Fasting During Ramadan Isn't Self-Harm, It's Self-Reflection

Fasting During Ramadan Isn't Self-Harm, It's Self-Reflection

Be grateful for what you have and illuminate positivity amongst everyone around you with an open mind.
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“You’re telling me you fast for 30 days with no food?”

“Technically, but we can still eat after sunset and before sunri—”

“How do you fast without water??????”

It is currently the beautiful month of Ramadan for the Muslim community. Within this time, we fast for 30 days consecutively with no food and no water. However, don't be alarmed, we break our fasts at sunset and can eat until the sunrise (I don't think anyone would survive 30 days with no food or water).

I allowed a parched mouth and empty stomach to mask the true meaning of fasting. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized, this is the cruel and inevitable lives of many. There are many individuals who undergo this "fast" unwillingly due to the lack of basic necessities. In the back of our minds, we push ourselves to reach that specific hour of sunset knowing that Iftar, or our sunset meal, is being prepared for us by family and friends. But, many are not as fortunate to have a meal awaiting them whenever they please. As an act of gratitude, my family and I aid another family in need during this month and provide them with meals, clothes, and shelter. Although this act of kindness is only a fraction of support for a larger problem, it is so valuable knowing that I am making someone's Ramadan wholesome just like mine.

These thirty days of Ramadan are defined by self-reflection, forgiveness, and compassion. Some may view this no food and no water fast as unnecessary suffrage and self-harm, but there is a very strong message when adapting to these 30 days. Fasting has allowed me to realize, that the things that we are sitting and taking for granted down to our food and water, are things that people are praying for constantly. It is so important to value the things you have instead of lusting for more.

I am thankful I have come across one of many self-realized lessons: Be grateful for what you have and illuminate positivity amongst everyone around you with an open mind.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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When God Says, “Not Right Now.”

“God give me faith to wait and not manipulate. To trust You fully, no matter how my circumstances may appear." — Lynn Cowell

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One of the most frustrating yet beautiful things is when God tells us “no" or “not right now."

At the time, you may have agony or desperation for this one thing to work out in your life, but it slips away from you. You may ask God why. Why does He want you to be unhappy? Why does He want to take away your dreams?

At the time, you cannot see how much God truly is working in your life, but He is. In my life, every time that I was disappointed that a plan or dream didn't work out, I was devastated. I didn't want to be in a position where I was challenged and tested. I wanted all the blessings to flow and to fulfill what I thought was my plan in life. But that's exactly what it was: my plan.

I did not see at the time that that is not what God intended for me and that He actually had far greater plans than I did for myself. He needed to mold me into who I am supposed to be today. Along the way I have met the most amazing people that have had a huge impact on my life, have gone through the most amazing experiences with God, and I wouldn't trade going through all the trials because it has truly made me into the woman I am today.

“What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for." – John Ortberg

God is continually, endlessly, working in our lives.

We may not see it, but He is. We may blame God for all the things that are going wrong in our lives, but we never see that in the end, we were supposed to go through the low valleys to get to the high, amazing, and beautiful mountains in our lives.

I truly believe that it's when you're at the bottom of the darkest pit in your life that you can actually see the light of God shining brightly upon you. During these times, pray to Him to lead you to understanding that this is all a part of His plan for you.

It hurts God to see that His child is suffering, but in order to carve out just the person that you are supposed to be, you must go through challenges. Where you are today is no accident. God is using the challenge you are in to shape you and prepare you for the place He wants you tomorrow. When it comes to God's plan, timing is absolutely everything.

Looking back on all the events that I had to endure before getting to where I am now, I know that I had to go through the trials in order to be just who I am today, which is happier than I have ever been because I know God and His plan for me. Waiting is the most difficult job of hope, but you must remain faithful and know that God is guiding you.

“When I wait, you strengthen my heart." Psalm 27:14

When you are waiting for God's righteous plan, don't lose faith in His goodness. He only wants the best for you, and in the end, you will look back and see just how much He truly was working in your life. Be patient and the blessings will flow.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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From The Christian Girl Who Visited A Mosque And Had Her Perspective Changed

Getting to know your neighbor...

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In today's current political climate, it feels as though it's harder than ever before to understand our neighbors. We often cannot look beyond the headlines we read in the news and actually talk to each other: it is difficult to separate political propaganda from the people we encounter daily.

One group in America that faces particular discrimination is Muslims. Whenever ISIL commits horrific acts, people in the United States suggest extreme measures such as banning all Muslims from entering the country. While I understand the skepticism, I think that it is of the utmost importance that we all recognize that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and ISIL does not represent their beliefs.

The KKK calls itself a Christian group, but they represent the exact opposite of Biblical teachings; the same is true of Muslims and the Quran. ISIL has completely distorted the teachings of Islam and misrepresents Muslims around the world.

I am currently taking a class on the Middle East, Arabs, and Islam. Over the weekend, my class and I visited the local mosque in Waco. The people there were generous enough to let us partake in their breaking of the Ramadan fast along with other Christian churches and members of a Jewish temple. It was a moment where we were all able to come together and see each other as people who simply have different beliefs.

I identify as a Christian, so I obviously do not believe the same things as Muslims. However, I have discovered that many of our beliefs and teachings are similar to those in the Muslim faith. Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Noah, and even Jesus are all mentioned in the Quran. There are striking differences between Christianity and Islam, but there are also several similarities.

At the end of the breaking of the Ramadan fast, I left with a feeling of peace and reconciliation. I realized that events like this that involve sharing our cultures and religions with each other is a start to ending bias. Our neighbors may not look like us, or even have the same beliefs as us, but we are all people in search of happiness and a better life. In the end, love will always trump hate.

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