Advent Day 7

Advent Day 7:  the Fast

O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
And follow thee more nearly:
For ever and ever.

–St. Richard Chichester (1197-1253)

I feel a little awkward writing about fasting, because I’ve never had success with a traditional fast (i.e., not eating.)  Every time I do it I get sick.  However, recently I found a different idea about fasting.  Some spirituality teachers (including Foster and Thompson) write about fasting from other things we consume or activities we do on a daily basis, to help make us more open to receiving God’s Word and Spirit.

Many of the college students and young adults I meet have a pretty steady diet of anxiety.  They are anxious over the future, over relationships, over personal identity, and over whether they can “perform” on the academic or social scene.  Feeding your soul with anxiety is like feeding your body with chocolate-covered coffee beans.  Sure, you’ll get a rush, but you’re depriving yourself of the nourishment you need for the long haul.

 So the practice for today is a fast from anxiety over performance.   Try to spend a day refusing to be anxious, and consider these questions during your day:

  • A person observing a more traditional fast will think about how God provides for them, even though the thing they want (food) is not available at the moment.  Use this same thought process:  how does God provide for you, even though your anxiety isn’t cured at the moment?
  • What do you really need to get you through the day?  Even the hands-on, high-energy people I described in yesterday’s post need down time.  No one is Superman, and why would you want to be?  He never gets to live a regular life.
  • What would unconditional love look like in your life?
  • What is holding you back from giving others unconditional love, instead of doling out love based on their performance?

Today’s daily Scripture reading from the PC(USA):

2 responses to this post.

  1. Great blog! I posted on hope this advent season and it this just reinforces the message i was talking about choosing hope over fear. Fasting from anxiety what a great idea.


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