Part of my personality type is being an experience junkie, and I’ve found that the experiences I seek now have shifted from when I was younger. Now don’t get me wrong, I still want to go sky diving (any takers to go with me???), but more and more I seek spiritual experiences.
Last year, this spiritual experience seeking led me to sign up for a middle of the night slot at the 24/7 Prayer Room. Oh, and by sign up for the middle of the night, I should say I actually kicked someone else out of their spot in the middle of the night. I don’t think that person was too hurt. And I had great hopes that as I prayed at 2 a.m. that I would have a great revelation. I didn’t. But I’ll definitely sign up for another 2 a.m. spot.
And, if I’m completely honest with myself (and you), I probably had the same expectation of my fasting day. Now, let’s not forget that people have been fasting as a spiritual practice for centuries, and I’m just one small drop in the bucket trying my first fast. But there were no astounding insight. No great revelations.
Instead, what I found was similar to pushing the reset button. During my morning prayer time, I prayed for God to fill me throughout the day. And I was filled. I also became very aware of all the things I turn to in order to fill myself. Namely, food.
I love to eat. I love all types of cuisine. I love to cook and create. I love how different flavors meld together to create something new. I love spicy and sweet, salty and sour. When my husband and I travel, we plan our trips around the food we’re going to eat. There’s also the shadow side: when there’s any sign of emptiness inside of me, I turn to food.
Like many people, and women especially, I’m an emotional eater. When I’m stressed, I eat. When I’m sad, I eat. When I’m depressed, I eat even more. Last summer, a medication I was on caused a one-month bout of depression, and I gained 10 pounds.
So while I was fasting, I paid attention to all the times I thought about food, and why I was thinking about food. Was I actually hungry? No, I wasn’t. I just wanted to eat. So instead of eating at those times, I drank some water and I prayed. Let me tell you, I prayed a lot on Friday!
To answer the burning question- did I complete the whole fast? No, I didn’t. And I don’t feel bad about it. I had some coffee during my 5 a.m. prayer time (ok, and another cup at ten), and I ate a granola bar at 1 p.m. when my blood sugar dropped and I started to get too shaky. I broke my fast officially a little early when I had dinner with my family. But for me, it was more important to share table fellowship with people I love, to remember all that is holy about gathering at the table, than it was to wait an extra hour to eat.
Is it something I’d repeat? Yes. And even if fasting for me means I need a granola bar at 1 p.m., I’m okay with that. Perhaps one day I won’t.
If you fasted, what was your day like? Was it an experience you’d repeat? I’d love to hear from you!