I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka a "Mormon", and on the first Sunday of every month we practice Fast Sunday. On this day, we abstain from food and drink for 24 hours or 2 meals (usually we begin after an early dinner on Saturday and then break our fast with dinner on Sunday evening).
We believe that through fasting we can become closer to God, because as our bodies become weaker, our spirits can become stronger. It is also a way of simply practicing "mind over matter" and demonstrating that although we have mortal bodies, the desires of our bodies do not outweigh the desires of our hearts and spirits. In that way we practice a sort of "spiritual control" which is essential when resisting all forms of temptation. Furthermore, by fasting we signify our dedication to God, and give up our will for His will.
Well, today is Fast Sunday, and I fasted (which, by the way, I discovered is remarkably easier to do when you have a cold) and as I was fasting I reflected on why we fast, and how suffering a weakness in one part of our lives can create strengths in other areas, much like someone who loses their sight reports developing a heightened sense of smell, touch, or hearing.
I think that we can even relate that principle to our financial lives- I have found that when my bank account becomes weaker, my creativity somehow manages to become stronger. When I have less, I seem to appreciate more. I thought back to last Sunday's post about the beauty I saw in the world around me, and I couldn't help but wonder, If I was a multi-millionaire living in a mansion somewhere, would I still appreciate the beauty of autumn? I would like to think that I would, but I honestly don't think I would draw the same kind of inspiration from it that I do in my current situation.
Don't get me wrong- this is not to say that rich people don't appreciate the beauty of God's world- I'm sure that most of them do. I just think that living simply eliminates a lot of distractions, and allows us to focus on the world around us in such a way that we appreciate beauty differently, just as a hungry person has a different appreciation for food than a well-fed person might.
And it is for this reason that today I thank Heavenly Father for my weak bank account, because it helps me to see the value and beauty in the world around me beyond the monetary amount. It helps me to develop talents and skills I might not have otherwise tapped, and it allows me to be grateful every day for what I do have- my health (aside from the cold, of course!), my family, the gospel, and the earth in all its splendor.
I know that even if I had not one dollar left to my name, no home, no possessions, that those things I value most would still be there and nobody could repossess them but God, and nobody could make me pay for them because they are gifts from God. Should He choose to "repossess" them, I know that He has promised me that if I keep His commandments and just do the best I can, then someday He will return them to me an hundred fold. I thank Him for giving me this beautiful thrifty life, that I may grow and learn and be grateful, and I pray that I may fulfill His plan for me and find strength in all my weaknesses.
It's the beginning of November, the month of Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?