Eric and The "Fast" Part I
March 9, 2017
I feel terrible. I’m on the second day of a fast, and I’ve never really fasted before unless you count a couple of small ones that I did for some cleanses I tried out when I was younger. I didn’t succeed at those beyond the first day though. So, right now I am further than I’ve been before. I don’t know what I’m doing. When I was a kid my parents would fast all of the time, or it seemed like a lot to me anyway. I’ve never understood the point exactly, but I think it has something to do with proving to God that you’re serious about whatever you’re fasting and praying for. I’m open to being completely wrong about that and pretty much anything else for that matter. I welcome your input.
I have wanted to do a fast or start a regular fasting schedule for years for health reasons. I read a study (ok, an article about a study, have you ever tried to read a study?) several years ago about some people who fasted once a week that were healthier than us normal folk. So, when our speaker last Sunday said that she was going to start fasting on Wednesday the 8th of March through Friday the 10th (NOTE: it turns out that I got the dates wrong and started and ended earlier than I was supposed to) and praying for our country’s leadership I figured that would be a good time to start. While I’m not nearly as happy with the people in power as she is, I do believe that it is my job as a Christian to pray for them. When I really think about it and get passed all of the nonsense, personal feelings, and negative emotions that I have I know that-while it would be a complete surprise to me-I do want them to succeed because they are leading my country, and I want us to succeed.
It’s important to me that you understand I am not bragging about this thing that I’m doing. I don’t even think that I’m doing it right. The first day I didn’t do anything truly spiritual. I prayed a couple of vague prayers, and spent the rest of the day pretty busy with my kids and occasionally watching TV. I went to church, but I mostly just felt kind of dizzy and disconnected even though I did enjoy being there.
The main thing that’s keeping me at this is my fear of death and/or disappointing myself. After she announced that she would be fasting and that we were welcome to join I started researching the health benefits of fasting. I discovered that there are many benefits, and also, many medical doctors say it’s terrible because no one can ever agree on anything ever. The one benefit that was most important to me was the lowering of blood pressure. I have been trying to figure out how to get off of blood pressure medicine for months, but I’ve been too scared to do it without my doctor, and I know that my doctor would never allow it because of my extreme obesity.
I bought a home blood pressure monitor about a month ago and tried to go a day without my medication, but I felt terrible and became too scared to continue even though my numbers were normal. Part of the reason I switched to a plant-based diet (veganism, sort of, mostly) was to get off of medication, but soon after I discovered a whole new world of vegan junk food that I was too weak to avoid.
So, here I am on the second day of my fast with a fairly large headache, which is mostly attributed to the lack of caffeine from when I stopped drinking my usual 8 cups of tea (I’m fairly certain that’s the cause). I haven't had anything but water since Wednesday night, including vitamins, supplements, and medication, but I checked my blood pressure this morning and it averaged 121/72. I don’t know a lot about blood pressure numbers, but I know that one is around normal. Normal enough for me not to be terrified anyway.
So, does fasting to get closer to God work if you are benefitting from it in other areas? I don’t know. I asked someone and googled some things and it seems that the reason in your heart is the one that God goes with. I’m not entirely sure what my heart is feeling, but I do know that I have spent the last 10 months trying to get closer to God, while not really trying as hard as I could or should. I started going to church again, I started tithing again, I pray more than I used to, I regularly think about what God wants from me, but I still sin on an extremely regular basis. I’m not proud of that, and I would get into some of my more evil sins, but I think it might hurt people that I’m close to. I don’t mind sharing though because while I am ashamed of my sins I have no actual shame.
This morning I sat down to read some more of The Shack. I’ve only read 2 chapters (earlier this week), but I’ve had the book for 4 years and many many people have suggested that I read it. One person even, some might say quite foolishly, went to the extreme of loaning me her copy. I had a headache and felt dizzy, but I wanted to finish the book. As I sat down to read it I heard in my head a faint voice say “wrong book”. I don’t know if the voice was God, it sounded an awful lot like my own inner voice, but I knew immediately what the voice meant. I am a Christian, but I have never read the Bible all of the way through, still not bragging. It’s very hard for me to focus, and anytime I’ve ever started I’ve given up pretty quickly.
I silently said to the voice “but the other book is so big how would I know where to start?”. The voice answered “I’ll show you”. Then I heard “Proverbs”. Ok, that’s not something that usually happens to me, but I was pretty sure it was just me antagonizing myself. I do that frequently. I will constantly ask God a question then “He?” answers with what I think He would say or what I want Him to say, but usually it’s the harder answer so it’s mostly what I think He would say. I assume that He is disappointed in me and if I’m asking Him what I should do I always get the harder choice back immediately.
So, I sat there for a minute considering whether or not I should open the Bible or go back to my friend’s copy of the book. I decided “why not? I’ll check the Bible and hope that I will get more clarification than just Proverbs.” I opened the app on my phone and asked again where in the Bible I should go. I heard Proverbs again and selected the book. I asked what chapter. I heard “1”. Really? 1? This had to be me messing with me, right? I asked again and heard “1:23”. Okay, I pressed 1 and prayed that there was a 23. There was. “Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.” - Proverbs 1:23 NKJV.
March 11, 2017
Ok, I wrote everything above on Thursday after making my children peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I only had about a 20 minute window of being left alone to write it and I never revisited, sorry. Also, if you have never been on a fast and smelled bread that you weren’t going to be able to eat then you don’t know real psychological torture (NOTE: I am joking, of course, my life has been very blessed, I have nothing bad enough to complain about ever, and real psychological torture is much worse than anything that I have ever experienced). I’ve gone on far too long here though so I will visit the rest of the fast and the Bible verse(s) in the next post. I promise. Thank you for reading.
To be continued...
P.S. This particular fast I was on was based on Esther’s fast. She asked her women to fast with her for 3 days before she went before the king to try to save her people. This could have gotten her killed, but she did it anyway. Spoiler Alert: God helped her succeed in a pretty big way.