Monday, July 11, 2011

This is how I approach it

It's time for my midnight snack, and I admit that I've been staring at the bag of unopened Doritos on my table for a while. That, and the chocolate cupcake that my daughter brought home for me from ward choir practice.

But I'm resisting the temptation. It's not because they are bad for me (because we all know they are). No, it's because of how I approach fasting.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints typically fast once a month (usually on the first Sunday of the month). Because of my chronic health issues, fasting is something I can't easily do. We've been counseled to be wise as it relates to fasting and health. But I've struggled with what to do. Do I push myself and fast anyway? Do I just give myself a 'pass' on this one? Do I come up with an alternative "sacrifice"?

For me, the latter made sense. So -- as silly as it may sound -- I don't do treats/snacks/sweets on Sundays. I actually begin this process every Saturday evening and continue it until Monday (which may sound arbitrary, but to me, it makes it feel more deliberate). And since weekends are often family gathering times, there *is* an element of sacrifice to it. (I enjoy joining my family for a good treat!)

More than anything, it's a conscious something to try to remind myself of the law of the fast. It may not be much, but it does help me remember this law and the principles behind it, which include developing self-control, building spiritual strength, and helping the poor. (Along with the process of fasting, we contribute fast offerings every month, which are used to help those in need.)

Do any of you Mormon folk out there have health issues? If you do, what do you do regarding the fast?


  1. I like this. I too have chronic health issues (kidney disease and subsequent transplant and issues surrounding that) and have medications I absolutely cannot miss and some really must be taken with food. I haven't had a "real" fast except when under medical supervision when needed for tests since my transplant.

    I know that as I strive to become more faithful (admittedly, had a few struggles the last few years), fasting is something I need to incorporate again. This, along with a post I read yesterday about keeping the Sabbath holy ( have given me some things to think about.

  2. Travis, thanks for your comment. Between my health issues and being a pregnant and nursing mom before that all hit, I can probably count on my two hands the number of times in the past decade+ that I've had a 'real' fast.

    Thanks for the link to Jeffrey's post. It was a good one. I've been thinking about Sabbath activities as well, so that was a timely post.

  3. I was unable to fast for a long time because of health issues. I, too, went with the 'no treats' approach for a while. Once my reasons for fasting morphed from health issues to pregnancy/nursing, I did away with that (for no good reason, I mostly just forgot about my original plan). One thing I could always do though was have something to "fast" about - for me this meant something to think and pray about during fast Sunday. So while I didn't go without food or drink, I did try to keep the purpose thing going.
    I'm going to start fasting again (health issues seem under control, and for the first time in 3+ years I'm not pregnant or nursing) and I'm a bit nervous - it will be a real physical challenge.

  4. Kristy, I'm sorry to hear you have had health issues. (I'm not sure I knew this.??)

    I appreciate your thoughts about having a purpose...I need to be more deliberate about that.

    I understand the nervousness. The few times I have fasted, I have felt that way -- vulnerable and worried.

  5. No health issues (other than an on-going thyroid issue), but I have spent most of my adult life either nursing or pregnant and I find that I can't fast while doing either except towards the last few months of nursing when the baby isn't eating as much (but usually that's when I get pregnant again!). I need to do better with being focused, but I do try to have a prayer in my heart and I try to eat lightly -- simple breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    On the other hand, I find that because of the times I can't fast, those rare months when I can become more meaningful to me and I've found clear direction to my heartfelt fasts.