Happy Friday friends! Our final day of communal fasting has come, and I hope that this lent season and week has been filled with contemplation, prayer, and perhaps a stronger relationship with God. Food, focusing on gluttony, is a popular focal point for many practicing lent, and to gain a new perspective through varying practices with God in regard to food has been enlightening to say the least.
As my first year intentionally practicing lent has come full force, food has become a tangible element that, up until this point in my life, I have had the privilege to have a rather healthy relationship with. Being a college student with nearly unlimited options on campus to indulge in, food has become more than nourishment and has transformed into a comfort, confidant, and mindless hobby. Moments in my routine that could be filled with prayer and reliance on God, instead rely on Chick-Fil-A nuggets and fries. It was this and the third year of somehow gaining a freshman 15 that pushed me to try a new practice for lent. Everyone’s relationship with food is drastically different, and for those who practice varying fasts with food as the focal point contain different perspective.
Every Friday throughout lent I complete, or at least try to, a sun up to sun down total fast in food. No food; only water. It has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined, and this is what, in some senses, is the main idea behind fasting. Fasting is to purposefully abandon, or perhaps gain, practices that are difficult but ultimately increase our trust and reliance on God. Since I am truly not going very long without eating, it’s not necessarily the hunger that has become difficult to tackle, but the hanger (hunger/anger). I become so irritable and sometimes just awful when I am hangry, and completing the fast has permitted me to get a hold on that. Though not entirely, it’s a step by step process.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:16, “when you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do”, and this makes the hanger more defeating. We are to rejoice during this time period and pull Him closer to our souls. Instead, I have been pulling negativity closer to my soul when I fast. To learn this and to know that Jesus wanted us to fill the gaps we create with him and his love increased the motivation and sense of commitment to the process.
Completing the fast is only the tip of the iceberg during lent. Coming to know and settle in this has made the purpose of this spiritual discipline much more than simply deciding to skip lunch on a Friday.
Through this practice I want to capture a more tangible form of feeding the soul rather than the flesh within my life. Knowing that it is not my body that owns me and dictates my life. I have control over it and God’s love and guidance is to lead me past the physical barriers, cravings, and hanger.