Several weeks ago I did something I had never done before… I fasted.
Now, I had done one of those 24 hour fasts with the youth group to help them gain an idea of what it was like for hungry people around the world and we would raise money for “World Vision” or whatever… but let’s not kid ourselves, that’s not a real fast. We would drink “smoothies” throughout the night and have some fun, playing games, and then the next morning share a big breakfast together to talk about our accomplishment.
But this was real… at least for me. I decided to start with a three-day fast to gain an idea of how I might possibly work into a longer fast at some point in the future. Coupled with the fast, I wanted to spend some time reading books that had encouraged or challenged me over the years. Many of these books have been the impetus to bring me to where I am today with SCP. For me the fast meant evaluating where I was in all facets of my life, of which SCP is an important part.
Physically the fast was demanding. It was a juice and water fast only. I learned a lot about how I would approach it the next time when I do this, because I just jumped right in, not knowing that I really needed to prepare my body better for this. However, the cold-turkey (pun intended) approach certainly shocked my system. My last meal was on a Thursday at lunch, and by the next day when everyone at work was heading to Del Taco for lunch I was pretty hungry. But I kept to it, drinking my home-made juice (bought the juicer and everything) and consuming plenty of water.
By Saturday morning, I was feeling better from a hunger pain standpoint, but worse everywhere else. My body ached, I felt feverish and later I came to find out that this is normal. They say the first three days of a fast are the hardest part because it resembles the flu. The good news is by Saturday night I felt much better, lighter, and actually I felt stronger physically than I had prior to the fast…. although I was a bit tired and listless. I also slept really well while I was on the fast, something I am not able to do normally.
When Sunday morning rolled around, I was feeling really good. One of the odd effects for me was how things around me seemed to slow down. Life moved more slowly when I wasn’t eating and the little things didn’t seem to bother me as they normally do. The small stuff became just that… really, really small and unimportant.
The thing I noticed was how I had seemingly lost my cravings for solid food and in some strange way, didn’t want to end this fast. I wanted to taste food but didn’t necessarily want to eat it. It was like I just wanted to suck a burger, not consume it… it was weird. It sounds strange, but I was almost frightened to eat again and preferred the way I felt now to how I felt before. I didn’t want to go back… but I felt like I had accomplished my goals and so that afternoon, I broke my fast with some soup.
So how does this all relate? First, I would recommend a fast to anyone that hasn’t done one. It was great for me physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Just the sheer feeling of discipline and accomplishment was important to me.
Second, it put things into perspective for me. It made me see that there are some things you just need to let go in life. I let go of some things that weekend.
Third, I was determined to share with my friends at SCP what I had re-read during this time that motivated me and inspired me over the years. More importantly, I wanted to take myself out of SCP for awhile. You see, I could have written these things and regurgitated what Aeschliman or Peterson wrote, but why not read it for yourselves. No need for me to re-invent the wheel.
So when I saw the direction the comments were going… off-topic, nit-picking, back and forth trying to “be right” instead of seeking to learn more about each other and our journeys… I was pretty much done with it. To me and in my opinion the comments are the “small stuff” I can do without if they detract from the bigger picture at hand. So for me, I felt SCP needed a “comment fast”.
To me the comments on this site are what drives it. On my blog, when I write something, I want the feedback and the sharing of ideas to help me sharpen my views or opinions on things. Many times I hold back on commenting on things I have written, and I used to have a policy on never commenting on my writings… and maybe that’s what I will do again. But the comments were an important place for the SCP readers to share, dialogue and grow together in understanding and strength for their journeys. I hope it will return to a place where we stop trying to “fix” people (and this goes for all of us), but seek to understand, challenge, and even laugh with and at one another. I say laugh because at the core of SCP, we are all guilty of some pretty stupid thinking that needs to be enlightened – even if we prefer our present ignorance.
A few days away from the things we think are important can clear the mind, let us see things for what they are, help us to re-evaluate and re-focus our energies and mindsets. That’s what fasting is all about in my opinion.