It was a few months ago when I felt for the first time God calling me to fast. I was going through a rather tumultuous time with co-workers, my job, and just a general sense of lack of direction. It was then that I read a devotional that talked about Daniel, and I decided I wanted to dive deeper into that book.
Daniel was a pretty awesome dude: not only did he do some amazing things, but he did them all for the Lord. Even his friends were put through the ringer, so to speak, but were brought out of their situations by the one true God. If you haven’t spent time in this book, I would greatly encourage you to.
It was about that time that a friend of mine on Facebook posted about “The Daniel Fast.” I was instantly intrigued. Here was this person that I was striving to be like (Daniel, not the friend, although she is lovely), and there is a spiritual fast based on him. I started doing more research and discovered how widely accepted the fast is, so right then and there I decided I would do the Daniel Fast.
Not only was I intrigued by the idea, I was also excited about the health benefits that were so widely reported in all of the reviews and blogs that I read. I’ve recently realized that I have an unhealthy relationship with food–I eat too much and too often, I eat things that are terribly bad for me (think cheese or dairy at every meal), and my husband and I have created a pattern where we go back and forth between eating out every night and complaining about our weights. I have wanted to get my health under control for a long time (and I’ll probably go into that in another post sometime).
The idea of The Daniel Fast is that it is a selective, or partial fast, which is a limiting or removing of certain foods during the fast. It is based on Daniel chapter 1, and on 10:3 (NIV) which says, “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” So for the span of three weeks, one must eat from an approved list of foods, removing the “choice foods” and pleasantries of food from the diet. I bought the book “The Daniel Fast” by Susan Gregory as my guide, and have been following her approved list of foods here.
And the Lord seemed to be showing me again and again that he wanted me to fast. It didn’t make sense to try to fast for 21-days while my husband and I were traveling all summer, so I waited until we got home. But even in August, when our whirlwind months were over and I was finally able to cook again and be at home, I still didn’t start my fast. First it was work reasons, then it was selfish (my husband was leaving for a week and I wanted to eat everything he hates), then after the month had passed, I plain forgot about my desire to.
Then God placed The Daniel Fast smack right back into my life. At my job, we have an event for Young Adults coming up in October, and one of the main speakers decided to put out a challenge to all of those going: a 21-day fast. Her challenge was vague, but as soon as I heard about it I knew that the Lord once again asking me to take on the fast. So I did, and we officially started Friday.
It’s now been three days, and the first two were alright, but unsuccessful. I laugh to admit it, but I was so sad that my vegan “mac and cheese” tasted so gross that I went out and bought ice cream. I felt so bad about my decision that I had to really sit down last night and ask God to give me strength and guidance.
Holy Spirit, would you please reveal to me the purpose of my Fast?
- Commitment to prayer and Bible study
- Change in how you view food
- Your dependence on me
Lord, what are three things I can change?
- Discipline levels
- Commitment to Writing
So as you can see, the Lord spoke in a very direct and powerful way to me, and all I did was simply ask. Today was the first successful day of my fast, and I’m happy to report that I’ve already spent 45 minutes writing, spent more time than that in my devotions and prayer journal, and finally went a day with following the food restrictions exactly. I wanted so badly to add a dollop of sour cream to the Sweet Potato and Black Bean chili that I made for dinner, but I am more proud of the fact that I said no.
So wish me luck during the next three weeks. I know that once the next few days have passed and my withdrawal to sugar, caffeine, and dairy are complete, this will be an easier and more rewarding practice.
I encourage you to pray about how you can fast and listen to the Lord in the coming months, and if you need a fasting partner, I would be more than happy to do so.
Praying for guidance and direction to your life,