What Can Fasting Teach You About Yourself?

A lot of people who fast do so for religious reasons. In fact, the official definition of fasting describes an abstinence from food or drink often done as a religious observance. Fasting allows these people to increase their focus on the spiritual matters of their lives. Other people may fast so for health reasons so as to promote an internal reset of sorts. They go without food to give their bodies a break to flush out toxins. In either case, fasting involves making a temporary sacrifice to achieve a greater good in the long run.

I don’t want to get too much into my own experiences with fasting as I’d prefer to keep them private. However, I do want to talk about a realization I had the last time I went without food. On this particular occasion I had gone without eating for over 24 hours. My hunger pangs weren’t unbearable, but they were noticeable and I was ready to end my fast. I had gone the whole day thinking about areas of my life where I needed to improve and areas where I needed to rely on God’s help. This was all normal.

When it came time to eat again, I realized something significant in a moment of preparing food for myself. I felt an unusually strong desire to express gratitude that my fast had a finite end point. What I mean is that I had gone the whole day knowing roughly when my fast would be complete. I knew when I would eat again. I quickly contrasted that to the people around the world experiencing continual hunger and/or facing starvation. The uncertainty that they face on a daily basis as to when or where their next meal will be is something impossible for me to relate to. Consequently, I knew I needed to be grateful AND I knew that the proper response in gratitude was to share a portion of what I have with someone who was experiencing hunger.

Now I don’t deserve a pat on the back for any of that. Few people truly sacrifice for the sake of those who don’t have enough, but I share that story because I think fasting is a worthwhile endeavor. Try it for yourself and see what you realize. You might simply be hungry for a period of time and that’s all that happens. But you might go hungry and realize something in that time that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. That’s what makes fasting so beneficial.

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