Last month our pastor called the church to do a Daniel Fast (eat only veggies, fruit, nuts, & beans - no dairy, no meat, no breads with yeast, etc - drink only water) as a time to pray for our country, community, church and families. Over the years, I have studied different types of fasting, but had never done a Daniel Fast. I usually just do a water-only fast for a day or so and usually fast alone. So, this church-wide fast was intriguing to me. Right off the bat Benjamin didn't want anything to do with it! "Nope. Not interested."
But my teens surprised us by being interested and willing to participate with Drew and I. They amazed us! They both had it a little harder than Drew or I because they can't have any nuts or nut products due to allergies and as much as I have tried to get them to like beans over the years, they both HATE beans. Thankfully, they like brown rice, a few veggies and fruit - lots of fruit and oatmeal they ate! We did learn that William gets incredible grumpy when he's hungry....poor thing!
I think out of all of us Melissa was tempted more than the rest of us. She was offered pizza and chips at several end-of-school parties and events. In fact, Saturday afternoon one of her friends was hosting a swim party and Melissa decided not to go. She said," I just can't face pizza again. AND! There's gonna be cake pops....CAKE POPS!!" So, I took her and one of her fasting friends shopping then they just hanged out at our house. They held strong! Very moving to see the Lord working in our teenagers' lives.
During this fast, a quote from the book The Heavenly Man in which Brother Yun talks about starving in a prison, "...their stomachs become their god..." You only have to watch a few episodes of Survivor to see what people will do for food - even if it means risking their chance at a million dollars. There's so much in our lives that revolve around food - good and bad. So much celebrations...but, also, so much junk and habits...many bad habits. Doing without my normal food options during these 21 days, has made me think how many times I just eat without thinking....purely out of habit or boredom. And what I'm eating: mainly junk. It seems that we have traded in wholesomeness and nutrition for convenience in modern day America.
If you had ask me if I could go 21 days without chocolate or coffee or bacon or a cookie or other dessert, I probably would have said "NO" nice and loud!(I love sugar!) But I did. But only because I had Someone else's strength. Being able to walk passed the cake in the teacher's lounge or not pull out the cheese or not order a hamburger wasn't in my nature. It's the Lord's nature. He gave me strength. He showed me that I can do what I didn't think was possible. He, also, showed me how much I do out of pure habit. Makes me think what else do I do out of habit instead of being intentional.
The Lord is very intentional with us. I think He wants us to be intentional, as well. Be intentional as we love others - make a point to pass on the love He has showered on us. And make no mistake - no matter how you live, He has showered you with His love.
As we broke the fast Monday, Drew and I have decided to continue some things....be intentional about our eating - add more fruits and veggies...be careful about the junk (trash) food we allow in the house. (After all, if it's in the house, we WILL eat it!) I will say, we both thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast of eggs, cheese and bacon! (REAL bacon - not turkey, but REAL yummy BACON!) The teens were so ready to break their fast that they stayed up to midnight to eat! Drew and I like our sleep....I guess we're getting old!
If you have never done a Daniel Fast, I encourage you to look into it. It has been a wonderful way for us to grow closer to the Lord and to feel His strength and love.