Monday, March 7, 2011

Fasting.....What is it really?

I am about to let you in on a little secret.....come a little closer.....idontknoweverything…..there I said it, moving on!.....Oh, wait, you couldn’t quite tell what I said? Erm…..okay you caught me! I KatySue Pillsbury do not know everything, as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I’ve just accepted things the way they were presented and never thought about it beyond that! I am willing (for the most part, Mom stop laughing!) to listen to new information and change my opinion if the new information lines up with the things I do know for sure! Last night was such a time…..but don’t let anyone who was there know, alright? I’ve got a reputation of perfection to keep up! ;-)

Anywhoodle (Oh yes, I just used that word and I know, that you know, it’s awesome!) Last night’s lesson was about fasting, it wasn’t the lesson I’d read in preparation for the evening. I didn’t go last week because I was sick last and I hadn’t exactly read last week’s lesson anyway, I was sick give me a break! So I read the next one…..I guess they would have been bereft without my awe inspiring wisdom, because they didn’t have group, leaving me with no idea what the lesson was on and egg on my face!

It was a selection by Catharine Marshall; the author of Christy, yeah I’ve never read it, that makes me a failure as I homeschooled female, I know! And she wrote about “fasting” from criticalness for a day. This idea didn’t seem odd to me as I’ve done similar things before, in fact I’ve done more nonfood related fasts then I’ve done food ones. I’ve never fasted from a sin or personality trait, but I’ve fasted from TV, reading books besides the Bible, non-Christian music… on and so forth.

I called these “fasts” because that’s how they were presented, but it was pointed out to me last night that all of the fasts in the bible are food related; you don’t eat for a certain period of time and focus on God, with a specific goal in mind.

In the case of the guys (Jesus and his 40 days is one example) who would spend long periods of time out in the dessert/a lonely place before their mission began. It seems like a time of testing, preparation and focus.
There were three “goals” of fasting mentioned, but they last two seemed awfully similar so I combined them in my head (sorry if I’ve done so incorrectly, but as I sated at the beginning, I’m not perfect!) into asking for favor (aka favors, there was quite the discussion on whether they were the same thing or not and while I do have an opinion, it shall remain unsaid!) To me asking for guidance-protection-for your head to stay upon your shoulders, is asking for a favor/favors, again correct me if I misconstrued what was said.

I walked into the meeting unprepared for the lesson and walked away with a new outlook on fasting, for it to truly be a biblical fast, you must give up food! Not that the other kinds of “fasts” are bad, but they are not technically biblical fasts. A lot of it seems to boil down to your attitude and food is the medium that best creates the mental/emotional state that biblical fasting requires.

Someone said that as far as fasting went, giving up a sin seemed odd. Hey God, I’m going to honor you by giving something up for a day that I shouldn’t be doing anyway, but I’m going to start right up being critical-sarcastic-angry-prideful-gossipy, after my fast is over, okay? Can I please have my gold star now?
So, I will still “fast” from things other than food, but I am better equipped with knowledge as to what a true biblical fast is supposed to look like and accomplish. Speaking of fasting….. even though I am no longer Catholic I still continue to observe Lent…..Mardi Gra sounds fun too and I always wanted to go to a parade and get beads….until I learned exactly how you got the beads…..*sigh* being naive is so much more fun!

I give up food sometimes, like coffees (the fancy smacy Starbucks kind, yes I’m one of those people!) or soda but in recent years I’ve taken to giving up “time takers”. Last year I had gotten a little (okay a lot!) addicted to Lost (Yes, I am also one of those people, boy I’m just shoving all my skeletons out today, aren’t I?!), so I gave it up for Lent and spent the kids nap times reading my bible and praying rather than glued to a screen! This year I’m trying to decide between a few big time takers, blogging and FB being on the chopping block! While the original intent of Lent seems to have been lost in recent years (or maybe not so recent) I think of it as a time to honor and thank God for the gift of his Son! And whatever the original reason or religion the tradition comes from, a set aside season for honoring God is never a bad thing, if the right heart attitude is involved!