3 Different Fasts to Consider for Lent This Year

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Feb 09, 2021
3 Different Fasts to Consider for Lent This Year

As a young adult, I try to analyze my life from time to time, weighing the pros and cons of where I want to be versus where I presently reside. Exploring Master's programs, looking at job options, and dreaming about my wedding I pray to have someday are just a few of the thoughts in this tumbled brain. Within this arrangement of studies, many friends have asked me questions like, "Why am I still single," "How do I stay in shape," "How do I grow closer to God," and "What's the best way to stop worrying?”

While I do not know the concrete answer to each of these questions, one practice that has helped my resolution is fasting, just not in the way you might think! In high school, I started fasting from things like sugar or decadent treats, but as I've grown and matured in my faith, I've learned that fasting is less about food and more about the purpose behind our itemization.

From Wednesday, February 17th, 2021, to Saturday, April 3rd, 2021, religious seekers worldwide participate in 40 days of Lent to prepare their hearts for Easter, and to commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. However, what was traditionally celebrated as a time from fasting from food or drink has now developed into a more profound communion time for many.

How are you planning to fast this year for Lent? I would suggest three different fasts to consider as you prepare your heart, mind, and soul for service to Lord.

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1. Social Media

1. Social Media

Over the summer, I visited the beautiful Smoky Mountains in all their splendor. From getting chased by a grizzly bear to holding hands with my boyfriend as we stood in awe of God's creation, I was in wonder of this world. But as I looked around me, I was startled by the number of people glued to their phones, filming the scenes like production crews, and heads down in search of the perfect #snapchat filter. And before I knew it, even my boyfriend and I were guilty of the crime I'd convicted others.

This Lenten season, might I encourage you to fast from social media to feast on that One who deserves your undivided attention? Even outside of Lent, I have committed to staying off my phone when I am around others, and doesn't God deserve the same attention?

While social media is not bad, I believe that we will learn to value the people beside us rather than across a screen by living for a period without it. Although COVID-19 has made in-person sessions difficult, even merely focusing on that person's Zoom conversation and not your tabs, messages, and Pinterest feed while talking to them can make all the difference.

During this year’s Lent, be amazed at how much time you have to not only focus on your Creator, but on those He's lovingly placed around you.

In Ephesians 5:16 and 1 Corinthians 10:23, the ESV puts it this way: "Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil," "All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful," but not all things build up.”

Make the best use of your time, and make sure that the investments you're pouring into are lawful practices working towards eternal rewards.

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woman looking worried and sad sitting with a cup of coffee

2. Control and Worry

Unlike social media, control and worry are two sides of the same coin that I struggle with today. Overwhelming our minds to the point of exhaustion, what better way to grow in your faith than to ask God to help you fast from control and worry over the next 40 days?

As someone who has struggled with power and anxiety from an early age, I understand that these concepts are not as physical and handheld to give up as, say, food or an activity. In fact, I would honestly say that they are difficult elements to give up because, like Christ in us, they are intangible, sitting in our hearts. But while Christ resides in peace, worry and control rob us of freedom.

Through Christ, you can work on giving up worry and control. The process will not happen overnight, but the growth Christ can propel in you through dedication, heart, and service to Him will be far more worth the struggle and fight.

In John 14:26 of the ESV, Scripture reminds us that all things are possible with Christ. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

"Cast all of your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

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3. Noise and Distractions

3. Noise and Distractions

Finally, if you're looking for an extra-challenging fast to consider this Lenten season, consider making room in your schedule for quiet.

While it may sound contradictory to the noise and distractions of this world, fasting from such things will enable you to hear the Lord more clearly and deepen your relationship with Him.

Romans 12:2 of the ESV tells us to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Everywhere you look, people are busy. Running and rushing around to the latest event, commitment, yoga class, or trip, society is numb to the concept that involvement does not equal happiness, nor does Christian preoccupation equal a relationship with God.

In college, I was the queen of schedules and responsibility. With a color-coded calendar of at least 10 shades of the rainbow, I lived this way for five years and didn't mind it. Since graduating college, however, it has not been until entering young adulthood that I realized what free time, space, and less busyness could do for my relationship with God.

While I understand that seasons of busyness will exist, and having a schedule is not wrong, I want to encourage you today to seek the Lord while He may be found, even if it's merely in the quietness of your drive to work or five minutes spent in prayer on the floor.

If we expect God to speak to us, we have to be willing to listen and to hear, we have to be accustomed to the silence.

Let Psalm 46:10 and 62:5 be our prayers today:

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him."

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amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at amberginter.com.

Originally published Tuesday, 09 February 2021.