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Getting Real: Fasting

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In our Getting Real sermon series, we’re looking at how spiritual practices serve as tools for heart change and authenticity before God.

To help make this more practical, each week a Woodland staff member will share about a spiritual practice that has been meaningful to them as well as tips for how you might try it out. 


Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2–2

We are such a distracted people! I recently read a book that said over 50% of what we do is habitual. We don’t even think about half of the little decisions we make. Fasting can bring a beautiful interruption to our daily life and when done with the purpose of turning and tuning into the Holy Spirit, fasting can bring powerful growth to our autopilot lives.

A year ago I noticed that it was entirely too easy to click over to YouTube and suddenly 15 -20 minutes were gone. Sometimes it was for seemingly good reasons like a Greg Boyd clip and yet other times it was to “take a break” and just watch some mental cotton candy like news reporter bloopers. I committed to not watching any YouTube videos for a month. It was hard at first, this was so habitual! I immediately became aware of how I was using this as a distraction (even the “good” stuff). I started to pause, and instead of going to YouTube I would pray a bit. It was not long elaborate intercession, but simple awareness of his presence prayers and occasional prayers for others.

Here are some ideas to help you fast:

  • Consider on the front end what am I led to fast from? Is it all food? Just meat? Just sugar? How long do I fast?
  • You may find that some activity or device may be a more meaningful fast. Here are a couple ideas:  TV (Netflix), shopping, Instagram, Facebook, the car radio. Use the time you would spend on those things to talk to God instead.
  • Whether it’s food or social media, ask the Lord to guide you in what to fast from and hopefully reduce the distraction and “static” so you can build clearer connection with God.
  • Start small and build from there. You don’t need to start with a month long fast for your first time!
  • If you do waver, learn from it and try again in the future.

Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips to share, or if you have questions!

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