Jeannie Bruenning Author

Feasting or Fasting

A few months ago I decided I wanted to understand fasting. I know a lot of religions practice it. When I googled it, I found a ton of sites recommending fasting to improve your physical health. Fasting always seemed to be this torturous event that made one look spiritual – I was hoping that my perspective was wrong.

I love the Old Testament story of Esther. She was the orphan girl who became queen and saved the entire Jewish population. There is the Fast of Esther which precedes the Feast of Esther – a celebration I love to participate in, the feast not the fast.

So my search to understand fasting began. I found a Jewish website that said a fast could be for 12 hours, sun-up to sun-down.  I figure in winter it must be less and in summer it could be more. It also said that if you needed to eat breakfast first you could. So I tried it for a day. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought. By the end of the day, I felt a bit more spiritual – or perhaps enlightened is a better word.

The following week I thought I would be brave and fast for 12 hours without having breakfast first. By 3:00 I was bent-over with stomach pains – I didn’t feel very holy.

After a few one day fasts, I began to realize that my concept of pleading with God to try to get Him to do what I wanted, is NOT the purpose of fasting. Fasting is God’s way of getting me to shut-up and focus. It is His way of telling me what He has planned.

Next week there is LOTS of stuff going on, I decided that I should take the big plunge and try a 3 day fast. I planned to set my alarm for 5:30am, make a quick breakfast and begin the day.

Day 1 – holy crap, was that difficult. I felt as if I had a huge black cloud hanging over me all day. I was overwhelmed with all the situations in my life that seemed to be just hanging there with no end in sight. I refrained myself from telling God what I wanted to see happen, I just let it all hang there.

Day 2 – woke up with a sense of excitement, don’t know why. Nothing really changed overnight. The situations were all still hanging there, but next to them was a sense of expectation. The first time I glanced at the clock it was 10:00am and I had finished what I planned would take my entire day.

The next 5 hours were filled with conversations that were amazing; each one creating more and more clarity and a deeper understanding of the situations facing me.

I always wondered how Queen Esther came up with her plan to save the Jews. I figured she came up with the plan and spent 3 days fasting to plead with God to make it happen her way. I was WRONG! She spent 3 days of fasting in order to find out what God had planned. How cool is that! How easy is that! We make it all so difficult.

It’s coming to the end of day 2. In a few hours I’ll be having dinner with my husband. I’m sure I will cry as I tell him about the amazing conversations I had this day – I’m tearing up already just thinking about it.

Tomorrow I plan to wake up at 5:30, have a little breakfast and wait to see what the day has in store. I must be honest, I can’t wait. I’m not expecting miracles to happen. In fact, I’m not expecting anything specific to happen. MAYBE that’s it!!! Maybe the excitement that I feel is based on knowing that the unknown is going to happen.  How weird is that???

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