Fasting

For the last four weeks, I have been participating in a fast with two of my friends from our Sunday School class. Actually, we will be doing several fasts over the course of the first seven months of the year but this first one was food. And I think this one will be the hardest. Well, until we get to media. But we’ll cross that bridge later.

Food is 3 times a day. Every time I would finish eating, I would only be able to wait a few hours before I started thinking about it again. This wasn’t something that I chose once during the day and then I just phoned it in the rest of the day. Nope, 3 times a day, about every 5 hours.

Food is also so social. We love having people over to eat and hang out and extend hospitality. But how do you do that when you have such limited things you can offer? And you can’t really go out to eat very many places or order much.

My foods were chicken, eggs, bread, tomatoes, rice, beans, onion, potato, spinach, and oranges. And water. Truthfully, I didn’t do it perfectly. If we went out to eat, I wasn’t going to be that pain in the ass that ordered plain spinach and chicken, but I tried to keep with the spirit of the fast at least. The water was hard. My tea in the morning is such a ritual. And I did indulge in a glass of wine a few times. But overall, I felt better drinking so much water.

Ryan saved me, though. Although he wasn’t technically participating, he cooked and made it easy for me because I would have come home and eaten rice and beans every night and cried. But he made it exciting and happy and experimented with food. I’m so thankful he likes to cook.

I didn’t get all the books read that I wanted to this month. I specifically wanted to read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen, Year of No Sugar (I’m not 100% sure who wrote it and I’m being lazy and not looking it up), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m currently about half-way through Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I’m loving it. The first few chapters were super dense and I thought there was no way I’d be able to read it, but now I’m loving it. Kingsolver (who wrote The Poisonwood Bible) and her family set out to grow and provide their own food for a year and anything they couldn’t grow, they sourced locally. Yes, including meat. I’m currently very excited for the Farmer’s Market to come back and am thinking about reordering our Fresh Harvest basket. And I can’t wait for summer to eat a ripe tomato!

In the middle of this, Ryan decided to do a food challenge. But basically the opposite of my food challenge. For years, every time we’ve watched Man vs. Food, he has said, “Oh, I could totally do that.” So finally, I looked at him and said then do it. He found one and one Saturday, we headed to Cheeky’s so he could try to eat a 7 lb burrito. He wasn’t able to do it, but our waitress was very impressed with how much he ate. She said he ate more than she and 4 of her friends did. I pointed out to him on the way there how ironic it was that while I’m in the middle of this food fast, praying and thinking about how we eat and food insecurity around the country and world, that he is going and eating 7 lbs of food in one sitting. We’re so American. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

I’m still not sure what my final takeaway is from this month. I’m praying that God can help us see what a privilege it is that we have so much food and that we don’t take it for granted. That we use this privilege to help local farmers and eat more real food and that he opens doors for us to help those without access to real food. And that convenience isn’t my first priority anymore when it comes to food. And that God may be glorified by the choices I make.

But I’m especially praying that I don’t make this about me. This is about God and his kingdom.

“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58: 6-8

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