Out with the Old



    Don’t get worried...I’m not tossing out Grandma and Grandpa or their cool, vintage stuff! No, for me, it’s just that time of the year again. Time to let some stuff go. Get over it and toss it out! I have a couple of blogs I will be sharing with you on this subject and the first thing I want to talk about is fasting.


    January has always been a time of fasting and prayer for our family and usually the churches we are a part of. It seems natural that we should turn to silence and meditation after all the partying and noise we were a part of in December. We think a lot about what we and our loved ones want in November and December but January is a great time to turn our thoughts to the Lord and what He wants for us this year. 


    Many people do their next year’s planning in December so they can be ready for January 1 to start their goals. I think that‘s great.  And I did do a lot of research on some things and do know kind of where I am headed the next couple of months at least. But we usually like to wait till life slows down a bit and we are able to push away from the socials and the Oreo Cookie Balls (I ain’t gonna lie) and put more of our focus on tuning into what the Lord has to say about it all before we make any definite plans.


    Fasting is one of the greatest things we can do for our bodies, minds, and spirits. I’ve heard a lot of reasons from people about medications or blood sugar or jobs but the fact remains, everyone can fast. You just have to fine tune the fast to fit you! Instead of using the blanket statement (excuse), “I can’t fast because (fill in the blank),” maybe change the statement to something like, “I can’t go on a total fast or a Daniel’s Fast because of (fill in the blank) but I want to fast so I will do this instead.” 


    God will honor any kind of fasting that we do! As far as I know, God is not up in heaven with a rule book that states, “You have to fast everything but water or it doesn’t count as a fast.” Do what you can do! Fast French fries and coffee! Fast The Dr. Oz Show and chocolate! Anything that we give up in the spirit of denying our flesh to enable us to draw closer to God is a fast in my book. Great emphasis is put on fasting in the Bible and it is one of the great “Spiritual Disciplines” written about by Richard Foster. It should be a regular part of our Christian journeys, along with prayer, reading the Word, serving, giving and gathering together.


    It is not only a very spiritual act but it is also very beneficial to our bodies to fast. Fasting allows our bodies to detox and rest. Most of us fill our bodies all day long every day with a lot of stuff...some good, some bad. But fasting will give our bodies a break from the constant barrage of more and allow it to use all of what is already in there and maybe take a breather. From what I read, a total fast of three days will actually detox our bodies and allow them to reset to their “factory settings.” After three days, we have had withdrawals from sugar, caffeine, processed foods and whatever else we cram in there (this is why the first three days are the hardest!) and we are able to choose whether to allow those harmful things to come back into our lives and rule our eating habits. Another great option is fasting a full day a week because it prompts us to be more mindful of what we eat on a daily basis and also reminds us how demanding our flesh constantly is. 


    Another area fasting affects is our minds. Around the second day, our minds clear and we can focus. Our bodies are resting from a lot of the internal drama it goes through processing food and sends all its resources to our brains. (I don’t know really...I’m just guessing! But it sure sounds right...) We have tried our best to set aside phones and computers and TV and anything else that is competing for our attention and we f-o-c-u-s. No food or text or YouTube video is vying for our minds so we are able to direct our thoughts right where we want them to go and they actually go there! We are able to clearly analyze things and meditate and ask God His opinion on our lives and pocketbooks and families and jobs and well, everything else.


    I have given us a lot of great reasons to fast. It’s not really that hard. I just watched the film “Unbroken” and I realized that I haven’t done anything all that “hard” in my life compared to some. Fasting is like anything else-exercising, eating right, giving part of our income to God-we know it’s the right thing to do;we just need to kick ourselves in the butt and do it! 


    Maybe find a fasting buddy. Someone who can support you through the hungry times when you feel sluggish and your body is releasing all those toxins out of your system. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you are fasting! You may have to let your boss or that friend you usually do Zumba with know. They need to know why you look/act like you are death warmed over! It’s because you feel like you are! The Bible talks about the Pharisees who bragged about fasting to others to gain respect. This is not what we do. We talk about fasting to encourage others to take the plunge and also to get support if we need it.


    Don’t worry so much about the “rules” of fasting.That is not where our focus should be. The heart is where God looks. No matter how you do it, I encourage you to fast. It’s so worth it for the dividends acquired in your body, mind and spirit.