Since my own church is on a corporate fast I had some interesting ideas about what usually happens when I fast along with the church. To be honest we have one we do every week but I do not always partake of it. Many times I forget and at other times I simply do not participate out of my own selfish reasons. Be honest with yourself about if you are going to fast, what you want from that fast and what to expect when you do fast. If you are not going to be honest with yourself and with God about it, the whole thing is in vain anyway.
Expect for attacks to come at you from all sides.
Everyone has their own cross to bear. Mine is usually sexual in nature. Not in the sense that I will find myself looking at something I have no business looking at or going into places that I do not need to go. This is more about the fact that people tend to come out of the woodwork. Now I have been very good about staying faithful. But I have noticed that complete strangers seem to be nicer, more flirtatious, or approach me in general where on other days no one even recognizes that I am there.
I would dismiss it if I myself were more outgoing during those times, except that I am not. I am about as approachable, or unapproachable, as I would be at any other time. I am typically a reserved person that keeps to themselves that likes to stay in their own space. However people have a way of appearing out of thin air during those times the church decides to go on a fast. It is a very weird, very strange phenomenon indeed.
Expect to have problems you normally would not have.
Some of the strangest problems have occurred during that time that I committed to sacrificing myself and my own needs. I decided to go into a grocery store and return an item I had picked up from another location. I got behind a woman but then a woman that was ahead of me got back in line. The woman came out of nowhere, I assumed that the clerk told me that the woman was ahead of me because she didn’t see me initially. So when she told me that the other woman as ahead of me I told her that she was not. She then explained that she was and why she was, and I didn’t have much to say.
Normally I would not have argued with the clerk, but for whatever reason I felt the need to be combative on that particular day. Like “I am so sick and tired of people taking me for granted in this way”, almost as though I am not going to take it anymore. How often does that really happen to me? Maybe like one or twice a month, or every other month not very often at all.
It wasn’t a good situation and I beat myself up about it the rest of the day. They talked about me while I left I could hear the conversation but I didn’t bother going back to see what it was about. I was already in the wrong, I didn’t get what I wanted and still had to go to another store to get the refund and I had already left a bad taste in that clerk’s mouth. If I ever see the clerk again that is just one more person I could not witness to. For most people it would be about the money, or about semantics, but it wasn’t about that at all, ultimately, at the end of the day. It is always about Christ.
Expect to deal with hunger in a way that you normally would not.
Many years ago I went through a period of time when I could not eat. I had no job and I did not know where the next meal was coming from. No one wanted to send me any money, and I was not about to beg for food because I was not homeless I had a place to stay but no way to pay any of the bills and no way to pay for the rent.
Eventually God sent someone our way and we had meals to eat. It wasn’t what we wanted to eat, and we didn’t even have any way to refrigerate or prepare what we really wanted to eat. I had sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly for a long, long time. In the beginning I dealt with a lot of headaches because the chemicals that was in the food I used to eat the body could no longer enjoy, so I was going through that withdrawal.
I would go to work trying to act as though I was working though lunch but in reality I was trying to look busy. I should have went outside and walked around. Through all of that though, it seems to have paled in comparison to what happens when you can eat, but you choose not to. Your body knows when you cannot eat, because of extenuating circumstances. But when you can eat your body is upset, it rebels, it lashes out at you.
Another day it was around Thanksgiving and I was so hungry I could not stand it. We were allowed to eat, but we just had to stay away from meat. I was doing okay until I came across a Thanksgiving meal that was supposed to be for the homeless. This was entirely too good to be true; not only could I eat the meat I had been denying myself for a few days, but I could eat for free! But what ended up being entirely too good to be true was the idea that I would go into that place, get my meal, and not eat meat. I was with someone else that said that they were going to do the fast with me that wasn’t part of the church. That was supposed to reinforce the fast! I don’t know if they ate meat or not; now we were not able to prepare our own plates we had to have those plates prepared for us. I looked at that meat for long, long, long, time. About twenty minutes later I finally succumbed to my desires. About an hour after that I had a migraine and was suffering for my sins.
You aren’t in prayer. You are not in your word and there is no praise in your heart.
As fun as it is to see if you can go without food if you are not in prayer and speaking to God you can forget about it. For one the fast will not be as effective as it was if you were in prayer and specific with God about what it was you chose to go into the fast for. It should be a personal decision, not just because you were told to do so.
There are going to be temptations, devices that will propel you along the way in order to get the time that you are to be on that fast over with. Pray when you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep. Read God’s word; I get email messages from Bible Gateway that I never delete but I never read either. You are going to be pulled into a thousand different directions, and then you are always going to be pulled back. You might see a sermon on a television, come across some ministers website or run across a Christian trying to minister on a video blog. These are reminders to turn off the technology and get back into your Word.
Your job is going to pull you in different directions too. You shouldn’t get too comfortable surfing the web at work anyway. This might be a good day to take your eyes away from the monitor and into the Word of God.
A fast always sounds easy, but it never is easy. You cannot do a fast standing on top of your head unless you have a clear plan and are going into it with expectation. This is a time to be excited and to rejoice. Sure you will lose some weight. Sure you will find yourself stuck in a line somewhere having to listen to strange music that you never would have listened to because you are no longer in the world. Sure you will find yourself stuck in traffic somewhere and a fancy automobile pulls up playing the filthiest rap music you have heard in months. Sure you will listen to the Christian radio station for a few songs, get bored and listen to something with booming bass talking about something that is just foul and not right regardless of how you look at it. Everyone goes through those tests, and everyone fails those tests at least once. But you pick the good book back up and go at it again. Forget about time, put the phone on silent and just lose yourself in a conversation with God. We lose ourselves in everything else and will travel to the ends of the earth in order to have some experience that transcends all and takes us to a new level in something. But we refuse to do so with God, and he is right here and we do not have to spend any money to go anywhere …