Fasting and praying – Day 21 and 24

Remember Day Two?  That was only 22 days ago!  And just a week ago, it was Day 17 and now it’s Day 24!  And I’ve been trying to post this update since Day 21, but WordPress has been a bit wonky… so here we find ourselves three more days into the future which is now the present, which will be in the past shortly.

The pace of time will always, always amaze me.  Especially since I’ve discovered that it speeds up the older you get.  I’m now one of the annoying ones who tells mothers of young ones to ENJOY. EVERY. MINUTE.  I write “Time flies!” consistently on birthday cards because I’m actually in shock that you are one year older, and that I’ve had to buy you another gift already?  I just bought you one.

I’m more than halfway through this fast and there are some interesting developments worth mentioning.

I may be making people feel uncomfortable.  Just yesterday (written on Day 21) my family stopped in at my in-laws for dinner after a full afternoon at the beach.  They enjoyed a lovely breakfast-for-supper meal and although the bacon literally called me by my full name – LORELI MAE COCKRAM nee GALBRAITH – when I passed it along the table, I resisted.  During the meal, I tried to bring up interesting topics for conversation and drank a heckuvalot, taking small sips and often, to make myself look busy while the rest of the family ate.  On the way home I asked how awkward was it for them to be sitting with me at the table .  J-M said, “Not at all,” at the exact same time Mallory said, “Very.”  Even in our little home with just the three of them plus me, Mallory says she feels bad and has difficulty enjoying her meal when I’m not eating.   J-M says, “No guilt here.”

I may accidentally make you feel judged.  My father-in-law asked me why I was fasting (J-M warned him earlier that I wouldn’t be eating) and I said something lame like, “I’m listening to God.”  I don’t think that I insulted him particularly, but I thought, you know, someone could think that I am saying THIS is the way to listen to God and if they’re not fasting, they’re not listening.  It is a way, but not the only way.  This is why I should be putting oil in my hair and washing my face each day, so there is no guilt for those who are not fasting.

It’s inevitable that you will find out I’m fasting even if you don’t read this blog.  It’s just that almost every single function one can do with a friend involves eating of some sort.  Hangouts?  Chips.  Movie? Popcorn.  Summer?  BBQ.  Church?  Potluck.  And because you’re my friend, you will ask me why I keep tidying the place and going to the washroom instead of eating and I will admit that I’m fasting and then I’ll tell you, shhh, I’m listening to God.  And you’ll tell me you thought I’d lost weight.  And I’ll tell you it’s a side effect of fasting.  At which point the conversation may digress to bathing suit season.

I’m not good at explaining the progress of my fast.  That’s because I don’t know. Once friends find out I’m fasting, they ask “How’s it going?” and I’ve been wondering, what’s the best way to respond?  I can easily take 10+ minutes to explain how it’s going, but are they just looking for “1/2 way there!” or “nothing yet!”  Because I’m ashamed to say, I’ve said both those things, more than once, yesterday.

Here’s what I can tell you.  God is speaking to me in powerful ways through my friends. They’re “iron friends” as my iron friend, Diane, calls them.  That’s from Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  These iron friends keep me accountable by raising an eyebrow when I’m looking for a snack after 2 p.m. or checking in on how I’m doing when I don’t blog for a few days. They also make mention of the wonderful ways God is working in my life, ways I don’t always recognize.  I am really feeling the love of God through them.  Through prayers, phone calls, Facebook messages, tea dates or short notes, I’m hearing from them that I’m on the right track, even when I don’t have an answer.

Day 24 Update – Hosted our Small Group at our home tonight.  It was a BBQ/potluck – double-whammy.  I had every intention not to eat, but it goes against what I believe about being a hostess – enjoying a meal together is one of the best ways to deep fellowship.  So it may just be me and Mallory who feel uncomfortable about the fast…  Needless to say, Friday I’ll go supper-less and play a slightly sluggish game of ball.

Thanks, iron friends, for checking in!

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3 thoughts on “Fasting and praying – Day 21 and 24

  1. I was intrigued by your message today…in our highly sociable society, unless you actually hibernate, there is really no way to fast in secret. Our lives revolved so much around food. I wake up in the morning wondering what I am going to have for breakfast and as I am doing the breakfast dishes I am planning lunch and supper. And you are right about socializing…we can’t seem to do it without food…sad, isn’t it? By the way, I have made a life change in the eating realm…I don’t eat after supper…a small concession I know, but it’s a start. I love reading your blogs…you are so honest and usually hit me right where I’m living:)

    • Thanks for your comment and encouragement, Aunt Sandy! Thanks for following along. Yes, it’s been quite interesting to discover some of these things as I go… We’ll see what the next 15 days hold. God bless you as you make that not-so-small change in your eating habits!

  2. If I am uncomfortable with a friend fasting that is likely a hint that I don’t fully understand the concept. God will teach me if I’m open.

    If I feel judged when my friend fasts, (assuming a humble attitude on their part) God is encouraging me to examine why.

    If I ask my friend how the fasting is going and yet want a very short answer, God is reminding me of the friend I’m called to be.

    God is using your act of faithfulness in so many ways. Beyond your relationship with Him and into the relationships of those who interact with you during this time.

    I too am excited to see what the next 15 days will bring.

    Chelsea

    P.S. I love that you choose to be flexible with your dinner night. It really seems to fit the spirit of the verse you mentioned in Matthew.

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