Monday, March 03, 2008

fastin'

This seems like a good time of the year to talk about fasting.

It seems like an odd subject for most of the year. You talk about fasting in June and people give you that holy roller look. You talk about it in lent and it's just what people do...or at least a bunch of people, anyway.

One of the ESPN guys had a cross on his forehead on Ash Wednesday - and that always looks funny to me. I'm not sure if he got into trouble - if people told him to keep his religion to himself - to quit trying to shove his beliefs down people's throats...or if he got a free pass. Doesn't really matter, I just sort of wonder..

A friend of mind fasts once a week. He also fasts for three straight days once a month. It's not good for his metabolism and I'm not sure he really cares. He does it to get weak. He wants to rely less and less on his own strength and more and more on God's. It's not a time of year thing. It's not in some big rule book he feels like he's got to follow. He doesn't announce or deny it - it's just something he does. He honestly just wants to know God more and feels like this is a way to push into his relationship with Him more.

It's the exact opposite of doing something that's good for you as part of what you give up for a certain period of time. He's not giving up food to lose weight...and to do it as part of this fast. He's not giving up a bad habit to lose the habit...and also it'd be something that would count towards this thing we do every year. He really yearns to rely less on his strength and more on God's.

I've never really done the Lent thing. I tell people I'm giving up listening to the J Geils Band, or reading Nancy Drew novels...or whatever strikes me at the time...but I don't do it. Who could give up those mysteries?


I occasionally fast. A day or two here or there. I've done a week a couple of times...and that's not so fun. I've given up activities or certain foods for months and even a year plus at a time...but honestly that was always somewhat about ME. I was giving up stuff that I thought would help me in some way. I think I somehow turned this time that I was giving up to God into a time that ultimately was about myself. I know not everyone does that - but I sure did.

So if you're knee deep in a fast for God - Lent or otherwise - I'd just like to encourage you to use those moments of withdrawal to somehow use that as a reminder to look to God.

7 comments:

  1. the ever-changing template is giving me seizures. probably because i check your blog every 5 minutes. all those flashy colors...

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  2. Anonymous10:03 AM

    giving up food is one thing, but J. Geils now thats just plain crazy talk!

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  3. Connie11:22 AM

    Giving something up for Lent is a sacrifice. You seem to be suggesting that if you give up something you like that is bad for you , that is somehow less of a sacrifice than giving up something you don't like that is good for you. I say it is much more of a sacrifice to give up something you like even if it is beneficial to your health to do so. You have made this point before.There is no rule saying you have to give up something for Lent. One chooses to do it to honor the sacrifice that was given for us.

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  4. I don't want to discount sacrifice - and I get that giving something up, no matter what, is a way to honor God. I'm just saying that for me to give up diet coke or music or whatever ends up being more about me.

    I miss the point when I make it about me sacrificing something that helps me. It becomes another self help program.

    Going to the gym is sacrifice - and it's good for me - and it's all about me. I just don't need a second New Year's Day to put together a list of bad habits or changes I want to see.

    For me - it has to be about a way to see more of God - and can't be clouded by a what's good for ME motive. That's just me though.

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  5. Anonymous10:31 PM

    I'm sure God enjoyed seeing the blood run from the wounds of the ascetics.

    Only now they're finding out that self-abuse can be an addictive and pleasure-inducing practice.

    Another selfless act for God exposed...

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  6. Sean, why are you always wrong? And why do you hate poor people?

    Sincerely,

    Anonymous

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  7. I've often found that I have to fast for more than a day or it's completely ineffective. It's all about me, me, me at first.

    What seemed like a dorky thing to me for the longest time; that is, media fasts, now seem extremely effective for me to connect deeply with God.

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