Fasting. I am terrible at it. I have a hard time with self-control. I start out great. Committed and ready to stay strong. Ultimately, I slowly talk myself into whatever I was trying to stay away from. I justify my reason for quitting in various ways to make myself feel better. In all honesty, that usually works. I talk the guilt out of my mind and move on.
Take this Lent for example. My family and I had high hopes of committing to a daily devotional as well as a family Lenten calendar. We planned to make time every night to read, study and experience Lent together. This went great. For a short time. The second day of Lent about did me in. Our Lent calendar said "no screens." No TV, no video games, no iPad, no computers...unless for school or work. I am sure you are thinking, her kids must have really had a problem giving those things up. Well, I am here to tell you that it wasn't them. It was me. Bella was drowning in homework that night so she had no time for screens. Nash was giddy at the challenge. It was even the day of the NBA trade deadline and both he and Scott stayed away from ESPN. Pretty impressive.
If you know me, you know that TV is the soundtrack to my life. It is the background noise to my every activity. It is my bedtime story. Giving it up was horrible. I whined a lot. By 8:00 p.m., I begged my family to give in. I couldn't take it anymore.
I felt like a failure. Second day of Lent, and I quit.
Now I have to justify it in my head. Make it seem less like I quit and more like the calendar was a stupid idea in the first place. Real mature, Karen. So I did, but I tried to still fast from something that was harming my time with God.
I gave up social media. Seems simple, but I actually sat down and thought of the good and bad that come from my obsessive checking of Facebook and the like. It is almost habit for me to click the app on my phone and mindlessly scroll. Most of what I saw were articles on what kind of mom I should be, depressing news stories, pictures of events that I was sad I was not invited to (even though I have no right to be invited), updates from vacations I wish I could be taking and stuff people had that I wished I could afford. Most of what I scroll through was creating unnecessary suffering. My inner peace was shook every time I clicked that little blue box with the 'f" on it. I was more frustrated, anxious and jealous.
I deleted it. I went on once every couple of days to check messages. I thought it might kill me. I thought I might miss something super important. I thought I might be left out of the social circle.
Quite the opposite happened. More people contacted me through other, more personal ways. By deleting that app, I deleted a lot of worry and stress. I gained some of that inner peace back.
I may be a failure at following other fasting instructions, but I was pretty successful at finding a way to rid myself of something that took me away from Jesus and his teachings. He told us not to worry, not to want what other have, not to judge. This small deletion allowed me to remove some of that in my life and I don't plan on re-installing it back on my phone.
Some may still consider me a fasting failure, which may be true. I have many excuses to throw at you in my defense, but I feel great about what I did fast from and what I gained with God.