Fasting is considered to be an important discipline in many religions, featuring prominently in the teachings of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism.  As a Christian, it’s not something that I’ve done a lot, although I have fasted for a day at a time on a couple of occasions.

A few weeks ago, my church announced that they were encouraging people to fast for three whole days.  A few options were given.  People could choose to fast from television (pfft), social media (heresy), chocolate or something else considered to be a luxury.

However, I felt that it was important that I go the whole hog and fast from eating anything for three days, limiting myself to water for the entire period.

I knew that it would be a challenge, but I also felt that it was important that I push myself to do something that wasn’t easy and would be uncomfortable.

It was a unique experience and here are five things that I learned from my three days of fasting:

I’m very fortunate – One of the realisations that I had throughout this period is that for hundreds of millions of people around the world, going three days without food is an all too common experience and is one that they don’t choose for themselves.  I am truly blessed.

The mind is a very powerful tool – Whilst the prospect of going three days without food was intimidating, it honestly wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be.  I still joined the family at meal times and the salivary glands were cranking up a few times, but I was able to make it through the three days without breaking the fast.  Sometimes, we look at a challenge and talk ourselves out of it before we start, but remember that your mind is strong enough to achieve whatever you believe can happen.

My head hurt more than my stomach did – I was preparing myself for some serious hunger pangs over the three days, but I didn’t feel any pain in my stomach at all.  However, the headaches were brutal, especially on the second day.  Some of this may have been due to sugar withdrawal, but whatever it was, it wasn’t pleasant.

My body benefited – In addition to cleaning my body out by just drinking water for three days, I lost almost 3 kilograms.  I wasn’t fasting to lose weight, and wouldn’t recommend that you do either, but it was a positive side effect.

Don’t break a fast with KFC – Take my word for it.  Just don’t!

During the three days of fasting, I had a few key points that I was praying for.  In no particular order, I spent some time with God talking about my health, my business, my marriage, my character, my kids and my future.  There were no light-bulb revelations or epiphanies and that’s OK.

One thing that I have known for a long time is that God isn’t an all powerful vending machine who dispenses blessings if I follow the rules and behave the right way.

He is a loving, good and just God who wants the best for us and my fasting wasn’t to get something from Him as much as it was to express my appreciation for His grace and love.

If you’ve never fasted before, I would highly recommend it.

If you have fasted in the past, what did you learn from the experience?

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