach starts to growl- let me tell you that yesterday afternoon was quite a prayer time for me. And it was amazing. I felt at peace about everything that had concerned me over the last several days and I was able to better identify with those in our country who are as hungry on a daily basis as I was yesterday.
And the best thing- from a mom’s perspective…Matthew expressed all on his own an interest in fasting. I had to talk him down to a breakfast fast; he had wanted to do like a 72-hour thing. I have given him the suggestion that if by next Tuesday, he feels he can do more than just breakfast, he’s encouraged to try and fast from lunch to lunch the next Tuesday. But since he’s still growing, I didn’t want him doing anything more than that- for now.
If you have any suggestions for next week’s fast for me, or any experiences of your own, I’d love to hear them.
Twenty four little hours…I look forward to seeing what a difference it makes for myself and for my family.