I think my first attempts to fast during Lent were in college. I had known about the practice before then, but it was not a big part of my church so the idea of giving something up didn’t quite make sense. At Whitworth it was definitely part of the conversation, but female students tended to use the time as a Jesus approved diet rather than a time of sacrifice, awareness, or worship. And giving up chocolate for 40-days turned out to be a lot harder than expected. Maybe if I had prayed more for divine support.
Two years ago I sat in a Warner Pacific chapel service just before Lent, again thinking about what I could or should give up. When Stephanie shared about a community service program where participants drank only tap water for 40-days, and donated the saved funds, I immediately rejected the idea. However within a day I realized that it was a challenge I needed to try to prove that I could and to see what a real fasting experience meant.
This year I am attempting a Lenten fast again, this time from meat. Unlike my water experience two years ago, I’m not breaking fast on Sundays so it has been five days so far with no tuna, turkey, orange chicken, or turkey bacon breakfast sandwiches. Instead I’ve had more tofu this week than I had in 2013. I chose this fasting method for a few reasons. One is that I want to experience a lifestyle that I know is so prevalent in Portland. My friend Beth has been a vegetarian for years, except for the once a year burger, and Liz has often shared the virtues of being vegan (could go that far and potentially put my chai addiction in jeopardy by not drinking skim milk). Another reason is that I wanted a change that would impact decisions each day, rather than only a few minutes like giving up my snooze alarm or a television choice. Instead I remember with every planned meal that options will be a little different from normal and that I’m choosing this sacrifice to better appreciate creation. Finally, I admit that I’m curious what will happen to my taste buds and general health under this path.
My first major run with this new diet will be the Shamrock Run 15K next Sunday. It will be interesting to see if there is any different perceived energy level.
In the meanwhile, bring on the tofu!