Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The 24 Hour Fast

I'm going to fast today. I've tried to fast in the past but I've never been very successful. I am sometimes able to abstain from specific foods for a period of time but giving up food altogether for any length of time has proven very difficult. I plan to fast on water only.

Over the course of the day I am going to update this post to offer my insights and challenges. I have not eaten since last evening so I'm already well into this fast. For the sake of simplicity I'm going to consider midnight of last night as my start time.

7:00 AM - I have not had anything to eat since going out for ice-cream with some friends after supper last evening. I'm not much of a breakfast person so I'm not feeling any loss yet. I have tea or coffee every day but my hot water substitution is surprisingly satisfying.

8:52 AM - I'm hungry. This is where I usually fail -the first hurdle! I might say something simple and dismissive to end the fast without debate, like, 'fasting is stupid.' Or, I might give myself a rational excuse about how I have to work tonight so I need to keep up my energy. I'll tell myself I will fast another, better day when there will be fewer challenges because I don't want to set myself up for failure. I'll remind myself that there is fresh fruit in the fridge that is going to spoil, that I am meeting a friend for coffee later, that God loves me just as I am and I need not prove anything with such an outdated, legalistic practice. Today I am going to try simply being aware of such thoughts and letting them float by without grasping and playing with them.

10:42 AM - I made some pancakes and topped them with a generous amount of butter and maple syrup for the girls. When you're a mom you don't get a break from preparing food, even if you are fasting! My belly is starting to growl.

4:25 PM - We live in an apartment building and I can smell at least 2 tasty dishes being prepared this evening. My belly actually aches. It's been a good day so far though. My hunger reminds me to turn to God with some extra prayer.

8:30 PM - Still fasting. I work the night shift tonight so I slept a few hours which helped the time pass. I am surprised by how well I am doing. Once I took the option to eat off the table, so to speak, the hunger became manageable. The real battle is the mental war, the hunger pangs are a small discomfort.

11:00 PM - I'm suffering with nausea and a little shakiness now. My body is definitely ready to break this fast. Just one more hour to go. Thank goodness I can eat as soon as I arrrive at work! I can only imagine what it is like to live with hunger all the time. I know one day of hunger cannot begin to compare to a lifetime of poverty but I have been reflecting on these issues throughout the day.

Final Reflections - I broke my fast at midnight with an orange followed by a banana. For the last hour, and even for an hour after I ate, I felt miserable. I was extremely nauseaus and very weak/shaky. Heading to work after 24 hours of fasting is not recommended! However, this particular job is not physically demanding and I didn't need to interact with anyone so it was manageable.

I wish I could have spent more time in prayer and meditation yesterday, but it's not always possible to carve out a half hour or an hour when you are a working mom. I did find myself leaning on God a little more throught the day and I will definitely be fasting periodically from now on.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I am tired, empty and confused. I feel suffocated by the circumstances in my life. Do I follow my head or my heart? Do I even know what my heart wants anymore? No. Why is the voice of God so hard to distinguish from my wants and fears? God feels a million miles away. I cry and I pray and I sleep away the day. I try to play with the kids and talk to my husband and do the next right thing. But I pretty much feel like the walking dead. Yet, there is something there. A spark of hope. I think I am becoming much better at dealing with suffering. Some days anyway. A lot of days I still find myself looking over the edge and wondering if today is the day I jump. I can't tell you if God is trying to push me off or hold me back.