For the last forty days, I have been participating in a fast with my church. The title was “We Worship Because He Is…” and the focus was on all that Jesus IS, when we are NOT. As someone who had never (successfully) fasted before, I was unsure of what it would hold for me. Though we were free to choose what we would remove from our lives during the forty days, I chose to follow something similar to what the church was doing—forty days without secular media, alongside alternating food restriction (no meats or sweets one week, only one meal a day the next).
My initial expectation was that the food restrictions would be a breeze, but the secular media would be the death of me. Knowing my attachment to Instagram, I was sure that the lack of online social interaction would be a huge challenge for me. The first week, I became overwhelmingly aware of my dependency to mindless scrolling and routine posting on the app. After that however, I began to enjoy the space from the social media world. I felt free, in a sense. My dependency shifted from the world of social media to uninterrupted quiet moments with Jesus. My Bible study became so much deeper and more enjoyable, my prayer life stronger, and my overall mood was lifted. As the weeks went on, I almost forgot about that part of the fast because it became so easy to resist.
Surprisingly to me, the most difficult part of the fast was the weeks of only eating one meal a day. In all honesty, the expectation that food restrictions would be easy stemmed from the fact that I am notorious for “forgetting” to eat until the evening or just getting too busy to include meals in my day-to-day routine. It seemed like only eating dinner was something I was already so used to that it would pose no inconvenience.
Man, was I wrong.
I have always been the type to want what I can’t have, and that truth slapped me in the face at 2pm every day, when hunger pains uncharacteristically overcame my stomach. I had always heard that the beauty in fasting came from reliance on God when you are hungry, tired, etc., but I also always thought those people were nuts. Jokes on me, I am officially one of those people.
All jokes aside, I truly did find my relationship with Jesus growing in strength every time I focused my eyes on Him, rather than only seeing my hunger or exhaustion (or temptation to check Insta, just one teensy time.) He would turn my heart away from the pain and hardship and rest it on Him and His goodness. I found myself less distracted and more capable of praising Him for all I had, rather than dwelling on the things that were missing.
The fast ended on Saturday and I have found myself less concerned about social media now more than ever. Though I am super excited to continue blogging, my identity remains in the strengthened relationship with Christ that I found during my fasting, rather than in my social media presence.
I definitely encourage you all to try fasting or at least remove something you are dependent on a couple times a week and replace it with Jesus. Oftentimes, it is hard to realize our reliance on something until it is gone. But where we are weak, God is strong.