When I saw A Woman’s Guide to Fasting by Lisa E. Nelson among my review options, I was hesitant. We seem to have a plethora of books on spiritual disciplines, and many of them are unnecessary fluff. But, I am thrilled to say that Nelson’s book is anything but fluff. It is a simple, practical, straightforward book that lives up well to its given title.
In A Woman’s Guide to Fasting, Lisa E. Nelson works very methodically and practically through foundational physical and spiritual elements of fasting. She describes various types and lengths of fasting, discusses how a fast impacts your body and daily life, and outlines precautions to take in both preparing for and coming out of a period of fasting.
There are many strengths to A Woman’s Guide to Fasting.
- Scripture is used heavily, as it should be. But, it isn’t forced. Nelson did not decide to write a book on fasting and then head to the Bible for all of the passages she could find on the topic. Instead, she has devoted herself to Bible study for years, and as she has studied it, God has infused His Word into all aspects of her life. So, Scripture literally seems to flow from her pen as she writes about her topic.
- Fasting is not isolated. Nearly every chapter weaves in other aspects of spiritual growth and discipline, reminding the reader that we are whole spiritual beings and that our growth is interwoven in every aspect. Nelson’s insights into other areas of spiritual growth are solid and well-grounded.
- Nelson is as firm about reasons not to fast as she is about reasons to fast. She reminds her readers that going without food is not fasting – it is just going without food. In fact, she points out several ways that fasting can actually be sinful. Fasting is something to be done in full submission and obedience to the Lord.
- There are many instances in which the reader is reassured that she is no less spiritual for not fasting or for having different results and experiences when fasting. I greatly appreciated the balance between urging fasting and reminding that full obedience to Christ is essential above all – even if that means never fasting.
There was one chapter “missing” in my opinion. Nelson did discuss interacting with other people during a fast, but there are some aspects to immediate family interaction that I would have loved to see her delve into. How do you explain to preschoolers why Mommy isn’t eating with the family? If a daily family meal is an integral portion of your family dynamics, how do you blend that with an extended fast? What are some solid tips for making sure you don’t isolate yourself from your family during this time? These questions and more – and their answers – will, of course, greatly vary from family to family. So, I do not find this “missing” chapter to be a deficiency in the book. It is simply something I found myself wishing to see.
A Woman’s Guide to Fasting is a quick, easy read, and is truly the type of book to keep on the shelf as a guide. The chapters are divided well, and the table of contents is created for ease of quick reference. This is definitely a book I would recommend.
This book was sent to me in exchange for my honest review.