She sat across the round kitchen table from me, her chin propped on the palm of her chin. Eyes showing the weariness from the day’s work yet interested.
“Why do you give up eating for an entire day?”
That’s what I have been asked yesterday. I did explain that it was a choice and that it was my own choice, but the explanation came out a bit lame. And as I often do, I put that question on the backburner and returned to it in the evening.
What is the point in fasting?
For the longest time I did not understand what the entire Lent buzz was about. I was familiar with Jesus’ phrase “This kind can only be forced out with prayer and fasting” and I knew that Bible talked a lot about that. But why? Since I could not understand what it was all about, I did not fast until last year’s Lent. However, even though I faithfully gave up Coke for 40+ days… I still could not really understand why on earth I am doing it besides the simple (and quite silly) reason of “everyone does it and it’s the right thing to do.”
This year it was different. I guess this past year has changed me (hopefully in a good way) and I grew in my faith. Yeah, that sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. I guess juggling work, Church, and home taught me to set the right priorities. Another important thing was the fact that I became a member of the Church board and although I was the youngest there (still am), I felt like the training wheels of my faith bicycle were taken off and I finally was allowed to enjoy the ride to the fullest. Therefore, when the time for the Lent came, I was determined to do it the right way, not just because everyone else does it.
As I pondered about the question re: why do people fast, I reflected on my experiences during these 4 weeks of Lent and what I have learned.
Note: maybe some people will read this and think, “Well, duh! How could you not know it?” but for me… I am still learning the ways and the reasons for the ways. And that is why I write thing out – to help my mind process things that are confusing.
Giving up food (all food or certain kinds of food like meat or eggs) is not the point. Like I said, I gave up Coke last year. Some people give up watching TV, some don’t read fiction books. The main thing is to choose something that you like… and give it up. NOW, the reason behind this is NOT to give it up because God doesn’t want you to enjoy things or because He likes you to suffer or sacrifice things to him. NO.
The point (for me) is to “clean up the space” so to speak, for God to use. Another thing, with giving up something that you like, every time you automatically reach out for that thing (or your stomach starts growling or you decide to push that button on the remote control) it works as a reminder – instead of doing something you’re used to doing right now, pray. To substitute something you like with something you need.
It is quite amazing to finally understand the reasons and, as the Russian saying goes, “put everything on its own shelf.” And it is even more amazing what God can do with us when we surrender ourselves to him.
So… I guess I still owe my boss the full explanation as to “Why?”