I like to think of myself as a full-time, faithful, fully-active Latter Day Saint.
This recent Fast Sunday made me think a bit different.
I realized just how many corners I cut fasting for starters. Not that I want to be a Pharisee, but it is those things where you notice you start justifying yourself, or where your thoughts really are on such a topic as fasting.
When you start looking at the clock wondering "how much longer do I really have to do this?"
"Will it really matter if I stop doing this right now?"
"God isn't going to really bless me for going hungry while I pray.....will he?"
"Has it really only been two minutes....?"
"What's an hour anyways....?"
You begin to question your faithfulness and spiritual depth and begin to wonder "Do I always do this, or is this just a today-thing where I'm not really with it?"
I can't say we've all thought these things, but I do know that this time I noticed them.
At any rate, strangely, something came out of my fast that was totally unexpected and that was a bit of knowledge and reflection of myself. I began to see through this course of thinking where I was the source of - or catalyst to - many of my own problems.
Suddenly, an exercise that seemed one of futility became one of fruitful faith that enlightened me and gave me power that I didn't have before - because I could see things I hadn't before.
I really came away from the fast having my prayers answered in a way that I hadn't expected.
And at the same time, had I just been engaged in hollow ritual with rote prayer - I don't know that I would have been blessed. I was given the free-agency to experience this commandment and choose, and by my choices and even thoughts, I came to see where I have erred and have been weak.
My weaknesses shall become strengths. And we are given weakness that we may learn to be humble...
So for the law of the fast, I say "Thank you Heavenly Father" for this commandment that gave me strength, insight and vision to help me conquer my life's challenges and weaknesses.