Since Christmas I have tried to fast once a week. I say tried, because my experience of fasting has been somewhat mixed. Fundamentally, I have managed to get over the line each time and not eat for the time I set myself, but if l am honest, to say I have engaged in a deeply spiritual experience, would not feel true. I have frequently had headaches, I have had low energy levels in the afternoon and in order to stop thinking about food I would work really hard to forget the fact it’s LUNCHTIME. Not quite the panacea of drifting through the day on a spiritual high, having time to devote to prayer.
So why do I continue to do it?
Firstly, I comfort eat. For me this is a form of idolatry, but I have found, by some mystery of the grace of God, that fasting re-sets my preoccupation with food. Secondly, I notice that the more I have engaged in fasting the richer my personal devotions the rest of the week can be. Thirdly, despite my generalised opening statement there have been moments when I have been happy not to eat and enjoyed reading my bible, also if I have found if I allow myself tea the headaches don’t seem to be an issue. Therefore, the positives outweigh the negatives.
You wouldn’t expect a new born baby to go straight onto solids, so neither would you expect an adult to be instantly be agreeable to fasting. Like riding a bike, just because l fall off, l am not giving up. If fasting brings all of the benefits I have listed above, why would I not keep (in the childhood sense) practicing it?