During a fast, one has a lot of time to think about, well...fasting. I suppose that's part of the point. Here I am on day 6 of a juice and facebook fast. There have been moments when I've found myself sitting in a room alone, staring out the window.
That's because fasting brings a silence not much unlike death itself. Like when you hear that someone close to you has passed on and suddenly the world comes to a screeching halt, everything falls away and you're staring into the face of God.
So I sit in silence, cut off from the world I'm usually involved in, cut off from food and there sits God, ready to talk.
He's there when I feel moments of panic, like I'm drowning in a sea of hunger, a hunger for anything to take me away from myself.
Fasting strips you down to the nakedness of all nakedness.
The hardest thing about sitting across from God is seeing yourself reflected in his eyes. There, the monsters that torment me in the darkness of my mind are brought to light and forced to stand trial in the daylight. There, those things that keep me afraid and bound in chains are accused and forced to enter a plea.
It's terrifying to see the truth in myself. Yet while I sit trembling, God reassures me that it's all okay. I will not fall off that cliff. I won't lose my breath. I won't go insane.
Seeing all of these things that hold me hostage is the first step in gaining control over them. I'm learning quickly that fasting is really about learning control. I have way more control over my mind, body and spirit than I thought I did. My fears don't control me. My weaknesses don't control me. My desperation doesn't control me.
I am in control. And when I yield the control is when I can finally surrender it to God.
I'm learning that fasting is a training ground for life. It requires me to hold fast during moments of pain and exhaustion, to push through without knowing what's on the other side or if relief will ever be felt. I simply have to trust and surrender. It's an allegory for life. We have no idea what suffering lies ahead or if it will ever abate but what we are called to do is simply trust and surrender, love and lose and let God.
“When you fast, it's far more the "real you" than when you are full.
It's the real you without the props, without the help, without the
things that help you cope day-to-day. Fasting brings out what you are
really like because it removes the very important prop from your life
and get you to see what you really are.”
Charles A. Bonadies