Friday, August 11, 2006

Three great benefits from my fast

There are three things that I think are the most obvious lessons/benfits from my fast these last couple of weeks:

1) An increase in discipline. Believe me, being somewhat of a glutton, it took immense discipline at times not to eat. Not to just take a quick bite of something while I was cooking, or something like that. I think this is actually one of the main reasons for the fast... I'll comment on that in the next post (which will, of course, be above this one). The discipline of not-eating translates into other areas. I was more disciplined in my work, in my spiritual habits, in pretty much everything. I am not a naturally disciplined person. This fast has been a sort of "reset" button for me.

2) An increase in thankfulness. There were times during my fast when I saw food that I dislike and I would think to myself, "Boy, I'd be glad to have a bite of that right now." For a while, it will be easy to be thankful for every bite of food I eat. I won't take it for granted. This increase in thankfulness has been a good lesson in how ungrateful I am, and how mechanical the "thanks" before a meal can be. It spills over beyond food, too. I am so blessed to have a home and a healthy family, while Lebanese refugees are being shunted from Syrian schools and public buildings and into tent cities right now.

3) An increased awareness of the poor. When I'm not eating I think more often of the people around the world who are not eating, and not by choice. This goes back to #2, the increase in thankfulness. It convicts me about things like saying, "I'm starving," which I know is a figure of speech, but, you know, there really are people starving out there (the actual physical process of starving for a healthy human being begins somewhere between day 30 and day 40 without food... not at minute 30 past my lunch time).

There are others, of course, but those are the major themes of my fast.

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