Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fasting: what matters in context

The last I mentioned the fasting I am observing was about a couple of weeks ago after which I had not talked much about it.

I was sent a link about fasting a few days before the fast proper. I went there for a spell but stop short of reading more than 2 or 3 pages, or spend more than 2 minutes on it. I suddenly felt a bit stressed and wondered if I should be worried about the fast.

I had felt relaxed about it and I was prepared to take on the 40-day fast quite in stride. I aim to spend my days more in touch with God. But after that website, I begin to wonder if I need to be more solemn about it. Do I?

One thing I can recall from the website was not to announce the fast to the whole wide world or they’d think I am out of my mind. I am not sure if that is so. But what I do encounter in my context may be slightly different.

I am fasting meat and comfort food. When I order food in eating places, I ask for the vegetarian version. Each time that happened, I seriously think I sound like a Buddhist. I don’t know what else to do – do I need to explain myself or do I need to reword how I order food? More importantly, does it matter at all?

I have also read in the website that fasting is not the main thing that is offered to God but as a discipline that leads us to God. I think I would agree with that - I used to think that fasting itself is an offering of surrendering oneself to God but more than that, it is also an act that helps us draw closer to God. After all, as it is with all our acts of discipline, the center is still God, the reason is still God; these are merely means to an end.

But after a week I do have some lessons learnt:
· I thought fasting meat and comfort food would be easy – not so!
· I found out how difficult life must be for pure vegetarians – it takes some getting used to
· Temptations come more strongly when our minds are set and I have in small ways regrettably justified succumbing to them, but all in all, I aim to spend the time in closer communion with God.

Photo © 2008 Steve Woods


  1. I'm glad you are sharing this walk with us. IMHO you do not need to explain to anyone as you order. It is between you and God period.

  2. I hear you Susan :) but it will not be the first time I am labelled a Buddhist. I was personally asked once if I were.

    "What made you ask?"

    "Oh, you were so kind to me."