A few weeks ago, I, along with many other people, started observing Lent. In the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday (which marks the beginning of Lent,) I had felt an impulse to fast. I was wrestling with decisions, doubts, questions, and I needed answers and resolution. And so on Ash Wednesday I stopped eating meat. (Well, actually the day after, because I forgot to tell my friends who had invited me over for dinner that I was all of a sudden going meatless) :). I'd been hoping for answers and clarity, but I'm finding that I'm getting something much different, and yet far greater in return.
Not eating meat might not even qualify for some as a fast -- but for me, sitting down at each meal, I am reminded of this choice to abstain, and I am reminded of why I'm doing it. And so at least three times a day, I am made more aware of God and His presence.
Secondly, it's forced me to cook much more. Meatless-yet-full-of-protein dishes are harder to find in fast-food or frozen-food. And so for the last three weeks, I've prepared nearly every meal I've eaten. And this has shifted something in me, too. It's slowed me down, it's stretched and expanded my creativity. It's reminded me every day of the marvel that God has made -- humans, with bone and flesh, bodies to be nourished. And he has endowed the earth with the very things we need to sustain us. It's miraculous, and amazing.
And perhaps most importantly, I'm finding that fasting is creating space -- for me to see, hear, feel God more clearly -- and space for me to see myself more clearly. There is a void, a lack, that exists when fasting. And while the space is at times uncomfortable, I am more aware and more attuned to what God is doing in my life and world. I don't have answers, but I have Presence. In that space, I'm also made more aware of who I really am, and what God calls me. It's when I'm alone -- away from people, and away from noise, that I am able to wrestle with questions and worries and fears and history, and I see a little more clearly who I really am.
So this is why I'm fasting. To slow down, to create space and begin to see God for who He really is, and see who I really am. I'm ok with not having answers to my questions. I just want to see.