Loving Ourselves

Well my last post seems to have gone over well, so I trust I’m striking a chord with some people at least.

I talked a lot about being arrogant in that post.

What I don’t want to do is come off like I’m blaming Gen Z and Millennials for this.

While I do blame them in some capacity for making their own decision to embrace all this insanity, I can’t say they’re particularly stupid or evil compared to the rest of humanity.

It’s been pointed out by smarter people than me that the age of Moral Standards we’ve lived in for the last 200 years in the West, give or take a few decades or centuries depending on the country, was not a usual thing for humans. It’s the anomaly.

From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the Revolution era, it was a very unusual period in history compared to before, especially the pre-Christian era.

Up till then, the general consensus from all people’s was that everyone else was corrupt, and only their culture stood out, and some of them didn’t even go that far.

If you read what the Bible describes people doing, it would shock you how sick it was. Even now, we haven’t gone that far–as a whole–though some of us have.

And God somehow still had hope for those people. It boggles my mind. But He was always looking for the Remnant.

What big movement preachers tend to overlook, though they mean well, and I wish what they talked about was more frequent than it is–is that Positive Change, as well as Ethics being Preserved, is usually the work of small amounts of people.

A few thousand out of many thousands, is usually the biggest amount of people who work together on it.

It can be as few as 8, like the story of Noah (the legend is found in almost every culture in the world by the way, often with the same number of people surviving as the Bible says.)

God has His eyes always on the few.

Jesus even told us “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way to Life, and few will there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

Which seems harsh…but Jesus is just telling us how this works.

The Masses of people are not concerned with morality that much, and if they ever are concerned about a few things in general, it was the phenomenon of the past thousand years to see that, it wasn’t common before.

That’s why some historians have the idea that Man’s Consciousness is evolving. They look at our moving toward higher and higher ethical standards, and or at least more discussion about them, and they say we improved.

But if you look at the bare facts of history, you’ll see each age has its own problems, and they repeat. We’re not smarter as a whole, it’s isl that those of us in each generation that do See Clearly, see a little more, because wise men learn form history and they build off of it, but foolish ones ignore it and they always have.

That was part of the thought that’s been rolling around in my head for several months, which is just this:

Things that people predict will happen if a country doesn’t change it’s course always do actually happen.

And no one listens because no one ever has listened.

You see, a lot of social commentators say that the problem is people just don’t realize what is happening.

But that is not true.

Sure there’s secrete scandals still, there probably always will be as long as mankind is in power.

But the problems that are eating away at us are ones people predicted and called to attention for years, and decades, and even centuries.

Just like in the Bible the Prophets told the Israelites what was happening. And the Israelites didn’t listen.

It’s so hard for us to admit this, isn’t it? That we do what we do, knowing exactly what will happen, and we do it anyway.

Example:

If you got any person to answer you honestly on the subject of depicting violent in movies directed at kids as much as we do, they’d have to acknowledge that statistics do point to violence in entertainment having a bad effect on kids and their development.

[See articles here: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-TV-Violence-013.aspx#:~:text=Extensive%20viewing%20of%20television%20violence,to%20imitate%20what%20they%20see.

https://www.bartleby.com/essay/effects-of-tv-violence-on-children-F3CEVXSZTC%5D

But would they stop promoting that stuff by watching it, talking about it, reviewing it, and in many cases, showing it to their own kids.

My father did, and he’d be one of the ones to say it was a problem.

You see? We know…we just don’t care.

That’s always the way.

I’m glad that my faith was never in humanity to begin with, because living in a world where everyone’s corruption is exposed so much via internet would kill anyone’s faith in humanity.

We hope for the best from people, but we cannot depend on it, unless we know them very well.

But that’s not really mean to be a depressing thought. The Bible has said that for years. All these angsty pop culture hot take people are just agreeing with an old teaching, that’s all.

It’s like G. K. Chesterton said, if we try to hit on anything original an good, we’ll only find it was Orthodoxy the entire time.

Even the idea of Self Worth is Christian, though it’s been taken way, way out of it’s proper context, as always.

I don’t know if there’s a better or worse thing to worship other than God. One could make the case for it, but it’s kind of a matter of opinion whether the worship of success and domination of a few hundred years ago is really better or worse than the worship of tribalism and self fulfillment is now. Often both at the same time.

Humans are not better or worse than we’ve been in the past.

But we are regressing out of the progress the last centuries brought us in at least realizing how messed up we were.

People used to admit that there was a lot wrong with human nature, even if they didn’t see it in themselves.

But now we’re really trying to deny that Human Nature is corrupt.

Telling people to “Be themselves” no matter what.

Yes,the message to be genuine is a good one.

But predictably, since other messages were neglected, it’s become “be yourself even if that you is a terrible person.”

Women will admit to be aggressive b—-s publicly now. Like ti’s something to brag about.

“I’m so mean, yay!”

Or “so evil” I hear that one a lot.

“I have no soul” guys say that one too.

“no heart.”

Wow, so brave of all of you to admit to being inhuman. Hip hip hurrah.

I think actual people who are jerks have always been proud of it, if they weren’t arrogant, they probably would be jerks.

But at least it wasn’t approved of by the entire culture before, not for a long time, but we’re swinging back that direction.

Let’s just remember that in Greek Culture, which is where we get a lot of our ideas, rape and kidnapping were normalized parts of their mythology that no one thought twice about. It’s possible to be completely blind to the obvious.

Actually we’re blind to the obvious most often, because we just don’t want to see it.

2 Timothy 3 says this about it:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unlovingunforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of goodtraitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Even if we ignore the ones I didn’t emphasize, though they are still prevalent, look at how much those words sum up not just our complaints at a culture, but the things we actually praise.

Romans 1 says that people, known such thins are wrong, not only practice them but approve of those who do.

In 2000 years, nothing has changed.

Ecclesiastes says there is “nothing new under the sun.”

It’s been dawning on me that while I appeal to people’s desire for morality when I debate them, I am assuming they care at all.

But I think less and less of them do.

Aside from the SJW crap that they are programmed to react to, without understanding it at all, they really don’t care about higher thought.

These things have no value to them. They live for entertainment and pleasure. For Self. And no one tells them this is unacceptable.

It’s not a mystery why the Media promotes this. Selfish people buy more things, and care less if you exploit others to provide them with those things.

But it’s sad how the schools and churches have promoted it so much also.

They have us so much under their spell, the Overlords’, that we can be told this point blank, even by our own commercials on TV, and we simply don’t care. Just keep distracting me. The world is a dark place.

Well in Quasimodo’s words to Frollo “Well now I see the only thing that’s dark about it is people like you!”

See, the people who tell us to stay away form the world because of its evil are the same ones making it evil. They don’t want us to catch on, do they? Called Gaslighting.

Because if we did catch on, we might stop them, and evil men fear having their deeds exposed, don’t they?

They hate and fear those of us who know better and have pure hearts. And like Fagan from Oliver Twist, they want to make sure anyone who does is corrupted.

A lot of anime has this theme also. What is Japan trying to tell us, huh? That people who are naturally more inclined to do good than the rest of us are feared the most.

Don’t you fear someone who seems like a better person than you, sometimes? I know I have.

I’ve mostly given up thinking of it that way, we’re all human. But I can do that because I have grace, the people who don’t are still afraid, we remind them of their own death the Bible says.

People have accused Christians of that ever since they first appeared.

I have to recognize as I write this that a lot of people may not even be ready to hear what I’m saying.

They may not even be to where they see a piot ot all this.

I can hope it resonates with someone who is ready, who needs it.

Like “wow I’m not crazy!”

My advice, if i’m qualified to give it, is if you have found yourself noticing all these problems, don’t waste time being chocked by them.

Try to find that remnant of people who still believe in the old values, and stick with them.

And reach who you can. There’s always some wheat among the tares of each generation, perhaps more than we realize, since many of us give up trying to reach them.

It’s not our job to decide who can receive truth and salvation, we are supposed to shoot our shot, and let God choose how it lands.

I don’t know what all our fates will be, and I ‘m not suppose dot know, but I know that we can’t control destiny, only how much we want to take an active role in it. There are still things that will happen no matter what, but there’s a lot we can change also. So we are still supposed to try.

That said, for now I’m done, so until next time, stay honest–Natasha

So I watched Encanto…

One of the unsung perks of babysitting in this country is that you get to use people’s streaming accounts even if you don’t have them. I’ve watched a crap ton of Netflix and Disney Plus because of babysitting.

That’s how I watched Vivo…which is a better movie than Encanto, bite me.

Funny because Lin Manuel Miranda worked on both, I just think Vivo’s plot and themes suited his talents better than a Disney Girl musical (since now we aren’t even pretending they’re princesses…although this movie might as well have been about a princess.)

I’m not going to hate on Encanto, it was an enjoyable ride, but after watching it, I do think it is inferior to its predecessors.

I’m sure all of you are too nice to hate on me for saying that, but if I went on a different platform, I think I’d start a riot. Everyone seems to love this movie.

Well, it’s mediocre, sorry, not sorry.

I won’t deny the animation was gorgeous, a joy to watch. The songs were…predictable. The only one I thought really stood out as creative lyrically was the “Pressure” one. Then, Imperfect was okay, and “WE Don’t talk about Bruno” was impressive editing-wise, but lyrics were a little weird, I thought.

But I’m not much for modern musical movies, to be fair. I like old ones better.

i have before unashamedly said that I like Disney movies–some of them–and that Frozen is actually my favorite movie, for personal reasons. See: Why a DP movie is my favorite. Why a DP movie is my favorite part 2. I don’t think it’s the most amazing movie ever made, but it stands out form other Disney films, I’m not the only one who thought it has a different vibe, wrapped up in a Disney package, it still somehow felt unique. Thought he haters will never admit it.

Encanto is a beautiful mess, that is my honest opinion. I was interested in the plot while watching it, and the 3 year old I was watching it with loved the music. But I kept waiting for the movie to make its point…and by the end I was just…non plussed.

Encanto basically has two or three over arching themes, and it tries to bring all of them together at the end, but it doesn’t finish any of them. The ending was one of the most rushed I’ve seen in a Disney film, and the characters were not well flushed out. We only get depth on Luisa and Isabel, and it’s dropped after one song.

Abuela’s character being the cause of the magic disappearing was predictable, I called it form the beginning. But that wouldn’t have been bad. I thought it actually added to the idea that families often miss the obvious when it comes to their problems. It’s true in my family, for sure.

I actually thought they were going to do a Brave thing, and make it both the older and younger women had pride and selfishness, and that was the cause of the rift. And the magic of the family was tied to their unity.

The movie implies this, but doesn’t say it.

I could put that down to a wish for subtlety, except every other theme in this movie is blatant and shoved in your face, as with most kids’ movies, so why they would hesitated to spell it out for us, if they actually intended it, I don’t know.

I don’t necessarily mind blatant messages, I think kids need things to be spelled out for them, and adults who watch kid content should be prepared for that. But I think you can do it tastefully and creatively. Just singing it to save time is not tasteful.

The imagery in this movie is probably its best feature. The lights, the candle, the sand, the cracks.

I kind of thought Bruno’s character was less impressive than he could have been, he was exactly what I expected, and the goofy, kooky character seeing the future and then hiding…well, it’s a little old. But it’s not bad, so it’s more of a personal wish than a criticism.

What actually made me mad about this movie was the ending. The first half was quite good, but it was like they ran out of run time. Isabel and Mirabel get over 20 years of disagreeing, (or 18, or whatever it was) and it takes 2 minute of one song for them to suddenly understand each other?

I was the scapegoat and my sister was the golden child, it took us months of disagreeing, and years of tension before that, to work out our differences. Especially when our dad poured gasoline on the fire.

And another thing, I found it stupid that only Mirabel was yelling at Abuela at the end. If Luisa and Isabel were really that miserable, seeing Mirabel do that should have just burst the dam. Especially for Isabel.

Also the magic was so poorly explained.

I know that magic does not always need to be explained in a story, I actually don’t like it when it is, like, We didn’t need an explanation for Elsa’s magic–and the one we got made no sense.

But in this movie, the magic disappearing is the whole point, so that is the time to explain how it works, the entire point of most of the film is Mirabel trying to understand the magic, so explaining it was totally necessary.

And what is explained…nothing!

I mean, I guess the magic relies on the family’s…bond? But then why doesn’t it crack every time one of them fights? The one lady with the weather powers should be having cracks every 10 minutes. Isabel and Mirabel should have been causing issues all along. Then Abuela’s obsession with perfection might actually make more sense.

Or how about this, make the fact that Abuela herself actually has no gift, and just guards the candle and house the reason she doesn’t like Mirabel. Mirabel reminds her of her own mortality, and humanness, and we tend to project our insecurities onto other people. So when she’s yelling at Mirabel, she’s really upset at herself. And Mirabel annoys her by not being as stressed about it as she is. I’ve known that to happen to many people in real life, myself included. Misery loves company.

This is almost implied in the movie…but never enough to be sure it’s actually what it’s saying.

Also, the conflict of this movie is set up poorly.

We’re supposed to be wonder why Mirabel has no gift, right? Well that question is never answered. Ever.

Then we’re supposed to wonder if the gift is becoming a curse…

But the thing is, Mirabel’s mom is a really nice lady, and supportive of all her daughters, and so is their father. Isabel is so driven to be perfect…why?

I can’t recall her ever actually being told she was doing something wrong. Maybe she just wanted to avoid it ever happening, but most people aren’t afraid to fail until they have failed in a painful way, and we never see her do that. Perfectionism comes from not being able to control things when you were a kid, but we get no such story with Isabel.

We never see Luisa told it would be selfish to take a break. She just assumes it.

We’re meant to think Abuela made them think this way just by her example…but even if that is true, no one ever questioned it before? And why do none of the men feel this way? They seem carefree, and happy-go-lucky. No pressure there.

And while the townspeople take advantage of the family’s gifts, they aren’t ever pushy about it.

So why are these two girls so driven? Isabel says she was going to marry the guy for the family…but they never push her to do it, they just assume she wants to marry him. If she’d ever spoken up about it, I’m sure they’d have been happy to push Dolores forward instead. Why does it need to be Isabel?

And by the way, Dolores character had the potential to be so much more compelling. Imagine if you could hear everything? Everything anyone ever said about you? That sounds like a curse to me. Maybe that’s why she tries to be invisible, so people won’t talk bad about her.

Would make relationships difficult, and relaxing. She’s shown to be jumpy, but she doesn’t get her own song, and she doesn’t ever get a moment to explain it. A total waste of potential. I’d say her life is way harder than Isabel’s.

I mean, when the main conflict of your story is your MC just isn’t special enough….what the heck movie? Is that what counts as drama these days? Her family loves her, and the one person who actually is hostile to her, Isabel, is not even in most of the movie, and resolves the conflict in 3 minutes…yay!

Mirabel is all like “I can’t embrace Isabel!” and then 5 minutes later “Oh my gosh, I was so wrong about her!”

Uh…you weren’t really, you just didn’t know why she acted that way, she still acted like a b-word. And perfectionism is no excuse to bully your sister, Isabel. How about an apology?

Nope…nothing.

I mean Isabel could have said she envied Mirabel her freedom to do whatever she wants. Built on the trapped by your gift thing…but nope.

And another thing, if Isabel is so stuck…why doesn’t she want to try something other than growing flowers? Her whole rebellion is spraying herself with colors and growing cacti…who in the heck said she couldn’t grow cacti? Cacti are useful, heck her mom could use aloe to cure people, everyone would be all over that. And she has a whole room to experience with crazy flowers in, and no one else seems to care…what exactly is holding her back?

I mean, Abuela only cares when it becomes convenient for the plot, she never reprimands Isabel before then.

Movie, stop expecting me to assume domestic abuse, actually show it if you want to use it, you coward!

You now that just ticks me off about this film, and every other kids’ media I watch these days. Domestic problems are assumed. No on’es family is actually good, no one is actually happy, it all hast o be fake. You can bet if I see a nice character, I’m going to find out they have skeletons in their closet later in the story.

And while no human is perfect, not all of us are as royally fricked up as the movies imply. Sometimes we just get frustrated once in a while, and guess what, we move on! Some of us actually deal with it in a healthy way. Geez! What is the problem Hollywood?

I think it’s on purpose, the idea of contentment just doesn’t sell, so every character has to have a dark side.

Frozen kicked off this trend–but you know how Frozen made it work?

Because we actually see Elsa’s powers backfire, we see her parents tell her bad advice, we see her fear of herself grow–the movie accomplishes this in 10 minutes. We all perfectly understand why Elsa is afraid, how it affects her, and that Anna is unaware of it.

Then when Elsa goes berserk, we know why. It’s not random, we see the causes.

And her problems instead of being over in 5 minutes, take a whole movie to work through. And are revisited in the shorts and the sequel–which are not great, but at least they aren’t delusional enough to say Elsa is never going to doubt again. Of course she will, but she now lets herself be helped, that was the difference.

Where is this in Encanto? Or should I say Donde esta en la cinema Encanto? (Pretty sure I said that wrong, but my Spanish is not great, and the constant switch in the movie was not as charming as they thought it was. I was just left feeling like the whole thing should have been in Spanish, or English, pick one.)

Nada! Nunca! It’s not there. You won’t find any deepening, or further introspection of any of these characters. One song, that’s it.

That’s one of my problems with the movie.

The other one is the Magic itself, and the Miracle. It’s never explained.

And why Mirabel does not have a gift. She wanted to know.

I think the movie’s biggest mistake here was that when Mirabel went to get her gift, the door began to form…but then it stopped.

If she was truly just not meant to have one, fine. But then why did she start to get it and then it stopped? The candle changed its mind? Hmm?

Sure seems like something went wrong, not looking at Bruno’s excommunication or anything.

And if the family splitting is what lead to the magic cracking, than it would have made perfect sense that Mirabel’s lack of gift was because it weakened after they sent Bruno packing. Like, it literally seems like that’s what they are implying.

Mirabel even sees the same cracks as Bruno. Which could have been taken as maybe she was going to have the same gift as him, because he wasn’t around, but because he still is, she couldn’t get it, and it broke.

Then restoring Bruno the family, and fixing the house should have fixed her problem. But she still has no gift at the end…even though she restore the magic, so she has magic, but no gift….because logic….

You have all the set up to make this make sense…but no pay off? Nothing.

Because oh she’s just special enough without a gift…

(How can not being special be what makes you special? It’s a logical fallacy.)

Well if that’s true, why restore the gifts at all. If it really had become a burden, then just let it go, accept change.

Wasn’t that the message? If you hold onto the past too tightly it crushes the very people you were trying to protect…I thought that’s what they were saying.

But I mean, i’s Disney, so of course the Magic shouldn’t have disappeared at the end…but Mirabel still can’t have a gift because reasons.

Even though it clearly show she didn’t get a gift because something went wrong, setting it right doesn’t give her one…why? She doesn’t want one anymore?

I fail to understand you movie.

I thought they all should have either lost their gifts for good, or never lost them at all. Maybe they just could have corrupted, been twisted, like in Frozen. Because they were used wrong. That’s more true to real life anyway. We don’t lose our talents because of stress, but they do become less pure.

So in the end, this movie has two messages. Or three really. 1. You don’t need a gift to be special, because not being special is what makes you special. (Cure the Incredibles rant about celebrating mediocrity) 2. If you put yourself into one box, it will crush your spirit, it’s okay to have more than one interest and to take a break. 3. Holding onto the past is bad. Embrace the future. (As long as you do it by not forgetting what made your family special in the past and reigniting that flame….get it? Because it’s a candle, we’re so clever).

How did anyone like this movie’s ending? I get liking the songs and story, but the ending? It makes no sense. None few these three messages is finished. Nothing is explained, and there is no truth. Everything goes back to being exactly how it was, except that Isabel goes disco tech, Luisa takes naps, and Dolores gets with the guy who’s about as deep as a kiddie pool.

Mirabel is not a different person than before. And the town is the same…so yeah…

I really thought there could have been something really good there. Heck, even all three of those message together would have been okay, if they were finished. But they aren’t. There is no point of resolution.

An apology is not a resolution if the problem is that complex. That worked in Brave because the mother -daughter conflict is present in the whole movie, shown to be the core of its problems, and is explained as the way to resolve them. Merida humbling herself makes sense, because Pride was her problem.

But the whole family conflict in this movie is so shaky. Not everyone is unhappy. The problem are so minor that literally two conversations fixed them, and Bruno comes back with no fanfare whatsoever, and Mirabel isn’t even the reason.

Mirabel was actually mostly useless, she spends most of the movie making the problem worse, and in the end is the reason the magic goes out…so way to defy negative expectations there, movie.

Guess she really was the bug in the system…and maybe it deserved to crash and burn…so show that. Don’t just make it all go away because apologies!

Ugh…

Perhaps I am oversimplifying. But it was still poorly done.

Encanto is, in my opinion, a product of our culture.

Fewer and fewer movies and show have any definite meaning now. And fewer and fewer people seem to notice it. We are becoming incapable of discerning structure and payoff in a story.

As long as the label diversity is stamped on something, we swallow any amount of lazy writing, and Hollywood knows we will.

Encanto is a badly written movie that would not have stacked up to a 90s Disney Movie, and they have very weak conflicts usually, but at least hey are clear. Ariel may be kind of a bratty teen, but at least I know why. I know why Aladdin wants to be a prince, even if he’s a liar. I know why Mulan is going to war ( and that is one of the best Disney movies there is).

I don’t know that with Encanto. It would have taken like 1 extra song, and 5 minutes to explain, but it’s not there. They could have cut the unnecessary songs and put in actual story, they could have not rehashed the begging like 3 times for padding. It was fixable. How did someone not say “Uh guys, we didn’t answer any of our own questions in this script…can we like…fix that?”

But no one cars, becuase diversity!

I can’t say I see what a magic house really has to do with Columbian culture. Or how themes that are so clearly modern are really representing what makes it special. Kind of the running joke of representation in Disney is that it’s…you know, based in fictional countries, so you can’t really represent real ethnic groups…

I mean, people complain about how all the old movies had white characters…but they were stories form Europe, of course they could have white characters. Whenever the movie were set in other countries, they changed the ethnicity…I never really saw the issue. People just like to complain.

And I don’t mind if a movie is set in a Mexican, or Colombian culture, if it’s good. I enjoy movies like that.

But I won’t approve bad writing just because it was packaged in a nice look, and fun songs.

I’m sure it would be fun to watch Encanto, but it has no meaning. It is gutless, it doesn’t commit to any one message, because it doesn’t have to to be liked, and the creators knew that.

But I think this in underminding our chilrend’s abilty to tell when there even is a emssage in osmeitng.

Implied messages that are not stated are usually called propaganda. Subtle, but propaganda. When a message is boldly stated, it opens itself up to criticism.

But if it’s vague, you can’t really criticize it. So it is gutless, but the implicates are enough to squeeze it by the virtue signalling SJWS, so they think it has meaning.

If you still think I’m being too harsh, I challenge you to take Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Moana, take a pen, and write down each main element of those movies. each character’s conflict…and then how the movie resolved it.

I defy you to find a way it really was fleshed out. It’s implied, that’s all. Implications don’t help us in real life. People need actual ideas if they will change.

But if you can feed yourself with colorful, but empty visions of meaning, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re being cultured, but you are really being conditioned.

Encanto is not evil or bad in of itself, so much as it is just lazy, but what scare me is it never would have been praise so much a few decades ago, and now it’s haled as top tier.

A Goofy Movie did family conflict better, sue me.

Well, I think I have ranted enough, this movie is not horrible to watch, but I can’t endorse anything it says, as it says nothing whatsoever. That’s my verdict. Watch it for a good time, but don’t expect any substance, and you’ll be fine.

Try Brave or Frozen if you want the exact same message but with an actual message. Or any of the renaissance era movies.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

What I learned from Fasting

It’s the new year everybody!

Yay!

I haven’t made my list yet, not sure what I want to happen this year.

But my church always does a 21 day fast at the start of the year.

I don’t really fast food, I think I might be hypoglycemic, not eating makes me feel really sick, really fast, and no sugar will have a weird effect on me too.

I’ve tried food fasting in the past and never got beyond 1 day at most, and that was torture.

Sometimes I fast a particular food instead.

But after my scare last year of dropping 15 lbs, and thankfully, gaining them all back, I have decided to just be happy to eat normally.

So, I tend to fast things like movies, TV shows, or writing too much.

Fasting could really just be called abstaining since it’s not always about food and water.

While it’s gotten a bad rap thanks to the rise of bulimia and Eating Disorders, fasting isn’t unhealthy when it’s done in the right proportions. It cleanses your system, uses up excess sugars, and for most people, won’t make you feel all that bad. (I’m an unfortunate exception.)

While fasting is not commanded per sec to Christians, Jesus said that his followers would fast when he was no longer with them. Which would be now.

Not every godly character in the Bible fasted, but many prophets, kings and judges did.

While I have no fasted food that often, I have learned somethig just from what I do fast.

And I thought it might be worht writing about.

True Confession:

I’ve alwas been terrible at the prayer and worship part of fasting. I’m told that’s why I haven’t had better success with it.

I used to try it and felt no different, so I didn’t bother.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be demanded to do things. So my relationship with Spiritual Discipline has always been tempestuous. Either I got carried way denying myself because it was so counter-intuitive, or I didn’t do it at all.

I still struggle with that.

Spiritual Discipline has been neglected a lot in the Western Church. My church does practice it and encourage a handful of them, but there’s a bunch we don’t really address either.

I hear Catholics do some, but most Catholics I’ve met weren’t serious enough about the faith for me to ask them about it.

I know that one discipline is silence and another is solitude. That’s hard now. We almost never have to be alone with our thoughts.

Actually that’s where I found fasting things like TV and movies to be helpful.

I have images and sounds playing through my memory all day, every day.

I had that before I had TV, honestly. The same things used to happen with books. We have to have something to fill up our thoughts.

Better that then anxiety. I suffered from anxiety so much in the past, even as a kid, I used to use books to escape, then I used TV. Now I use writing as well.

None of those things are bad, but you get to rely on them too much. They aren’t perfect substitutes for God. But they do distract you.

When you give that up, even for three days, the difference is immense.

24 hours without TV and I feel like a different person usually. A whole week, and it’s like I’m more clear.

Already, in the last three days, I’ve been bored, listless, and blue ( not fasting TV, but I don’t think yo all need to know what I’m giving up. It’s a private matter, I’m just using TV as an easy example.)

I fill up my days so much with this thing, I don’t know what to do without it. I push aside prayer, worship, and even physical exercise because I do it so much.

It’s too much and I know that, but I don’t want to stop.

Fasting can be like a self chosen intervention.

It’s never easy, but because I have been doing it for years, I do escape the lie many people believe, which is that it’s not possible.

I learned at a young age to use self control because of fasting. Not perfectly, but at a level most kids don’t reach. Most adults don’t either. How many of us really try to control ourselves from giving into urges.

Heck, they tell us that’s unhealthy now.

It’s really not. Most doctors would probably tell you you should not give in to every urge you have all the time. Especially if you’re an addict.

I was watching a YT video last week “Why you’ll marry the wrong person” and this man was saying that we’re all addicts to something, whatever we use to keep from being alone with ourselves.

I felt a little called out, to be honest.

I used to be okay with being alone with myself, but it got to where I had anxiety every time I was alone with my thoughts.

But then again, that could be just a result of overstimulating myself so much to begin with.

Our brains get addicted to screens, and if we get off them for a brief time, we can feel withdrawal. We’re not necessarily depressed, so much as we’re empty.

You can tell because the depresison goe waway while you’re on the screen, but ocmes back once you’ve been off for five minutes. That’s addiction.

Some addiction to screens is inevitable for us, like some dependence on sugar is.

But there is a way to cut down on your absolute dependence it, and for that, fasting is ideal.

Also turn on the blue light filter on your screen if you have one, that helps, the blue light is addictive and stressfull.

I used to be very judgmental of people who were on their phones all the time, till I got a smartphone. Then I understood.

I don’t play games on mine, in an effort to stay on it less. But I do edit, and read web comics on it. I do use it to play music. And I’m not even as bad as I used to be.

Cutting back on it is hard. And if I’m not on my phone, I’m on my laptop, like I am right now.

I still read real books, though, and it’s amazinghow revitalized your brain feels after a few chapters if you stick it out.

Since I started this fast, I’m both more tired at night, and more ready to go to bed on time. Less stimulation to keep me up. My sisters too. We’ve gone to bed at 1 AM for months, but since I started this, we’ve been going to bed by 12 am or even before 11 pm. Go figure.

I’m not anti-screen. I do like moives, and I like being able to write faster and edit faster on a screen. It’s a nice thing.

But I am against being mastered by anything, as Paul or Peter wrote in the bible. All things are lawful for us, but not all things are helpful.

My family has always been against a lot of technology in our lives, my mom didn’t all of us to have a TV. And she was against having a computer that played movies for years.

I can see why, my Dad got addicted to it as soon as we got it, and to video games.

I almost ended up that way too.

But when I was 13-14, I started fasting. Actually I think I started at 12.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and some stuff makes me cringe now, but the effort was there. And when I did that, I learned to control myself and my urges to play on that computer.

Also seeing my dad’s addictive behavior scared the crap out of me.

Years later, it’s still a temptation, but it’s not as big of one. I can abstain if I want to. It’s good to refresh that every once in a while.

I worked it out.

I think God put me on the path just for that reason.

And while my mental health is not always as good as I wish, it’s much better than most of the people I know, and they don’t all have that practice. My critical thinking ability is also far better, as is my reading comprehension.

I don’t believe this would be so rare, if we had more limits to our screen time. The kids I know whose parents limit their screen intake a lot are much smarter and usually better behaved. I know my sisters and I were better behaved for our babysitters as kids.

It is what it is.

Fasting taught me to set rules for myself even if my parents no longer did it for me. I think my mom taught me restraint, having limits to desserts, TV, and game time. And in turn I learned to employ it on myself.

With lots of prayer also.

It’s now been almost 2 weeks of my fast, (this post is late because I got sick), and so far, it’s not yielded miraculous results.

But you know, I don’t really think it needs to. I used to think that fasting would always be like the big ones in the Bible. Spiritual awakening, breakthrough, seeing visions, or whatever.

It’s easy to forget that fasting was regularly practiced as a reminder to focus on God, and things that are more important than our physical comfort.

For me, sacrificing just one of the many distractions I fill up my time with, reminds me that I can live without that thing.

We have a very desperate culture now. People often “jokingly” say that they won’t kill themselves just so they can find out what happens next in their favorite anime, TV show, or web-series.

I knew MHA was becoming a little too important to me when the news that season 5 would be delayed made me feel suicidal for a second. I hadn’t realized how contagious that way of thinking is.

And we should call it what it is, idolatry. We’re worshiping these shows.

Some people aren’t even subtle about it, they call the creators their “lord and savior.”

Is it supposed to be a joke? Maybe.

Ever notice that some things can be a joke, but still totally serious also.

See, worship isn’t always about thinking something is worth devoting your life and purpose too.

The Bible mocks and reproaches people who bow to wood, and stone, and gold gods. Saying that they will use half a block of wood to burn, but the other half to make a god, and will bow to it.

God apparently finds this ridiculous. And so do we, on paper.

But we’ll devote endless hours of time to 2D characters and mediocre story writing, just because it’s our crap, you know…and we know it’s crap, or it’s not real, but we don’t care. How is that really different from burning half the material we made our god from?

You can use firewood and not worship it, and you can watch shows and not worship them–but, if you’re surrounding yourself with people who do, it’s so easy to become twisted by that. I know plenty of Christians who compromise their morals for shows.

And maybe I have t oo, much to my shame.

I’ve cut way back on my anime viewing, I think my craze is dying down. I still enjoy a few, like any other medium. I did the same with Webtoon. I read it like crazy at first, but inevitably, it didn’t satisfy me, and now I just read a few episodes on an average day, sometimes none at all. Take me maybe 10-20 minutes. That’s probably harmless.

I confess, I make the same mistakes as everyone else. I think that my need for emotional fulfillment can be met by fiction. Even in creating my own.

And what is an idol, but fiction? It’s a fictional god, isn’t it? Back before we had common forms of entertainment, worshiping an idol was a nice distraction…people used to worship idols by having sex, did you know that? Not too different from anime and it’s fan service, and husbands and waifus, now is it?

Except you can’t actually have sex with an anime character, so we’ve traded something that was at least partially real, for an even more twisted version of it.

I mean, having a crush on a fictional character is normal, but…the kind of stuff people do to fetish-ize it…that’s not normal (and I don’t crush on fictional characters as it is.)

What I’m saying is that, when you get caught up in this temptation to worship and go after other things, a fast may be the best way to recenter yourself.

Mine hasn’t changed my whole life, but it changes a small part of it. I have to think about God a little more, and remember that what I’m fasting was not enough for me anyway.

And while I may not feel high off of God’s spirit right now, and fasting doesn’t always make me feel closer to God, I have learned that it’s not necessarily the purpose of fasting to do that. It can, and I have seen a slight improvement from it…but fasting is to re-evaluate priorities, and realize your mistakes.

I realize, I have mistakenly made certain things too important in my life. I realize that I need to think more about how I spread God’s word, and His message.

I realize that the ways I do it, like through writing this blog, may not be how I wish I could (I love writing, but I love interacting with people in person also) but it is available to me.

I may never know if it really helped anyone or not, but I can put it out there, that’s all we can do.

I am reminded that whatever else changes in my life, God is my constant.

And, I am reminded that all the things of this world are temporary.

Time was that the thought of losing one of my distractions would give me a panic attack.

And I own’t say I wouldn’t be upset now, but now I do stop myself and think “But if that happens, I still have other interests, and God can still use me in other ways, and I’ll get through it. It won’t be the end of me.”

I realize I am unique in having this understanding, not because I am especially good or free of temptation, but because I made it a practice to go without things for years, and to learn that I could bear not having them. You can live without anything, just about.

And I guess that is what I learned from fasting, to sum it up.

I hope this was interesting or even helpful to you.

If you now feel like you may want to try fasting yourself, I am no authority on it, but I do suggest starting small. Try 1-3 days of fasting a food or item or hobby.

If you think you can, try a week or even two weeks of no TV or whatever your addiction is.

You can also set aside one day to not watch TV or be on your phone, I’ve done this, with pretty good results. Brain break, right?

Another thing to try is setting aside an hour or half an hour each day to just not be on your phone, and to have fewer distractions, quiet time.

If you can get up to a month or even more than that, that’s about the Bible’s usual limit, 40 days. Anything longer than that is more of a lifestyle change than a fast, but a fast is a great time to ask yourself if you do need to make this a permanent change in your life.

And don’t brag about fasting, Jesus warned us not to do that. Only tell people who will need to know just so they know not to tempt you. Like I may refrain form making cookies while my sister or mom is fasting sugar, or I may not talk about shows or YouTube vids if they are fasting that. It’s different for everyone.

If you can, fast with your family, makes it easier to stick to it.

Remember also, something doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you fast it, it just has to be a problem for you. Don’t preach at other people that they shouldn’t partake of the thing you’re fasting from, unless they are rubbing it in your face, it’s really none of your business what they do.

Other than that, the rules are up to you and God. I’m just laying out the groundwork for how the Bible says to treat fasting. Not to be depressed about it.

Really, God would rather us not fast at all it would seem if we can’t do it with a good attitude. Repenting during a fast is okay, normal and expected. But whining about it is just annoying.

(And I need to watch myself for that too, I’m realizing. Wry comments can so easily become complaints.)

With that, I think I’ll leave you to decide, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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