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    6th March 2006

    E-fasting…

    The Christian season of Lent started last Wednesday. Lent is a forty day period preceding Easter during which Christians are called to focus on spiritual discipline and preparation for their collective future as the bride of Christ ( Lent is actually 46 or 47 days long, but Sundays aren’t counted in with Lent because Sundays are to be a day of celebration for the Church).

    Of course what we all know and see about Lent is that sometimes people will give up something that they enjoy for the forty day period – like chocolate or movies. This often leads to jokes and truths about how people use Lent as motivation to go on a diet (as in the practice of fasting from deserts), or that they gave up something that wasn’t really giving up anything (like when Matt Webster and I fasted from washing our hair).

    But this year I have talked to a number of people who are giving up something that I think is quite remarkable: The Facebook. Facebook is a server for college students to create their own small websites; My Space does the same for high schoolers or out of college people. People on Facebook or My Space get “friends” by listing them on their page and then communicate with their friends by leaving messages on their friends pages. I have known people to spend hours everyday on the Facebook. My friend Kimmy has decided to spend the time that she usually spends on Facebook cultivating spiritual disciplines in prayer and scripture reading. Thats amazing. She’s not doing something that probably isn’t that great for her or anybody, and using that time to do something that will be both good for her and the people she prays for. Awesome. (For more on internet addictions – like the e-mail addiction – and giving them up, checkout this from my brother’s business blog).

    At New Life Church in Colorado Springs last summer I heard someone talk about fasting in a really helpful way. He said that when he fasts from food he gets really really hungry and really wants to eat, and he starts thinking about all the great food that he wants to eat and that he is going to eat when he’s done fasting. But as much as he wants that food, when he fasts, what he is really saying is that he wants Jesus even more. We all love food and we all get hungry, but fasting is a way to say that we love God and are hungry for the things of God more than food or movies or washing our hair or whatever it is that we give up as an act of discipline.

    What am I giving up for Lent? I’ve joked with friends that I can’t give up any foods or fast from food because I’m so skinny these days (I lost 40 pounds in the hospital and have only put 10 back on). And then I joked that between my personal devotions and Greek New Testament class I already spend about an hour and a half reading the bible every day so I don’t need to add time to this regimen during Lent. I guess I’m not “giving up” anything as much as trying to do a few things.

    This year Lent is for me about two things: The first is discipline of my mind, my thoughts. I rarely use vulgar language, but I have been pricked in my heart recently about the amount that I do use, as this is a indicator of a large amount lurking beneath the surface. I also think way to much about some things – like girls. Now I admit to having issues with lust over females in the past, but this isn’t really my problem right now. Its more that I just really want to have a companion, a best friend, or maybe its just that I don’t get enough physical contact these days and so I just want someone to hug. And so I think about whether there are any lovely ladies that I know that could, should, or would, be my lovely lady. But I’m not really interested in anyone in particular right now, and when I ask God about it, he tells me that he will satisfy my needs for companionship, whether I ever get married or not.

    Which leads me to the second area that I desire to grow this Lenten season: In the kind of faith that trusts God for provision of things like companionship, the faith that trusts that God will provide something amazing for me to do after I graduate this spring (perhaps working through the people reading this website and responding to my request for suggestions…), the faith that knows that if I bring my gifts to Jesus and am willing to do what he asks of me he himself will provide the miracle and bless people through that service, and the faith that is willing to back up what I believe in my head with actions that do not sound at all appealing to my flesh. I suppose that is what fasting can also be about – mortification – to say, That as much as we love these things of the world, we love our God even more than these things – even more than our own lives. The Church has the testimony of martyrs who have said this very thing, but could I say it? This is the question I ask myself this season as we prepare for the day when we remember that Christ Jesus said with his actions that he loves the Father and he loves each of us much more than life on earth.

    3 comments

    3 Responses to “E-fasting…”

    1. Mike says:

      You make some very interesting and good points in this last entry. I really enjoyed reading about fasting, and the Lenten season. Also about the companionship thing…mom was making things awkward for me the other day. She said something along the lines of “i always think, i still have 2 elgible boys, and those andersens have 4 girls so they should be able to hook up with one of them at least.” Anyway, miss having some other form of companionship around in the house.

    2. Daryl says:

      Hey man, you should get Toby back. He was good companionship – oh wait, except that he really only liked mom and only would come to me or you because he was lonely or cold…

    3. Kimmy says:

      Ha, you talked about me on your blog. Crazy. Anyways, I find it ironic that you used me as the example. I have been doing ok with giving up the jewelry but what you wrote about… Though I haven’t gone on facebook I seem to just have been filling my time doing other things online instead. I think to really be able to spend more time in prayer I should also set a limit to the time I spend online. Anyways, thanks for the motivation to do what I said I would.
      Peace and Love, Kimmy

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    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.