Jan. 18 marked the beginning of Project New Start, a 72-hour fasting experience that was promoted by New Life Fellowship. Members of New Life Fellowship were challenged to abstain from food, cell phone use, and/or entertainment for the entire 72 hours to encourage prioritizing their relationship with God over the daily minutiae of a busy life.
According to several Project New Start participants, those involved knew they were in for a long three days, but were willing to put their relationship with God above the things that consume their time and energy every day.
Jannel Monroe (senior, theology) who chose to participate from entertainment, explained to me that her form of entertainment which she needed to work on was binge watching.
Monroe said, “Before the New Life fast, I had a lot of anxiety with graduation and the real world coming up. It has felt like a heavy load on my shoulders. My mind was really hazy and I felt confused about life.”
After the fast was over, Monroe said abstaining from binge-watching gave her time to become more connected to God.
Monroe said, “I was hoping that I would be able to clearly hear what God was doing. I wanted peace of mind and, more than anything, joy...I also got answers for things that I hadn't even realized I was questioning.”
Monroe added that the extra time she was able to spend with God has given her answers and helped her realize what too much entertainment can do to an individual.
Monroe said, “I definitely don't feel the need to be as attached anymore. Actually, I'm trying to use these things less and to budget my time better with better outlets.”
Another participant of the fast was Darius Bridges (sophomore, architecture). Bridges chose to take part in the food portion of fasting, a task which he found to be quite difficult. It was challenging for him because the food was so easily within reach on campus.
According to Bridges, “There was time when I really wanted a bag of chips or a sandwich, but I didn’t eat.”
Bridges said, “I felt that fasting from eating would make me appreciate food and all the blessing I have from God more. Every day it's easy for me to simply get up and walk to the café or the Gazebo and there's food there. That isn't the same for a lot of people around the world and now I understand that more.”
Bridges concluded by saying that the fast has changed his perception of things.
Chaplain Michael Polite and his team from New Life Fellowship are still encouraging people to take part in the fast, even though the official 72-hour fast has ended. Polite said that people can incorporate fasting into their lives at any point, not just for 72 hours once a year.