The holy month of Ramadan for Muslims came to an end last week. One of the most interesting news orgs I follow, AJ+, profiled a woman who participated in Fasting for the First Time, even though she is not a Muslim, but wanted to understand the majority of the population where she currently resides, and just spend time with her friends.
This video really resonated with me because I had a similar experience during college. At my small, liberal arts Nebraska college, there was…one Muslim. But she was devout – and bold. She invited anyone on campus to join her – not in practicing Islam, but in fasting. And I was all in.
I remember the first day. No food from sun up to sun down. She allowed us water (which is cheating, but she knew we were weak), but no food til about 7:30/8pm. And I was hungry. Desperately hungry. By 10am. I think you can see where this is going…So I started praying. And focusing on anything but my stomach. And when we got to dinner that night, I felt almost too unwell to eat. Obviously Muslims have figured this out and “break fast” with dates. I was nervous because I had never had a date (seriously, the new experiences my freshman year of college are really astounding) – and I loved them. I don’t know if I actually loved them, or if I was so hungry that even mud would have tasted good. (Ok, that’s a little extreme. But you get the point.) I should really try them again…
At any rate, the eating began. And oh sweet relief. Then: I made a plan for the next day. I set my alarm for 5am and woke up to eat three granola bars. It’s called preparation. And it’s probably cheating. But I never asked.
I started my morning better because I wasn’t totally on empty. But by lunch I was starving. So, again, I started praying. It was the the only thing that could keep my focus away from the hunger. And it was the only thing that helped me through the rest of the week. Seriously. It is wild how much prayer refocused my mind to not think about hunger. And as a result of all the extra praying for fasting (for 5 whole days y’all!), I grew in my relationship with the Lord.
While being reminded of this experience and sharing it with my Bible study group, someone brought this insightful tidbit to the conversation: Whatever you think of first when you wake up in the morning and last before you fall asleep at night represents who your God is. Well, isn’t that just tweet-able. Because it’s so dang true.
Which prompted me to consider: what do I think of first and last? …The List. It’s always on my mind (hello! I’m a Martha, people! See the About page for more details). And is obviously a cause of stress (I’m no joke writing this in the chiropractic office right now because my shoulders are in such pain). So this week I’ve been trying to focus on God right away in the morning and at night. Trying to let him refocus me. Trying. I’m not gonna lie; it’s going pretty poorly. I just can’t stop thinking about all the things I need to do. But at least I’m trying. And I’ll always have the memory of the time Islam helped me in my Christian journey.
What do you think of first and last in your day? How does it reflect your priorities? What do you want to think of instead?