Five Things I learned from a Forty-Day Fast

veggiesFasting… one of the spiritual disciplines we don’t always practice or teach about. Some might consider it the lost discipline.

If we are honest, I’m not good at fasting on a regular basis – I need to be but I’m not. Recently I dove into my second Daniel Fast. Years ago, I saw the Lord do amazing things in my life through setting apart thirty days to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water ONLY. It was sweet time with the Lord but honestly it was rather isolating for my life style as a college minister.

Recently, I embarked on this journey for second time. My purpose was to gain control of some areas in my life that felt like they were on the tilt-a-whirl. After ten months of trips home, waiting for diagnoses, dealing with and talking about cancer my world was upside down.  From eating habits, to time at the gym, to taking time to rest, and my daily time with the Lord…. I didn’t know which end was up.

So, forty days of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water. I made a few adjustments this time – which was not easy for a person who loves rules – I allowed myself fish and shrimp occasionally and two cups black coffee a day. Just breaking “the rules” was hard on my heart but I knew it was needed in order to not make a big deal of the fast with all the was on my calendar. Some moments I think I could write a whole book on what God taught me but for now here are five things that have captivated my heart.

  1. The condition of my heart is more important than adhering to a self-imposed rule – God looks at my heart. (Y’all, everything in me tightens in knots against this still… I’m learning and God is so gracious in that pursuit.)
  2. When I can’t see a promise coming to fruition I can still trust the Promise Maker. He is a Good Father who gives good gifts to His children, yet His timing is perfect, not mine.
  3. God changes me, my outlook, priorities, and heart, by time with Him.
  4. God speaks, oh so clearly, and I can chose to listen to Him, obey His commands, mourn over my sin, turn to Him, or to simply ignore His voice and do my own thing. It is MY choice…
  5. God has purpose in the waiting.

The result of those forty days is a schedule that is prioritized, loving (again) time with my journal and the Word of God, and a settled spirit in the waiting. I needed time to be still, listen, and be directed (time and time again throughout the day) to the Lord.

How are you with fasting? Is there something you have found that is helpful, maybe a tip you would pass on to the rest of us? If you struggle with fasting maybe you could give it a try! I promise it’s worth every minute!

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