Back on Wednesday I declared that I would do a 21 day fast. A time to focus on God and to pray. By Friday, I realized that was a bit unrealistic of me. I’ve never fasted before. I didn’t know what I was in for. I was queasy. I was getting a bit grumpy. I dropped 5 pounds in a day and a half. That within itself isn’t a good sign. I truly want to follow God in this calling to fast and pray. Yet my own body seemed to be rebelling against me.
I spoke with a fellow pastor who made some suggestions. That has helped. And so I continue to fast and pray. And in doing so, God has taught me somethings.
1. I emotionally eat. More than I thought I did. Each time I started to get frustrated about something, including struggling with not eating for the fast, I found myself looking into the fridge or the cupboard. It was like a natural instinct to do that. I began to wonder, how many times have I placated my own struggles and frustrations with food. How many times have I sought food instead of seeking God in prayer.
2. I use food as a weapon. If my kids don’t behave, they don’t have a snack. If they don’t do what I say, they will go to bed without supper. If they don’t eat what’s on their plate, it’s taken away. Same with my wife. If I get mad at her, I’ll eat something she’s been saving to enjoy later. As I’ve been fasting and praying, I’ve been seeing how things in my life revolve around food.
3. I use food as a reward. If I do something good, I get chocolate. If I’ve completed a big task, I get a nice pizza. It becomes a real donut on the end of a stick used to motivate Homer Simpson to run. And it affects how I interact with myself and with others around me.
Now, I’m not saying eating is bad. Nor am I saying that not having a nice night out isn’t bad when good things happen. Nor am I saying that disciplining my kids isn’t important. What I am saying is that it revolved too much around the food rather than the family.
I have a few more days left. I continue to focus on God, seeking his help through Christ and be led by the Holy Spirit.