Approaching fasting from food for me comes with a bit of anxiety. I live with a chronic autoimmune disease where food plays a large role in my life. That disease is type 1 diabetes (T1D) and managing T1D is a skilled balance of giving just the right dose of insulin, eating the right foods, exercising, and knowing how my body responds to environmental or emotional stressors.
As you might imagine, exploring the idea of refraining from food is something I must be extra thoughtful of and attentive to. It’s not only a one-day event, but a multi-day event to prepare my body and lower my insulin doses to support my health and keep me safe. If my blood sugar goes too high, it could lead to adverse outcomes including coma and hospitalization. If my blood sugar goes too low, adverse outcomes could be incredibly detrimental or even fatal.
So how do I go about fasting with T1D? How do I keep my body safe while I remove consuming selfish, worldly desires and letting more of the Holy Spirit in? How do I decide what the boundaries are for me while I fast?
Thankfully, there are options and many different types of fasts. Some may do a water fast. Where they only consume water for 24 hours. This is the most stringent fast. While others may only fast from meat for 24 hours. Such as those with chronic health conditions or pregnant and nursing mothers. Or, it may mean only consuming two small meals during the 24 hours or setting aside a 6 hour window where you don’t consume anything.
For me, my goal is to experience my reliance on God as much as possible during this fast, while staying safe. I can’t fully hear and feel the Holy Spirit if my blood sugar is too high or too low. My plan is to restrict my consumption to only water and predetermined carb-free, protein and veggie-based small snacks. I will do this three times a day during the 24-hour window with emergency snacks for low blood sugar. This plan provides the foundation I need to keep a steady and safe blood sugar while removing my opportunity to give into cravings, desires, gluttony, and spontaneity. It still requires obedience and dependency on God to give me the strength and clarity I need for the day, while offering safe boundaries for my specific circumstance.
God has a purpose for my T1D diagnosis. I know just because I live with this chronic condition doesn’t mean I have to sit on the sidelines. With thoughtful planning, I can fully experience what fasting from food has to offer spiritually.
As you enter your fast this week, I encourage you to think about your body as a holy vessel for performing God’s purpose. What we put in often impacts what comes out. What and how we eat impacts our ability to honor God and bring glory to His name. God provides food as a source of fuel, so that our body is physically strong to live the purpose He has called us to. Denying our bodies by fasting helps us to glorify God in our everyday lives while uncovering his goodness and provision.
John 4:34 (NLT) My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.