By Ali Denney
On a recent trip to Haiti, a friend commented on the grotesque amount of food the hotel had to prepare for our group of Americans. “We show up, we spend all day with hungry children, then come back to this place and stuff our faces. Our issue with indulgence sickens me,” she said.
Focus on Self
My friend’s statement wasn’t just about food. It was more about attitude. We spent all day in Haiti telling others to trust in God, to find their strength and hope in God in the midst of suffering, hunger, and pain—yet we went back to our comfy hotel and forgot everything we said and gorged ourselves on food.
This hit a very sensitive spot in my spirit, one that’s been doing a number on me for a few years now. My issue with indulgence, and its many disguises, is how it takes my focus away from God, putting it where it has no business at all: on myself.
Focus on God
Daniel understood that the choice food and wine from the king’s table would do nothing but draw his attention away from his true King. He knew that choosing to indulge meant losing focus. Daniel was so confident in God’s ability to sustain him, even physically, that he risked his and the others’ futures by rejecting the king’s command. Pretty daring. Daniel’s confidence was in no danger at all. “At the end of ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (Daniel 1:15).
God never leaves, but we may cover him up with our 50-inch TVs, our 5K finisher medals, or suits from Saks Fifth Avenue. Fasting doesn’t have to be about food, but it does have to be about restraining our desire to fill ourselves. It has to be about being confident in a God who is the sustainer, not just of our physical bodies, but of the entire universe.
Ali Denney is a documentary photographer and blogger in San Diego and travels the world with her camera. She has an insightful husband and two wildly amazing children.