Back in the beginning of December 2018 I made a decision to participate in the Daniel Fast at the start of 2019. This would be my fourth year undertaking the fast, and to be quite honest, I was really looking forward to it.
By the end of 2018 I had amassed an impressive assortment of questions pertaining to every area of my life; personal, professional, relationships, financial, physical, spiritual. And while I have full faith in God coming through according to His timing, a part of me seems to continuously search for that fast forward button. From my past experience I knew it was time for the fast because nothing slows me down more than fasting.
Fasting is a period of time where you temporarily give up something to make space for God. I realize that sounds strange, as in what could making space for God possibly have to do with food? Nothing really.
Except that going on the Daniel Fast helps my heart to remember what or who is my first priority. It seems so small, does God really care about whether or not I eat a piece of that cake or if I have one slice of pizza on Saturday night? No, He doesn’t. Remember Jesus’s words in Matthew,
“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” v.15:11
What God does care about though is that above having a slice of pizza or a piece of my favorite dessert, I desire to honor my commitment to Him most. It’s not to say I do not feel the temptation to cheat or bend the rules a bit, but that above those temptations He comes first.
Being on the fast reminds my heart of who my hope is in, who I turn to when nothing feels right or who I cry to when I am not sure where the journey leads. By continuously having to remember what I cannot eat on the fast and preparing meals, I am continuously reminded of a God who would cherish such a seemingly small sacrifice. Everything He has ever done and I struggle giving up tea, chocolate and coffee for 21 days.
Actually back at the beginning of December last year I decided I would extend my fast past the 21 day period (reflective of Daniel’s fast which was 3 weeks long) and go until noon on February 4th. This date may seem random but for me it is a date which will set all of 2019, and my future, unto one path or another. I knew I would need the extra weeks to ensure my heart remained focused and my eyes stayed fixed as Jesus led me across the water, reminding me that He is the one who ultimately sets my path.
And that is why I fast, and love it when I do.
It’s not a diet, there is no way I would still have Christmas candy if this was just a diet where I was answerable to only myself. Not to say the health benefits are not great, because the doctor’s will tell you they are, but they are an added bonus.
It’s not a way to earn “bonus points” and get on God’s “really” good side so He will answer all my prayers accordingly. The reality is that God answers all prayer in His time and according to His purpose. No, fasting doesn’t change God’s mind but instead it changes our hearts.
All those questions I had accumulated over 2018 I have been able to lay at His feet, and leave them there. I have handed over every burden. I don’t have answers because I don’t need them. All I need to know is that He is in control and therefore there is nothing to fear. Despite the storms and the waves my eyes are fixed on HIm and He who is always faithful will bring me through.
There are several different fasts. Different time frames, from hours to days to weeks to months. And it’s not always food related, maybe a social media fast or tv fast or just a caffeine fast would be best. The key is to choose one thing you will miss throughout your allotted time without it and then when you do miss it be reminded of your ultimate why. You made a commitment. Be reminded of who you made that commitment to, a commitment which in reality seems so small compared to all He has committed to and accomplished for us.
If you are like me you will be surprised to find that fasting isn’t really something we do that “benefits” God. No, it is actually something which we benefit from in ways we never fathomed before we begun.
One more thing, after every fast in the Bible there was a celebration. I can already feel the joy bubbling up not because I have received any answers but because I am the daughter of a King who loves me uncompromisingly and who hears all my cries. What have I to fear knowing that ultimately that whatever I face is not a permanent state and that something better than I could ever imagine is on the horizon.
**Thank you Kate Remmer on Unsplash for the photo!