Upon this point, the only fasting I knew was starving myself to drop weight to fit the mold of what I was "supposed" to be. I gave up stereotypes when I was in my late teens and overcame an eating disorder that controlled most of my life. I developed unhealthy coping mechanisms in my early teens that flourished on and off. To cope with my own anxiety and pressure to appear perfect; my first addictive behavior manifested through my control of food. To be honest, I am most ashamed of my eating disorders at a young age than any drug or alcohol I had ever abused.
It was not my intention to share this----I feel prompt to.
I was nineteen years old when I cried out to God. I did not want to harm my body anymore. I had been chained to bulimia for three years throughout my high school years.
"Bulimia is a condition where people binge and purge food to cope with emotional distress or body image issues."
The eating disorder anorexia begun at the young age of fourteen. I will never forget my mama had bought a beautiful blue dress size 2 from a previous beauty queen. I had a very hard time zipping it up. It was suggested for me to lose weight. My body had changed a lot from the previous year. I had become a "woman". I did not look like a little dork anymore with braces and big, round glasses. My braces came off, and I wore contacts. I was a very shy, introverted, sweet girl who was friendly with everyone and was part of the popular group without trying.
I started decreasing my food intake. By the time the pageant occurred, I had lost a couple of inches. While I was "dieting" I obsessed trying on the dress to see how it fit and the weight I had lost. I did not trust the scale; the dress was confirmation. Instant satisfaction. I reached my goal and sadly, it felt like an accomplishment. I crowned; I had won the year before. I did not stop. I kept on with my anorexia until my mama and others became concerned. When I saw a picture of me crowning another pageant with my pale face, sad eyes, and bony arms; I stopped. I did not feel pretty anymore. And I appeared sick. I was sick. I was mentally ill-using food as a way to deal with my emotional distress.
The next couple of years I was healthy! I had my first kiss (I was a late bloomer) with a guy named Brett who became my first love (the young, dumb love)! I started to model. As a child I wanted to become a missionary. As I grew older, I wanted to become a model and actress. I pursued my dream. My mama supported my dreams and aspirations. I attended classes and walked the runway. It was fun!
Around the age of seventeen, I developed bulimia. Fast forward to the night I cried out to God...I had been trying to stop on my own. I hated myself. I was addicted to the dopamine release I received when I vomited food. I know, it is disgusting. Whenever I felt anxious, sad, or depressed I would binge eat and purge. For me, it was more of a mental purge of all my stress, or anxiety I had with the ongoing changes in my life. It was a safety mechanism I developed when I did not feel well from outside problems. I had become so sick of myself and the chaos that surrounded me.
One evening of earnestly seeking out refuge in Jesus Christ-I was delivered. I was so ashamed. My pride would not allow me to reach out for professional help or from family. I had been praying for a while for God to help me; Because anytime I felt distress, I found myself emotionally binging and purging. I released my will to God. From that day forward...I have NOT suffered from an eating disorder.
I had a lot of stomach complications thereafter. My body had not digested food correctly for a while. My stomach would bloat like I was six months pregnant. And it did not help I had IBS issues and did not have regular bowel movements since I was a child. It is by the grace of God I overcame it. My schedule and whole life revolved around food and how I could purge of it secretly. I may have been free from the sin, but I was not free from the consequence of my sin against my own body. It was a very dark time in my life. I gained weight, stay bloated, with no conscious of what it felt to be 'satisfied' with food. I was in college, my grades started to fall as I navigated through all the changes alone and depressed. Of course, I voiced the discomfort of my stomach issues to my mama. My mama drove me to different doctors where their conclusion was IBS. She did not understand why I had gained weight "overnight." I was miserable. I never voiced the reason for my complications was because of my past eating disorder. I lived in fear of my family and friends finding out. My self-esteem was at an all-time low. As I let go of one addiction, I unconsciously was developing another with alcohol.
(I buried my past eating disorders deep into my subconscious mind. I do not recall ever mentioning my struggle with it in a counseling session. WOW.)
Back to my original topic...FASTING in the bible and what does it actually mean?
I believe fasting brings forth miracles, deliverance, healing, and closeness with our God. It captivates God. Our total reliance on the one who gave us breath in our lungs to praise his name. It is a gift. Obedience, sacrifice, and a time sought out where the world fades away with its distractions and our focus is on our heavenly father.
In her blog, Amanda Edmondson writes, "Biblically, fasting is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament it was often a way of expressing grief or a means of humbling one's self before the Lord. In Psalm 35:13, David humbled himself with fasting. In the New Testament it was a means to grow closer to God through mediating and focusing on Him. In Matthew 4:1-2, Jesus went to the wilderness to fast for 40 days. In Matthew 6:16-18 we learn that we aren’t to look somber while fasting so that it’s not obvious to others when we are fasting. Throughout the New Testament fasting and prayer are often mentioned together. In Acts 13:3, ‘they had fasted and prayed.’ In Luke 2:37 a widow worshiped day and night fasting and praying."
Following the example of Jesus and the Early Church believers, we, too will draw near to God while fasting. The first day of my fast I was fine. The second day, I began to have hunger pains. The third and fourth day, I remained disciplined. The fifth day, I had mad cravings for the unhealthy, serotonin boost kind of food! I worked at the Foundry's thrift store standing, tagging clothes for six hours a day. I did not complain. I drank coconut water, chicken broth and tomato juice, sprite when I felt nauseous, and body armor when I felt weak. I was dedicated. Most girls did not understand why I was fasting with such intensity. I am a firm believer; I am living the life I am living TODAY because of my obedience and sacrifice.
The next few days, God willed events in such a timely manner for my miracle...