Shelve the Fiction: A Fasting Story.

I love to read. I mean, I’m not one of those fanatical readers who polishes off a few books a week but a short stack a month is my style.

Usually I go for inspiration in the day-time (non-fiction) and entertainment at night with a steady stream of (mostly) historical fiction by my bedside. Reading is my TV and I am never without my bedside novel. In fact, the next one is always waiting in case I finish one before I get to the library.

But not this month.

Our church announced an opportunity to fast from “something” for 33 days to invite God to do something bigger in our national church and in our personal lives. An ancient practice, fasting has been a spiritual discipline for eons for people of all faiths. The idea is to set something you want aside for a period of time for something you want more. Usually it is food of some sort but can also be something else you are particularly attached to.

Like Facebook for some or YouTube or shopping. Or reading novels.

When the idea was first presented, I must admit I thought, “Didn’t we just do this for Lent?” By the next day, though, I was ready to jump in and began to scroll through the usual food give-up list. Frankly, it felt stale. If I am feeling deprived in some way, I want to engage with it, not feel same old/same old.

Brushing my teeth that evening, where many good ideas germinate, I felt a nudge to shelve the fiction for a month. This I knew was not from me.

The night before the fast began, I stayed up late trying to finish my current novel, but sleep took me down. I’ll have to wait until July 1 to find out what happened next. I put a hold on my requested list at the library and gathered up a pile of inspirational books I collected to read “at some point.” I’m on the second one now, it’s going kind of slowly.

Fasting works best when one substitutes prayer for the given-up thing. Sometimes I forget to do that. My long experience with God has taught me that he rarely works according to how I advise him to so I’m trying not to get too specific with an outcome for this fast. It has to be a no strings-attached deal. I’ll give up novels, but you don’t have to reveal all your plans.

Like celebrating at the end of Lent with a chocolate bar or a glass of wine, I’m looking forward to finding out what came next in my novel but I’m OK with waiting. I threw in a bit of the food thing too but find it is easier to do that part. Nine hours on my monthly train ride without a novel is a long ride.

I can say at nearly the halfway point…something’s going on. I hope to define it a little more in the days ahead.

Have you ever fasted from anything?

Hope for the best,

Tish

 

2 Responses to “Shelve the Fiction: A Fasting Story.”


  1. 1 Cathy Vincent June 12, 2019 at 3:36 PM

    Hope you’ll read my book. It just sounds like fiction. It isn’t. Here is what a friend said about it last night:

    Cathy, got your book yesterday; about halfway through it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this book has gone above and beyond. I could go on and on responding to each of your Godstories. I relate to so many of them – I have felt the warm presence of Holy Spirit and the hot tears of grief as I’ve read them. So many times I saw myself in what you have experienced and I felt relief knowing that you, a woman of God who had it all together in my eyes, had twists and turns in your faith journey. God is already speaking to me through the stories you have written, and a fire is beginning to burn in my spirit after too many years with barely a spark. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    NeverEnding GodStories: Our Adventures of a Lifetime https://www.amazon.com/dp/0960058702/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_PiwaDbSKSADX0

    I love your blogs. See a kindred Spirit. Hugs, Cathy


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