Monday, August 31, 2009

Adventures in Fasting

I wonder if I should fast. This is pretty serious.

My friend Allison was scheduled for an MRI. She had been operated on for a brain tumor a year ago, and this was a routine check up, but I knew she was nervous about it. Kevin and I had been praying, but a little added oomph seemed in order. That’s when I got the idea to fast.
I realize that fasting doesn’t change God’s mind about a situation. It’s not a method for manipulating Him to do things your way. It’s more a means to humble yourself, so you can hear His voice more clearly. It’s getting serious about being in the center of His will. And nothing spells serious like going without food.
My problem is, I become Miss Cranky Pants* when I miss a meal. Which isn’t good if you work with the public, serve in ministry, and write a column about God’s grace. Aha.

As I pondered my dilemma I noticed the title of the book we were studying in our Sunday school class, “Me and My Big Mouth.” I turned it over to view the synopsis on the back, and read one of the chapter headings: Fasting Includes Your Mouth. Oh dear.

Further investigation led me to Isaiah 58, where God rebukes the Israelites for fasting food but continuing to sin with their words and wicked attitudes. The word that choked my conscience was in verse 9, where God says, “Remove the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness.” Hmm.

I’ll fast complaining, I thought. Every time I’m tempted to grumble or be negative with my mouth, I will pray for Allison instead. I was so proud of my bright idea, I began immediately.

While getting ready for work, the thought presented itself to criticize my hair like I do many days. "What good does it do to have naturally curly hair if the curls don’t go the direction I want them to? This mop is a mess." Oops! Fasting complaining. I almost forgot. “Lord, help Allison to not be scared today during her MRI. Let her feel your love.” While rushing to check emails before leaving the house, the temptation came to grouse about my overflowing inbox. "If Facebook didn’t notify me every time someone glanced in my direction I could manage these emails better." Oops! Fasting whining. Get your thoughts in order. “Father, speak to Allison during her test today, please. Help her believe your love for her.”

All morning long I fought with griping gremlins and disparaging demons. By the time I looked at the clock and realized Allison’s test was over I felt like I’d wrestled a grizzly with my bare hands. And I wasn’t sure who’d won.

I’d mistakenly thought managing my mouth would be easier than taming my tongue. I was wrong. The habit of negative words and thoughts was stronger than my appetite for food. Bummer.

The one good thing that came from this bright idea, other than a realization of my need to be more positive? Allison got a ton of prayer!
*this phrase stolen from a good sport and fellow blogger Sherrinda


  1. Awesome post Jeanette! I find it hard to fast because if I don't eat I get very dizzy and shaky, but I never thought about fasting my words. That's so cool and I would think very biblical!
    I hope your friend ends up being fine.

    As for facebook, you can go into your settings and uncheck all the boxes for e-mail notification. You don't need it on because facebook keeps the notifications and will tell you when you log on what's been going on. :-)

  2. I had to laugh when you gave me credit for my Cranky Pants! I've been wearing them myself this last month, but today is a new day...and a new month. MY OVERTIME IS OVER! YAYYYYY!
    I love how you fasted over words! What a great idea! I so need to do that. Just think if we really took the time to only let edifying things come out of our mouths, what happier people we would be!
    Great post!

  3. I pray your friend is doing well. What a great way God showed you how to change while your heart was full of compassion for your friend. :O)

  4. I'd never thought of fasting from complaining! What a great idea!! I've always thought of fasting from various foods (i.e. desserts or chips or caffeine). But we often just go through the motions and our heart isn't changed as a result. I love this idea! Thank you for sharing it!

  5. I think I tried fasting from words one day and got to about 8:30am before I broke the fast.

    Inspirational post. Makes me think about my words and their weight.
    ~ Wendy

  6. When my stomach grumbles I can't HEAR anyone, least of all God, so I found this post very interesting. I wonder if for me, fasting with respect to certain likes would be more beneficial. Say everytime I wanted bread, I prayed for so-and-so instead and grabbed an apple instead too.

    Great work, I mean praying, Jeanette!

  7. How true...and this could apply every day, actually. Every time we complain about going to a job we don't like, we should stop and pray for all the people who are out of work. Every time we grumble about our hair, we should stop and pray for those going through chemotherapy who are losing that hair. Every time we grumble about that five pounds we've gained, we should stop and pray for all of those who don't have enough to eat.

  8. I can do that kind of fasting. Its the going without food thing I have trouble with. I am way overdue for a food fast. I keep saying I am going to start but I find excuses not to.

  9. Hi, Jeannette!

    I love that we can fast from things other than food. I'm one of those people who can't do that either. It really has taught me a lot over the years, however. It's so worth it!

  10. That's a great idea, to fast from complaining. I've done one-day fasts before and it's a challenge. The bigger challenge is, however, using that extra time to be more aware of God's voice. It needs to become more of a conscious choice, which turns into a habit, instead of something we do every once in awhile that's really hard to get into. Great post!

  11. Great explaination of fasting! Prayer in general for that matter. I'll be praying for your friend Alison. In fact I'm honored to do it.

  12. Thank you for reminding everyone that fasting does not change GOD's mind, but is about our own humble spirit and obedience to HIM.
    Blessing and prayers, andrea

  13. I love that you included yourself in the "no complaining" attitude. Often, we treat ourselves terribly. Fasting shows things we'd rather not know about our hearts, but in the end, if we are faithful, it releases us.

  14. Jeanette:
    I have been taught we can fast by giving up something we like. Television, Sugar, Sweets, anything we like or use too much. A friend of mine at church gave up her nasty atttitude for Lent.(I didn't think she had one.)

  15. A complaining fast would probably last all of thirty seconds from my big mouth! Thanks for giving me a new goal--less griping!

  16. Oh Jeanette, a gripe fast!! I love it. Don't know if I could do it though. How sensitive you are the to Spirit to relate that scripture to words and thoughts. Hey, that could be a whole book!!

    Thank you for that one.

  17. What an excellent idea! I think I might steal this one. I'm not one to miss a meal. But fasting complaining and negativity sounds like a GREAT idea. I especially should fast snapping at my husband. I've done a lot of that tonight. I'm going on a fast tomorrow. That's what I'm doing. Thanks for this lovely post, Jen!

  18. I've fasted for various reasons when I've gone thru tough times--not to manipulate but like you said to clear the mind.

    I would drink just liquids until 5PM. Every time I was hungry and wanted to eat, I would pray instead. It was a great way to get closer to God.

  19. I love this idea! Fasting from complaing! I will definitely be trying this.

    Prayers to your friend.

  20. Wow, I am so glad the Lord used my revelation of a hole in my soul to help you all!
    Love and Blessings,

  21. Oh I love love this idea! You and your friend were both blessed with you doing it. I think I just might fast tomorrow from my negative thoughts and replace them with prayer:)

  22. Thank you for wonderful insight, Jeanette. I love you and am so blessed to call you a friend.

    P.S. I would visit this blog even if it WEREN'T THE hot place to be.


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