What happened when I fasted!

Testimony by Michelle Avelis

A few years ago, shortly after I moved from Columbus to the Seattle area, God brought many sources into my life that talked about the importance and advantages of fasting. After the 4th or 5th unrelated confirmation about fasting, I decided to try it. Since at the time I didn't know much about it, I used the rules for Ramadan and fasted for about 40 days during the day Monday-Friday, eating and drinking nothing from when I woke up until the sun set.

At first it was really difficult, especially because in Seattle the days during the summer are  long (sunrise is 5 or 6, sunset is about 9 or 10). After a few days, my body got more used to it, and it felt more like a spiritual workout- uncomfortable, but somehow like I was getting stronger.

A couple things happened when I fasted-
I realized that I had more control over my body than I thought possible. I didn't think I would be able to not eat or drink and still function, but I did. I felt different, less focused and more reactive, but that opened up opportunities.

I began to follow impulses that I normally ignored, like checking on a project at work out of the blue, or emailing someone I don't normally talk to. When I wasn't fasting, I'd ignore this "noise" but in my weaker state, I followed them up. It opened up so many opportunities and connections, and I cannot tell you how many times after following one of these nudges I heard someone say it was "Perfect timing". It was a constant theme.

I began to realize that those nudges were the Holy Spirit and I started trusting them more. The more I leaned in, the more God delivered. Now I can recognize them better, even when I'm not fasting.

It wasn't all rosy though. Temptations start coming hard and fast. There was never so much delicious, free food and snacks as when I'm fasting. So many birthday cakes and surprise catered meals I had to skip! People literally trying to give me free expensive fair trade chocolate bars. One tip I learned was to bring Tupperware to work and set aside any free treats for later when my fast was over.

It also cultivated curiosity from others. When you don't eat, people wonder why. I had to decide whether to hide it or not. For those I had a good rapport with, such as my coworkers I eat with regularly, I just told them. I said I was trying out fasting and I was surprised by people's reactions. They were inquisitive and supportive, asking about the rules and my experience, but in no way judgmental or critical. That also helped with temptation- they knew not to offer me treats for a while!

I didn't realize it, but fasting is actually a growing trend in the secular world for health. There's a lot of research coming out about how it might jump start rejuvenation of cells and improve health. To make it easier between my husband and I, I only fasted during the week since I was at work, and ate normally on the weekends when we'd be eating together. This helped make it sustainable for the full amount of time.

Since then, my church also started preaching about fasting. My pastor challenged the church to fast with him every Thursday. I think that was last year and I've been doing that most Thursdays since then.

I believe that fasting has amplified my sensitivity of the Spirit, and has made my times of praying in the Spirit more fruitful. Since fasting, I've had exponential growth and abundance, gaining more confidence both in my spiritual life and my professional life.

If you are interested in learning more about what the bible says about fasting and it's benefits, there are a couple of comprehensive sermons in the Agathos 'Featured Messages' archive in the discipleship toolkit. 
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