What to do when you mess up on your fast?
Help, I’ve fallen off my fast!
Do you find fasting to be a challenging commitment? I most definitely have. Our church facilitates an annual 40-day church-wide fast. I’m usually excited to get started. I’ve learned fasting is an external expression of communicating with God when we need more of Him. It is an opportunity to become spiritually stronger. During these moments, we crave Godly intimacy and willingly refuse natural comforts for more of His spirit.
Fasting has taught me that I’m a good starter and good finisher — it’s the middle I struggle with. It seems somewhere around day ten, I dream about cake. One year, one of my friends was celebrating her birthday at work. Well, how could I be rude and refuse to have a sweet slice of cake? Besides, who’s looking, right? God understands. These were my justifications and a dream come true. I was dreaming about cake. Well, just as I was enjoying that slice, another friend and member of my church entered the office and saw me. She was shocked, and so was I. I got caught, cake in hand!
The truth is, I messed up. There’s no denying that. Failing is no reason to give up. I had to go back to the heart of why I was fasting. I needed more of God. Just like in any situation where I’ve fallen short of His glory, I needed to ask His forgiveness and remember my personal relationship with Him was and is worth it.
Here are some things I’ve found helpful during an extended fast.
1) First things first…I begin my day with prayer and Bible reading. Our pastor leads us in a prayer call at 6:33 am Monday – Saturday. This sets the direction for my day.
2) Having accountability partners. I wonder if my friend had not found me eating cake if I would have continued justifying loopholes. Now my co-workers and lunch partners know when I’m fasting. Even when they are not fasting, they know my limits and are careful to remind me.
3) If you work from home and do not have accountability partners, modern-day technology works as a great reminder. Setting reminder alerts with encouraging Bible verses in my phone or an assistant app are great tools and help me regain my focus.
We must remember fasting is about intimacy — growing closer and stronger in our Father. It’s about turning the volume down on daily distractions. Therefore, food should not be the only item we limit as we seek Him. Just as we build muscle in the natural, by way of physical resistance, the same principle applies in the spiritual. Strive not to lose your focus; however, if you do, remember His grace is sufficient for you.