Practicing Lent: Food and Fasts

From sacrificing comforts and eliminating distractions to conserving resources to help others in need, fasting can be an effective way to draw close to the heart of God during Lent. We asked Imago Dei staff and community members to share their fasting experiences with words and pictures.

Got your own story about practicing Lent through fasting? Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #idclentstories or send it to adarling@idcpdx.com.

We've been doing Beans and Rice for a few years now: eating just beans and rice for dinner and taking the money we save on groceries to Lahash, which helps kids in East Africa get access to sustainable food programs. Every year looks a little different, but each one involves some amount of sacrificing what we love to eat and gathering around our table in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in East Africa. It reveals to me how much food impacts my soul. My heart is so quick to grumble over eating simply for the sake of nourishment, rather than for pleasure. It just gets boring, but in the midst of that, I have more space for relationships. Instead of spending an hour making dinner, I can play with my kids or chat with my neighbors. Jesus is generous to use something SO SIMPLE as dinner to allow me to grow in humility, relationship, and justice. - Rachel Wilson

We've been doing Beans and Rice for a few years now: eating just beans and rice for dinner and taking the money we save on groceries to Lahash, which helps kids in East Africa get access to sustainable food programs. Every year looks a little different, but each one involves some amount of sacrificing what we love to eat and gathering around our table in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in East Africa. It reveals to me how much food impacts my soul. My heart is so quick to grumble over eating simply for the sake of nourishment, rather than for pleasure. It just gets boring, but in the midst of that, I have more space for relationships. Instead of spending an hour making dinner, I can play with my kids or chat with my neighbors. Jesus is generous to use something SO SIMPLE as dinner to allow me to grow in humility, relationship, and justice. - Rachel Wilson

One of my favorite parts of practicing Lent is the "taking a break" part. It helps my heart celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I'm a huge believer in experiential learning, and as I experience all the flavors and comfort of the food I love most, it grows my anticipation for Jesus. His Kingdom is so much greater than the difference between eating for survival and eating for comfort, but His generous love allows me to "taste and see" a bit of how good His coming was, is and will be. The feast at His table will be AMAZING! Everyone will have enough, and I believe it will be the best meal we will ever experience. - Rachel Wilson

One of my favorite parts of practicing Lent is the "taking a break" part. It helps my heart celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I'm a huge believer in experiential learning, and as I experience all the flavors and comfort of the food I love most, it grows my anticipation for Jesus. His Kingdom is so much greater than the difference between eating for survival and eating for comfort, but His generous love allows me to "taste and see" a bit of how good His coming was, is and will be. The feast at His table will be AMAZING! Everyone will have enough, and I believe it will be the best meal we will ever experience. - Rachel Wilson

“What would you surrender to receive the grace of being made dust? From dust you came, to dust you will return, turn from your sin and be faithful to Christ.” These words echoed in my mind and I thought, I need to let go of numbing. For me, numbing takes the form of scrolling on my phone through social media - anything to avoid actually thinking about what my heart feels, wants or needs. This disconnection keeps me from paying attention to Christ’s love. During Lent, my hope is that when I want to pick up my phone and not feel, I’ll use that as my signpost to talk to God and find out what I’m avoiding. Is it sadness, exhaustion, loneliness, disappointment? I’m finding the grace of sitting in silence with God, soaking up His presence, breathing deep and accepting that I am loved. I’m receiving that no matter how many times I fail, His love washes over me and gently draws me back to being faithful to Christ. - Ellen Wohlenhaus

“What would you surrender to receive the grace of being made dust? From dust you came, to dust you will return, turn from your sin and be faithful to Christ.” These words echoed in my mind and I thought, I need to let go of numbing. For me, numbing takes the form of scrolling on my phone through social media - anything to avoid actually thinking about what my heart feels, wants or needs. This disconnection keeps me from paying attention to Christ’s love. During Lent, my hope is that when I want to pick up my phone and not feel, I’ll use that as my signpost to talk to God and find out what I’m avoiding. Is it sadness, exhaustion, loneliness, disappointment? I’m finding the grace of sitting in silence with God, soaking up His presence, breathing deep and accepting that I am loved. I’m receiving that no matter how many times I fail, His love washes over me and gently draws me back to being faithful to Christ. - Ellen Wohlenhaus

A few years ago, our family decided to fast from grocery shopping and eating out for the season of Lent. With the exception of a few perishables such as milk, we prepared all of our meals from what we already had in our pantry, freezer and refrigerator. We took the money we would have spent on food during that time and donated it to The Water Project. When we started, I thought we were making a big sacrifice and that by the end of the 40 days we’d be eating some pretty weird meals. Instead we found that we could have gone a lot longer than 40 days. This reminded us of how wealthy and spoiled we are compared to much of the world. It was very humbling and a good lesson that we need to be reminded of more often. - Mike and Renee Pinkerton

A few years ago, our family decided to fast from grocery shopping and eating out for the season of Lent. With the exception of a few perishables such as milk, we prepared all of our meals from what we already had in our pantry, freezer and refrigerator. We took the money we would have spent on food during that time and donated it to The Water Project. When we started, I thought we were making a big sacrifice and that by the end of the 40 days we’d be eating some pretty weird meals. Instead we found that we could have gone a lot longer than 40 days. This reminded us of how wealthy and spoiled we are compared to much of the world. It was very humbling and a good lesson that we need to be reminded of more often. - Mike and Renee Pinkerton