For lent this year I am fasting from television and movies unless it serves a social function. My reason is that I have found in the mornings before I go to work I have great ambitions of reading through my ever growing collection of books, or journaling, or reading my Bible. However, I'll make my breakfast and sit down with one of my favorite movies simply as "background noise" and the next thing I know I'm watching Penelope, Ever After, Stardust, He's Just Not That Into You, etc., etc., etc., for the 20 millionth time.
What I have discovered is that making a decision to fast from something without ever making an intentional decision to add something into my life is ineffective. While I may not be watching movies or copious amounts of Ellen, I am now on Facebook more than ever, have become well acquainted with the website "My Life is Average", and spent almost an entire day off catching up on celebrity gossip. I don't even like celebrity gossip! I'm trying to change course the last weeks of lent. Two nights ago I spent a good long while reading (a total candy novel, by the way, but it was delightful), the past could of mornings I have read my Bible/journaled, and last night I planned more for a youth event I'm leading and did an overhaul on my cover letter & resume.
So, what have I learned from all of this? That fasting, like breathing, only works for me when I am commited to both sides of the action. Breathing is only effective when I inhale and then exhale. Only exhaling leads to being short of breath and only inhaling leads to getting light headed. Fasting is important. I know that! But fasting for the sake of fasting has left me either completely empty, or filling the void left by fasting by practices even less satisfying.
It's a learning curve. Not one that I ever expect to perfect. Besides, I kind of do love celebrity gossip. Just a little, though.