Why I Don't Fast from Food (for religious reasons)
Today I'm talking about something maybe a little controversial, but I really wanted to put it out there so strap in! Growing up in a Baptist church, I became aware of the term "fasting". However, now, I am completely confident in my decision to not fast from food. I know some may disagree with me, but I believe that for some, including myself, fasting from food does more harm than good and causes oneself to actually focus more on himself than God.
It's no secret that we live in a strong, diet culture. We can't go a day without hearing some comment or noticing some ad on tv or the radio. It's sad, but it's a reality. However, we do ~not~ have to believe that.
Due to the fact that we live in this environment, I believe that fasting only feeds that mentality (for myself at least). When I used to fast from food, I felt more of a draw to myself and the material world. I felt as if I were "obeying" because I was eating less. I felt like my fasting may have had the original intent of focusing on Jesus, but I often found it pushing more toward a focus on myself.
Years later and recovering from an eating disorder, I have made the decision not to fast from food. I know myself now and I know that will not be helpful in my relationship with God, myself, or others.
Instead, I choose to fast from something that REALLY distracts me from Jesus. For me, that's my phone, mirror, social media, entertainment, and people's opinions of me.
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like many of us would agree that those things (social media, entertainment etc) actually distract us more from Jesus than food does.
In Bible times, they didn't have phones and social media obviously so that wasn't a distraction. According to Matthew 6:18, the purpose of fasting is not to show others, but it is meant to be between you and God. Therefore, when I fast from food I do not reap that effect. However, when I fast from my phone etc., I do.
That is why I believe that fasting from food is counterproductive. I know it's probably controversial but I think it needs to be said. If you feel that fasting from food is not a good idea/doesn't make sense for you, I believe you can still fast in areas other than food. For me, I have found it much more effective.
I think this is very important because not every can medically or psychologically fast from food. Some literally cannot physically while others know that it does not reap the effects fasting is meant to reap. I know when I heard the mention of fasting from food or the "Daniel Plan Fast", I felt weird and hurt...like am I not as good of a Christian for not fasting or wanting to fast? Will God hear me less?
Those fears are not reality. Fasting from food does not change your relationship with God or if He hears you or not. That is based off of His mercy and salvation through Him alone (John 14:6).
Many people, like myself, are recovering or have recovered from disordered eating and eating disorders and are trying to relearn how to feed their bodies. Others just don't believe it is helpful or beneficial. I believe that God wants recovery for me and fasting from food would bring me away from recovery.
I feel close to God when I take away distractions like the mirror and my phone. I challenge you to think truly about what distracts you from Jesus. :)