My mother has always been a tremendous promoter of temperance. She raised her children to maintain self-control in all aspects of their lives. She taught that too much of anything is typically never healthy. Especially regarding our diets, we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted, in moderation. As an adult, I have learned that fasting is a great way to put my mother’s temperance teachings into practice. I’m not necessarily talking about food fasts although evidence shows that’s beneficial, as well. In this post, I’m focused on depriving ourselves of legitimate pleasures, activities or items for a predetermined amount of time, in order to improve self-control. We can also use such practices to strengthen our spiritual lives.
What Fasting from Non-food Items Looks Like
What do you have or do in life that you particularly enjoy or perhaps, feel quite attached to? For instance, maybe one of your favorite things to do is curl up in bed with a good book and cup of tea. Fasting from non-food items ::shrugs because she understands tea is kind-of a food:: means you commit yourself to doing without that item or activity for a certain amount of time. Whether you give it up for one week or an entire month or more isn’t as significant as keeping the fast, once you decide to do it.
What Other Things Can You Give Up While Fasting?
One of the greatest fasting experiences I’ve had involved going six weeks without using any cosmetics or nail polish. I’m not an overly blingy type girl but I might be just a tad bit vain. I like my hair to look nice and usually don’t venture out in public without a dab of blush, eyeliner and mascara. I also love to wear nail polish. Six weeks without these simple pleasures in my life was quite a humbling, challenging and fruitful experience. You can fast from electronics, social media, movie-watching, music (This is a tough one!) or anything you especially enjoy or feel attached to in life.
How Fasting from Pleasures Improves Your Health
You’re not going to drop 20 pounds from fasting from your cell phone or from shopping online, etc., but you can still improve your mental, physical and spiritual health. Addictions are rampant in our modern society. They’re often covert, as well. I didn’t realize how much I loved wearing nail polish or using small amounts of make-up until I denied myself the pleasure. Setting small goals and accomplishing them is like going to a gym for your mind. You’re better able to overcome other life-challenges when you’re experienced in self-denial. A healthy mind promotes a healthy physical body because the two are closely related. Many people offer their fasting as a form of penance or thanksgiving to God, which also strengthens the spirit.
Fasting Sometimes Leads to Scruples
Any time you set out to improve your mind, body or spirit, the enemy will rear its ugly head to attempt to defeat you. You need to prepare yourself for battle. If you plan to fast, your enemy will be digging pits and hoping you fall in. If you fail, for instance, you’ll be tempted to quit instead of rising above the minor setback and forging ahead toward your goal. You may also start to question whether what you’re doing has any value. The enemy often uses this trick to make people think life has no meaning or purpose. As long as you’re aware of the potential struggles, you’ll be able to conquer them and keep moving toward success.
Fasting is Voluntary, which Adds to Its Benefit
There are no rules or requirements regarding private fasting from non-food items to improve your mental, physical and spiritual health. You can customize your experience to fit your own needs and ultimate goals. You can also ask a loved one or friend to join you in a fast because you can hold each other accountable. Many Christians are currently preparing to celebrate the season of Lent. The three main components of the Lenten season are prayer, alms-giving and fasting. If you feel a need or desire to cleanse and purge, this might be the perfect opportunity for you!