Fasting From The Internet

Fasting Is Not Just About Food

Besides being a writer, I also have a strong belief in God - and that is how I came to learn about fasting from the Internet. After telling my pastor about my recent fasts from the Internet, he asked me if I would mind sharing my testimony at church. So in response to that I thought I would also write a hub about my Internet fast, in the hopes that it might inspire someone else to try this.

I've never fasted from anything in my entire life, and to be honest, the only thing that I thought you could fast from was food. I found out differently however a couple months ago. One of our worship leaders named Linda asked members of our congregation to "fast" in prayer for our churches MySpace site. Linda explained that we have been getting alot of prayer requests. She felt it would help the ministry if we had members pray through fasting.

The thing that interested me was that Linda spoke of how fasting could be done in different ways, not only from food but from things like the Internet.This was intriguing for me because I'd never heard of a Internet fast, and wanting to help out in some way, I volunteered to fast from the Internet on a Tuesday.

Wiki's Definition of Fasting

So let's examine first the definition of Fasting from Wiki:

Fasting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. A fast may be total or partial concerning that from which one fasts, and may be prolonged or intermittent as to the period of fasting. Fasting practices may preclude sexual activity as well as food, in addition to refraining from eating certain types or groups of foods; for example, one might refrain from eating meat.

Fasting for religious and spiritual reasons has been a part of human custom since pre-history. It is mentioned in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testament, the Qur'an, the Mahabharata, and the Upanishads. Fasting is also practiced in many other religious traditions and spiritual practices.

Fasting is also used in a medical context to refer to the state achieved after digestion of a meal. A number of metabolic adjustments occur during fasting and many medical diagnostic tests are standardized for fasting conditions. For most medical purposes a person is assumed to be fasting after 8-12 hours. A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting (from 8-72 hours depending on age) conducted under medical observation for investigation of a problem, usually hypoglycemia. Fasting has occasionally been recommended as a therapeutic intervention by physicians of many cultures, though it is uncommonly resorted to for this purpose by modern doctors.

Source

I Went Into Internet Withdrawal

So according to Wiki's definition - fasting means abstaining - or rather not doing something we would probably normally do. It is usually done for spiritual or religious purposes, but can also be done for medical reasons.

In my case, it was done for spiritual reasons and to hopefully get a better connection to God, without something cluttering up my mind.

I didn't think that fasting from the Internet would be that difficult for me. I really thought it would just be an exercise of constraint more than anything....

I found out differently however within just the first hour of my Internet fast. Maybe it was just the thought that I couldn't go on the Internet that spurred me into wanting to go on it even more- but all I know was that within the first few hours I was having Internet Withdrawal Symptoms.

Now for someone who doesn't spend much time on the computer that may seem stupid, to have Internet withdrawal symptoms, but for those of us that live, play and work on the Internet everyday, our Internet access is like eating food. Without it, we tend to dry up and start jonesing, which is exactly what I did.

The first few hours were torture. It was hard enough not putting my finger on that browser button let alone think about trying to pray at this time. All I could think of was to pray for myself to get through this fast that I had self imposed on myself!

Good Things Come Out of Fasting

So onto the fast- Like I say within the first few hours I was miserable....

I wasn't sure this was a very good idea anymore and I was making up all kinds of excuses to go on the computer (I didn't do it but I sure wanted to!) The excuses I was made up were things like I needed to check my email - I needed to check this job - I needed to contact this person - I needed to check my HubScore - so and so forth.... My excuses got wilder and wilder until I finally threw up my hands and realized how ridiculous I was being, and how I just needed to stop making justifications and accept what I had gotten myself into (and that this would be the last time I would do an Internet Fast!)

So as the first few hours crept by, I found myself trying to find other things to do around the house, and concentrate on trying to have a conversation with God instead (after all that was WHY I was doing this fast - right?)

That night I ended up going to bed a little earlier than I normally would, and got up a little earlier with my first thoughts of checking my hubscore, like I usually do. AHHHH!!!!!!! This was going to be much harder than I thought!!! (What's up with this HubScore addiction I have anyway???)

So I forced myself away from my office and went and laid back down, trying to refocus myself into something positive. I wandered outside and took a look at my garden and my mind finally started to calm down. I actually felt a sense of relief that my mind wasn't in full throttle, the way it usually was. A distinct sense of clarity settled over me.

Throughout the remainder of the day the clarity continued, and by that night, when my Internet fast was over, I decided not to go back on the Internet, even though my fasting time was up.

That was the first week ( I was fasting for one day at a time)

The following week I left my laptop at my business on the fasting day, and surprisingly - the fast went better this week. Without the distraction of my computer sitting here, and knowing that I absolutely had no computer access, I actually began to feel a lot calmer and mellower this day, and that night I went to bed early again. The interesting thing about this time though was that I didn't fall asleep right away. I actually laid in bed for hours, praying and thinking about my life.

Finally that night about 2 in the morning I had a revelation so stunning that it almost made me want to get up and start my day out at 2 in the morning- I finally KNEW what my purpose in life was!

WOW!!! I was shocked, stunned, amazed, all rolled into one. I had been steadily asking myself this question for over 5 years now, without any forthcoming answers. Now I finally knew what my purpose was! Something started to click within my brain - a small voice saying - take the time with me and I'll take my time with you...

And I knew then that I was feeling the effects of my Internet fast.

By abstaining from something that I enjoy, covet, and want in favor of doing something to please God, I was reaping the rewards of giving Him that time, (not that I was expecting that) but the clarity moments were happening because I was willing to make some sort of sacrifice on my part. In this case, my Internet addiction.

I had no idea what this Internet fasting would do for my life, my faith and my family. I had really entered into the fast rather flippantly but now I could see there was definitely a spiritual reason for doing this............

Every week after that I have continued to fast, and amazingly, each week on that day something becomes very clear to me ( I call it "my moment of clarity") Every week it's been something different but vital to my life..... One week it was something simple but outstanding- I was thinking about both my sons whom I had not talked too in awhile - and within minutes of thinking about them they both called my phone, back to back. I felt that electric connectivity within the universe in that moment, knowing that there was synchronicity going on that even I did not understand.

Not coincidence, but a planned connectivity.....

Perhaps the biggest change however has been my relationship with my spouse. We have been having rocky times for quite sometime now, and things were not getting any better- in fact they were getting worse. Nothing seemed to be helping our deteriorating lack of communication- until now. This week my husband asked me what is going on with me because he had noticed a big positive change within me. He said I'm being alot more understanding and so in response his attitude towards me has changed. I told him the truth- I'm spending more time outside of my own little world that I've created and am spending more time thinking about him, his needs and wants - and our relationship. I told him what I had been doing with the Internet fasting, and now he is asking me to please leave my computer at work some days! (he'll get his way sometimes but not always!!)

The other day the beloved landlord of our business building said that he was overjoyed to hear the strength in my voice, something that he had not heard for years from me. All, I contribute to, my self examination through fasting and prayer.

I am now on my second month of fasting from the Internet, and it's getting easier for me to do. In fact, I actually look forward to the day when I unplug from the greater world and connect to the greater God. It's time for just Him and I to have our heart to heart and for me to get instructed in the ways of life.

I find myself not only fasting from the Internet on those specific days but also doing it during the rest of the week - at odd and random times. Realizing that in those moments that I am not feeling compelled to search for more information on the Internet that I can instead spend time searching for more information from God.

A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.

(from Andy Rooney)

(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer in the Silicon Valley)

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Comments 36 comments

pkmcr profile image

pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

Fascinating and thank you for sharing those reflections and insights. When I was at Seminary in Rome we fasted each Friday. The Internet was not as readily accessible then especially in that environment but what a great idea!

Certainly food for thought (if you will forgive the pun!) for the next Lenten period.

Take care

Paul


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

Dorsi, this is beautiful. Thank you so much or sharing. I think I would have a very difficult time at first. One day a week? I'm thinking about it. :) So wonderful to hear about the revelations and improvements in your relationships that this fast has brought to you. Clarity is a beautiful thing. :)


weblog profile image

weblog 8 years ago from 1India

Nice hub. It is hard to keep away from internet. But, I think I really have to care for my backbones!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Moderation in all things brings blessings. =) You have found your path to moderation. How enlightening, yes?


gogetter profile image

gogetter 8 years ago from Australia

Never thought of doing this. But in a way the internet is a drug :-)


Hope Wilbanks profile image

Hope Wilbanks 8 years ago from Louisiana

Excellent, excellent, excellent!!! You are on the right track here. This is something I've done before, too, and it is difficult. It's something I need to start doing more of, too. Thanks for sharing your experience here with us! Great hub!


Isolde profile image

Isolde 8 years ago from Boston, MA

I really enjoyed your last thought, that computers make it easier to do what doesn't need to be done. I agree and disagree with that thought - perhaps as someone who was raised with computers I can't imagine *not* needing to check email (who writes letters anymore, anyway?) or check my bank statements, or update my website, etc. But it is true - most of those things can be done sans computer, and they are in a way better because they promote human interaction instead of internet connectivity...very interesting hub, I appreicate the words of wisdom!


oberbreckling 8 years ago

Hi Dorsi Im very happy for you.from experience in this area I call it walking in the light of god but your free to call it what you want the benefits are wonderful I had at one time gave up a addiction I cried out for help the next day i woke up and went to work and I felt the same way as you do people said the same thing to me as there saying too you.I walked in the light of god for two weeks then i turned my back on him and fell prey to the addiction again the feeling was gone he was gone and Ive never seen that higher power in action again.Thats why Im so happy for you and Im glad you can talk about it.~cool~cya


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN

Yeah, the internet, as well as other things like tv, etc., etc., can be addictive. Everything in moderation! I know I was getting to caught up in hubpages for a couple days, and so I just avoided it one weekend. That was a good decision. Technology, in the form of tvs, computers, etc., often get in the way of face-to-face communication with the important people in our lives. Sometimes, you need to just quit these things for a day or two. Good hub, Dorsi!


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

I need to do this. Does working on your computer with it unhooked from the net count? LOL. What an insightul hub. Fasting is a spiritual discipline in the same vein as prayer, study, service, and solitude. We all need to "unhook" ourselves from time to time just to remain disciplined in our faith. I end with how I began. I need to do this.


IMHustle 8 years ago

Dorsi,

I didn't know there were other forms of fasting outside of food fasts. To those who don't spend much time on the computer or whose computer time isn't for money making purposes might not understand what you experienced, but I definitely can. I'm glad that your sacrifice has yielded much "fruit" for you spiritually and in your family life. Congratulations and thank you for sharing this with us.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

Hi Dorsi

Thought provoking and insightful. What a great experience. I think we all do too much of the nothing that is easy to do! We answer cell phones whenever they ring answer mail at all hours recieve SMS's and respond to them and our day expands to fil the vailable gadget time! This to the detriment of the quality human and spiritual intraction that we we become too busy for. Less friends , less family contact, but... an ever expanding network of'cyber friends'. Well maybe the cyber friends are a good thing!

Great Hub.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Fasting from the internet? Good idea!!! :)


manan123 8 years ago

i will try to .. quit internet but for 1 or 2 days only...I can't stay without internet longer than that


New Day profile image

New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

Dorsi, I enjoyed this Hub on a number of levels. I am glad to see that your "fasting" is bringing you closer to other important things in your life. I am going camping this summer, and honestly, I can't imagine being away from my computer for 5 days. I may just have to print out this Hub for strength. LOL


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Fasting from the Internet is not good otherwise interesting articles like this cannot be read!,

I think there are many other things to fasten from, such as alcohol, ciggeretts, drugs that damage the body, also fasting from bad thoughts that damage the mind!, but like all bad things in life its all about moderation and computing to much can have its negative and positive benefits which is life..yingyang i think maybe the phrase!;)


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Wow thanks all of you for the great comments, and I'm so glad this was "food for thought" (excuse the pun!)

Yes, moderation in all things is a good thing, even here on the internet. I think it's especially hard for us writers who use the internet everyday- sometimes we just have to unlpug for awhile and reconnect. Being solitary can be a good thing- for awhile... but I can't imagine NOT having having the internet anymore...lol.... that would be awful!!!


drummer boy profile image

drummer boy 8 years ago from Kirksville,MO

this might be just what I need.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

My family thinks I should fast from the Internet as I am addicted Hubpages and the Internet in general. Some days I keep it off, but honestly I have a long way to go. I am glad you are able to do it more than I. I guess I should work on this!


LondonDuchess profile image

LondonDuchess 8 years ago from Farnborough, Hampshire, England

I have had lots of "food for thought" reading this Hub.

When you love gaining new information the Internet can turn you into a "child in a sweetshop" and not surprisingly it is possible to over indulge and make yourself sick - sadly I have felt this about myself for along time .... I am going to reread this Hub !!!!! 

I am about to fast for 24 hours (food) - just know I need to think about and plan to fast this way as well.

Viv


CYNTHIA  7 years ago

THAT WAS HILLARIOUS AS WELL AS INSPIRING!!..THANK YOU FOR THAT :)


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Interesting hub never thought about fasting from the internet maybe it would do me some good too


C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan 6 years ago from Kerala, India

I have been thinking about it, but delaying the first step. The sooner I do it, the better for me. Glad that I stumbled upon this inspiring article.


shareitt profile image

shareitt 6 years ago

Great hub- anything that takes control of us could definitely bring us the need to a good "fast". Thanks :)


Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Hub Pages and Facebook are actually a newly discovered part of my ministry, though only about 5%-10%. Still, I was never one to aimlessly bounce and surf around. For me, it's a ministry venue. Hence, Facebook and Hub Pages. Learning and teaching at the same time.

Fasting, in and of itself, is a good and necessary thing sometimes, though we really need to consider the reason and more importantly our TRUE motivation.


Everyday_mom profile image

Everyday_mom 6 years ago

LOL I love this article. I think I may need to fast from the internet too.

Thanks for sharing


Chin chin profile image

Chin chin 6 years ago from Philippines

Dorsi, wonderful hub. I believe I did not get to your hub by chance. God must be telling me to do this internet fast. I think I would. Thanks and God bless!


Nash4343 profile image

Nash4343 6 years ago from Virginia Beach, VA

I love this idea. What I love more is all the great feedback you got from this. There is always someone who has something negative to say about whatever is posted. My heart is so warmed that everyone who posted got something positive out of it. What a blessing to everyone here!!! I will follow suit Dorsi :)


2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Oh my, I can feel the convulsions coming on already! I have been thinking about fasting. When I do I will consider the internet as well.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thanks everyone for reading and considering trying a fast from the internet. I did a 2 day fast from it last week and it was awesome. Helped clear out and slow down my brain for a bit!


salve 6 years ago

hi dorsi, yup, its really hard to fast from internet, i had a hard time doing it two days ago..Two days i was able to keep away myself from the internet and the third day which is today, i couldn't keep myself from my laptop the whole day..gosh! but tomorrow, i plan to keep myself away from the internet again..i am thinking of buying myself a journal to write on so that i don't have to open my computer every now and then during the day when i want to write and i just end up checking my facebook, my blogs, my hubs which i haven't been taking care of actually, etc. lol..wish me luck! I know i could do it like you did....thanks for this hub!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

salve) Thanks for coming by and YES - Fasting from the internet can be VERY hard! We get so use to checking Facebook, blogs, etc. like you said and many times it is just habit and not even by necessity! Good luck with your internet fast and let me know how things are going.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

Wow, I now I feel great I am not the only one. I usually try to "fast" for a few hours each day... but at least once a wekk ( I tyr!) I do not go on teh net for 24 hours, and like you that can be hard, but it is sure rewarding, I come back refreashed and focused.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Rebecca E) Glad it works for you too! Thanks for coming by - I was without the net for a whole week recently and BOY was that interesting!!


MSantana profile image

MSantana 5 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

I think not only we adults have to learn to manage our time on the internet but also teach teens, since they are very susceptible. Yet, internet allows me to keep in touch with friends and family-and do my research so I consider it a great tool. We need lot of time outdoors!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@MSantana) So true! Thanks for reading.

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