What do you rely on to get you through your day? Do you rely on earthly pleasures and distractions or your Christian faith? Are you looking for a way to draw near to God? Read through our guide to Christian Fasting to reset your mind on the things that really matter.
We all have things we rely on each day that give us a boost. Now, whether they’re good for us or bad…that’s the question. Are we doing these things consciously or without consideration?
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”Ephesians 5:8-10
As a Christian, I enjoy honoring God during each Lent Season by fasting from something that will grow my relationship with Him.
When is Lent 2021?
Lent 2021 is Wednesday, February 17th through Saturday, April 3rd. It is a 40 day period set aside to prepare your heart for Easter, focusing on Jesus’ death and resurrection and what that means for Christians.
I don’t feel obligated to do a fast, but I appreciate Lent as a time to focus my heart in a new way. Whether or not your denomination focuses on Lent, consider a private fast to give God more of you this upcoming season.
Christian Fasting Guide for Beginners
Social Media Effects
Social media is a huge influencer in our world today. This comes to mind easily as I think about fasting because it’s so easily accessible and draws us in. It’s also something new to our generation.
We don’t often plan the time spent on Facebook or Pinterest, but we get sucked in and our mind goes a million directions as we browse through whatever intrigues us.
At the beginning of last year, I found myself spending too much time on Instagram. I enjoy following friends and family, but what became a problem for me was time spent following food bloggers.
They would post videos on how to cook healthy foods and ideas with how they feed their families. They take their followers through their everyday lives so you can get to know them and all the things they do.
Healthy food prep really isn’t a bad thing for me to be interested in, but what came with it, allowing my heart to be influenced by others’ lives throughout each day, stole my time and caused me to want things that they had.
When I realized how much time I was spending watching these “good” videos, I knew this wasn’t something that honored God with my time.
Once the Lent season rolled around I decided I wanted to reevaluate this time lost, and I wanted to fast from social media completely.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained.Hebrews 12:11
Does Social Media impact your thoughts each day? How much time do you spend browsing? Does this time honor God or take your heart in another direction?
*Side note: Something that is beneficial to me, may not be to you. Or something that I feel convicted by, you may not. These are very personal things that God can put on your heart and direct you to change in your life as you seek His will.
Maybe for you it’s not social media, but maybe time wasted on something else, something taking your energy, or something controlling your thoughts.
How can you tell if you should fast from something? Do a self check!
One way to do a heart/mind check is to fast from certain things that are influencing your life or taking time away from your priorities. What do you have on your priority list each day?
For a lot of us it’s a mix of quiet time, fitness, quality time with family, and serving others. Are you able to accomplish your list of priorities?
By doing a self-check, you can decide if you’re living your life intentionally. As you pray through this, you can decide what’s truly important and if God is being honored each day of your life.
ALSO READ: Healthy Family Lifestyle– Simple tips for improving your family food and home health choices.
Spend time in prayer asking God to show you what’s taking time or energy from your mission in life. By seeking your heart for these weaknesses, then fasting for a period of time, you will grow in wisdom and faith every year!
If you do this for many years, think of how much time you will spend honoring God in new ways!
Examples of things you could give up for a time:
Social media, phone time, TV, Netflix
Do these things steal time from your day when you could be serving your husband, planning ahead for your family, spending time in prayer and focusing on Godly things?
12 hour fast, 24 hour fast, specific food fast for the Lent Season, cleanse (I’ve done Whole30’s to get me back on track)
Does your diet honor God? Do you rely on junk food, caffeine, other things to satisfy you or are you taking care of your body? Would now be a good time to fast from alcohol or something else that alters your perspective?
Clothes, Eating out, Online shopping, Amazon
Does buying satisfy a desire in your heart? Are you doing it out of necessity or because it makes you feel good? You could try a Lent fast from any extra spending to see how that makes you feel.
What I’ve Learned
Lent Season (40 days leading up to Easter) has always been a good time for me to reevaluate how I spend time during my day.
Fasting is not limited to Lent. Anytime you feel a need to take something out of your life or refocus on God, set aside time to practice fasting.
For me, it became too easy to click an app on my phone and get lost in things that took time away from what God was calling me to.
Taking time to deny yourself a specific thing allows you to heighten your awareness and rely on God.
Over the years as I’ve fasted from different things, when I miss the things I’m fasting from, I spend a moment with God.
I remind myself that He is what truly matters in my life, not the habits that I’ve built. The habits (could be mindless time spent on my phone) may be something I’ve come to rely on for relaxing or zoning out, but when I’m intentional with my thoughts, I know that these aren’t essential to my life.
I take time to reflect on what God wants with my time and focus on the ministry He’s given me.
When you fast from certain things, sometimes what’s best is to fill in something good.
Add things to your life things that bring you closer to God: prayer, meditation on His Word, being in nature, spending time serving others or talking with them about faith, playing with your kids.
This will help you as you decide what things you want to include in your life. Maybe you’ll go back to the things you’re fasting from, but if you do it on purpose and with eyes wide open, then you’re owning the way you spend your life.
I’m searching my heart now to determine what God is calling my heart to fast from over the course of the upcoming Lent Season. Does something stand out in your mind that is taking your time or creating an unhealthy habit? What can you fast from?
Even if you don’t use the traditional Lent Season, set a specific period of time to fast, reflect or journal as you decide if this is something to keep in your life or something that you could change.
God’s Word is meant to shine a light on any darkness. When we allow this light to shine on our lives, we grow closer to Him and our lives glorify Him in a greater way.
ALSO READ: Soul Care– Encouragement for moms to practice Christian self care.
I hope you enjoyed our Christian Fasting Guide. Please share your fasting experiences or ideas in the comments below!