When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
When I hear the word "fast," I immediately think of going without food for a specific length of time. Many Christians will choose to fast as part of their Lenten discipline. While I have no problem giving up certain foods during Lent, when it comes to skipping meals, my body refuses to cooperate. I become cranky, irritable, and downright ugly if I'm forced to wait an inordinate amount of time to eat when my stomach is screaming, "Now!" Take my word for it. You do not want to be around me at those moments!
This past Sunday in her sermon, Conversations with God, our associate minister, Pastor Lindsey, speaks of fasting in an entirely different light, one which I can eagerly embrace. She calls it "Media Fasting." This involves limiting time spent with any techno-gadgetry or outside entertainment and using that time, instead, to talk with our Father. Pastor Lindsey recounts a recent trip to a weekend retreat when she made the conscious decision not to listen to the radio as she drove the distance there and back. In the silence, she was able to pray and listen for God's answers. The experience was such a positive one, Lindsey tells us she plans to continue this practice whenever she's in her car.
I can vouch for that. Years ago, when I was writing devotions daily, I could not afford distractions which interfered with hearing the inspirations which God was trying to give me. I treasured every quiet moment when I could ponder the scripture chosen for that day and hear Him speaking to my heart. That's when I, too, kept the radio at bay whenever I had errands to run. There were even times while driving when more than one devotion would gel in my mind, ready to be penned the moment I reached home!
Of course, as the pressure of daily devotions changed to bi-weekly, I began flipping on that radio again. So, this Lent, I'm giving it up, determined to use this time to converse with God. Additionally, I'm switching up my morning routine which, up until now, has been to turn on my computer, hitting e-mails, Facebook, news, etc. before curling up with my Bible and settling into my Father's lap. I've only been days into this practice, and already the blessings have been better than I could have ever imagined.
With regard to giving up a food for Lent? Are you sitting down?
Yep! My all time if-it's-cooked-and-in-the-fridge-I'll-eat-it favorite!
I know. Small sacrifice in the bigger scheme of things.
But every time during Lent when I find myself craving it, I'll run to the Lord with shiny hair and a clean face, thanking Him for all He, in His great love, sacrificed for me.
Do you fast during Lent?
Prayer: Father, remind us that the most important conversation we will have all day will be the one we have with You. You will always listen in love. You will always answer in Your time. You will never fail us nor forsake us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.