Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Spirit Hungered. My Tummy Growled.

Fast Sunday is coming up soon. I always initially have a hard time with the first Sunday of the month.  The night before I lay in bed thinking that when I wake up in the morning I am going to skip my favorite part of the day. Then my second favorite part of the day. Eating brings me joy. It's in my Top 5. (Gospel, Family, Food, Laughing, Learning).

Fasting is one of those things that I have done because I've been taught by good, faithful parents to do so.  I did it to be obedient, not because I had a testimony of it. In my mind it strikes me as being backwards. Going without food brings more spirituality than with? The results of my fasting is usually hunger, headaches, and grouchiness. NOT exactly a spiritual experience.

A couple years ago I decided to fast about fasting. After praying I reached over and picked up my scriptures, randomly opening up to a page. (I know you always hear these stories. Look! It really happens! To normal people :) ) I opened up to 3rd Nephi 12:6: "And blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost."

I have always taken this passage of scripture to be symbolic. Reading it then I took it literally as well. As I said, I fasted because I wanted to be obedient. I went hungry and I didn't submit to my tummy growlings to be righteous. As a trial of my faith. I didn't know why but I did it anyway. I know the Lord recognizes my desire to be faithful. Similar to when Adam answered the Angel's inquiries as to why he performed sacrifice. "I know not, save the Lord commanded me" (Moses 5:30).
This gospel is a gospel of mastering the natural man. Every prophet, apostle, and disciple of Christ teach about loving others, forgiving them as well as ourselves, and giving the benefit of the doubt. One of my all time favorite scriptures is found in the epistle of John, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world". {You're probably thinking that I've taken one of my frequented vacations in tangent-ville. No worries. It will all connect. It's the gospel. It ALL connects! ;) }

He's talking to us, isn't he? Yes! Because WE are divine. We are also of this world. Our divine spirit is enclosed in our mortal, natural man bodies. We are taught in this scripture we can and we WILL overcome our carnal appetites. We fast to prove to ourselves that we ARE stronger than our natural man. (To a point, I wouldn't attempt it beyond a couple days unless I absolutely had too. 2 meals or 24 hours is good enough for this girl.)

Our carnal appetites don't just end with food. There's a long list. By this simple once a month demonstration I prove to mostly myself (because God already knows what I'm capable of and it doesn't matter what other people think) my ability to master myself. My ability with His help, to come off conquerer! President Uchtdorf said, "We must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord's way".

Through this simple act of faith and small sacrifice, I demonstrate to Heavenly Father my willingness to obey and to put my natural man desires on hold. To show him I have faith in his way and his knowledge, not just mine. And then... he blesses me! Through something so simple.

When we fast,  we are starving the natural man in each of us to feed our spirits. Because we have the power to shun evil and feast upon righteousness.

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