Day 765: Why I Really, Truly, Honestly Started The 7 Fast

Supposedly.

I’m supposed to be a Pinterest Perfect mother.
I’m supposed to run 5 times a week.
I’m supposed to cook gourmet cuisine every night in my kitchen.
I’m supposed to volunteer at my kids’ schools every week.
I’m supposed to write and manage a fun, trendy, cute blog.
I’m supposed to keep my figure slim and rocket hot.
I’m supposed to…
I’m supposed to…

I’m supposed to.

Most of the time I’m an open book about the things that I’m not doing that I am “supposed” to be doing. I mean, we live in an awesome age where it’s okay, even cool, to be “real”. And that’s the whole reason I created this blog… was to be real with myself and my family and my friends about what I was eating.

But ya know what happened?

My blog got kinda popular.
I started to get, like, a lot of followers.
It felt like people around me were… watching.
Watching and waiting for me to mess up.

And I felt the need to keep up this “everything is great” face sometimes… because otherwise people might not still “believe” in my blog, or they might think I was an internet fake, or… or… or…

But then I gained twenty pounds… in five months.

And I’ll tell ya. You can fake a lot of things but you can’t hide weight gain. Oh, the shame I started to feel. I was like Icarus… I flew so high but now I was falling back down to earth. I was gaining it all back. And fast. I started to decline invitations to go places. I started to search for leggings and long flowy tops to at least attempt to hide it.

And ya know, gaining weight back: it was supposed to really motivate me to get a hold of things, to really buckle down, to make myself change.

And ya know, it kind of did. I started to focus more on balance in my life. I would allow myself to eat a bite of chocolate here or there. I wouldn’t let a binge get me down.

I was starting to feel a bit of peace about this whole food thing.

But then I decided to read this book called 7 (which is awesome and before we go any further allow me to explicitly state: I am not bashing the book) and the first month you do a fast. I chose to only eat the 7 foods (well, I chose ten actually) that Jen Hatmaker ate.

Well, in anticipation of going on this fast, I did what every person would do who struggles with food and binge eating…

I ate everything in the house.

If it was sugar, I wanted it. If it was pizza, I devoured it. If it was bread, or pasta, or a burger, or tacos, or fast food… I was going to get it.

So, realizing that if I kept this up for another week I’d gain another ten pounds, I got all gung ho and started the fast a week early. The first week was awesome! {See my rosy-cheeked post about it on Day 749}

But it backfired.

I started to make a bunch of little allowances (“Oh, I can eat carrots because they’re healthy” and “Well, I can’t say ‘no’ to a piece of cake at Nanny’s house) and then it just sorta crumbled and turned into me saying “Why still fake it? I’m not doing the fast at all anyway.” which turned into “Well, if I’m not fasting then I’m just going to binge, binge, binge.”

Cause I can’t control this.
Cause I’m out of control.
Cause something is wrong with me.

That’s how I felt.

And why?

Why did it all fall apart on me?

Because… I didn’t do that first month of the 7 Fast for God. I didn’t do it to help me understand better the plight of the poor. I didn’t do it for anyone other than myself.

{Alert: Confession coming…}

I did the fast to lose weight.

All because of this one little phrase in Hatmaker’s book from Day 21…

“Do you know what happened this month? After eating only whole foods and virtually no fast food, my pants are falling off.”

I remember almost being disappointed when I read it because I knew… I knew instantly that my motivation had changed from desiring to focus on Him to desiring to focus on me and finally getting my re-gained weight off.

And that simply wasn’t enough of a motivator to keep me going. Doing a fast, under the pretense of doing it to get closer to Jesus, so that I could lose weight? Ick. It just felt wrong…

So, needless to say. I just stopped. I realized that going through the cycle was just making me sicker and sicker emotionally and mentally and spiritually. Best to stop the fast than to be sick at heart.

And stopping allowed me to look again at my motivation… and to see yet another connection in this journey. I think I’m starting to realize what is sabotaging me. What is ruining me.

But… that’s a post for another day.

{I know, sorry… that was just the worst and meanest “cliff hanger” ever! But honestly it mainly because this post is already reallllllly long and that post is gonna take another chunk of time! Look for it… realistically, on Monday!}

I’m not sure that this post is really spiritually helpful for anyone else, but in a way, I think this part of my journey will prove to be integral to my eventual healing and I wanted it documented. So, thanks for indulging me!

Day 618: A Fast Delivery {Don’t Worry, It’s Not About Having a Baby}

seek me and find me jeremiah

I’m a Daniel Fast groupie.

Can’t help it… my first Daniel Fast just completely and totally changed my life because it introduced me to the “idea” of covenanting with God about what I eat.

Plus, it was the first time I’d ever tried a diet that was even remotely vegetarian, and I learned that I really liked being vegetarian. Even if it was only because then I wouldn’t have to worry about meat spoiling before I used it, cross contamination of the meat and all the juices, remembering to defrost meat for dinner that night (I was perpetually forgetting to do this), and just overeating on meat altogether!

But… all of that is wonderful and great, but really… really, a Daniel Fast has so very little to do with the food.

I mean, we make it that way.

But it’s really… about Him.

Daniel wasn’t going on a fast because he had food issues like most of us. He was fasting because, like, the whole nation was about to be obliterated!

Quick reread if it’s been a while: Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship. When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed. Daniel 10:1-3

And that’s why we are doing this… we are trying to break away from our typical eating in order to be drawn to God in prayer. For us, it is because we are in mourning because of the WAR we have against our own bodies and our, seemingly, unquenchable desires to eat junk… and because we are mourning the HARDSHIPS that we endure with this struggle with food: being overweight, feeling stuffed, and the worst: our inability to stop ourselves from eating what we don’t. even. want. to eat.

So, friends… sure, change up your diet. But really… make sure you are changing up your prayer and bible routines. Spend these days of fasting focusing on God and on His ability to deliver you.

Because He WILL deliver you from this. He WILL bring you back. It may take time, but He is faithful. Remember what He says:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:13-14

Day 430: I Never Want To Eat Again

You know, I’ve said this phrase before.

“I never want to eat again.”

But in the past it always came from overeating and then being so stuffed I could hardly move or to the point where I would make myself sick (quite literally, sick) from eating too much or too much junk.

But at the end of my three day fruit fast, I felt so great (in a weird I’m-really-hungry kind of way) that I was like…

I love this feeling. I love feeling light and not weighed down by food. I love feeling hungry every once in a while. I love feeling lean and simple. Gosh…… I never want to eat again. I always want to feel just. this. way.

Okay, okay… this is me being EXTREMELY over dramatic. Cause trust me, when we had a huge family breakfast with my husband’s entire family yesterday morning (my first morning off of the fast), I definitely WANTED to eat (and, I did)!

It’s more so the fact that there was not only a lot less FOOD in my body, but there was a lot less BAGGAGE in my soul. Three days of being completely and utterly free from the pull of chocolate and bread. Three days of just wanting healthy food. Three days of refocusing on him every time I ate an orange (and I ate A LOT of oranges over those three days).

And it just reminded me of these words of Jesus:

Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Day 231: No Time To Eat

A lot of the past 8 months has been spent thinking about fasting. thinking about not eating food. thinking about denying myself. thinking about God changing me.

But I recently reread this bit of scripture and it has been sticking with me:

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer. `Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. Isaiah 58:6-10

I wonder if a little more of THIS kind of fasting is what I need. Ha- probably because if I was working on doing all of that, I wouldn’t even have time to eat!!!

Day 214: Fasting 101

Day 11 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

Well, I should have worked on my post during nap but I really just wanted to play dress up… and that turned into a little closet kriya… which turned into a big closet kriya.

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But it feels good to have done it! Although most of the stuff came from my top tier of clothes (like they are my winter clothes and my don’t-fits, so they are up extra high and I have to use a ladder to get up there) so the main part of my itty bitty closet doesn’t look that different!

What I really wanted to write about were some thoughts that I was having this afternoon right after lunch. I was super craving something… decadent. I think it is because I saw the tupperware of leftover chocolate no-bake cookie bars that I made the other night for my book club. They were apparently really, reallllly good. And well, they have peanut butter and chocolate in them. That combo is like flipping kryptonite to me!

And I just kept thinking about them. and thinking about them. and thinking about them.

I finally got up and mixed some peanut butter and raisins together as a “treat” (which I really do enjoy) but I wish now I hadn’t even done that. I wasn’t hungry. I was trying to fulfill a desire that was all in my mind… not fulfilling a physical need for nutrients. Humph. Oh well.

But I did start thinking about what Daniel said in the verses that inspire most Daniel Fasters (in Daniel 10)… he said that he ate “no rich foods”.

Soooooo why no rich, choice, tasty foods for his fast?

I guess when you deny yourself of something “rich” then you are reminded of sacrifice. Like, when I want a chocolate no-bake cookie bar and then I realize “Oh, I can’t have one…” it forces me to think of my sacrifice. of my choice to abstain. And those thoughts make me remember who drove me to abstain. and why He led me down that path.

And that leads to an opportune time to pray over whatever it is that God motivated me to fast about instead of thinking about something earthly like a chocolate no-bake cookie bar.

Maybe all of this was like a review for those of you who are well studied in the art of fasting, but I guess 214 days in, I needed a little bit of a reminder as to the who, what, where, and when of it all.

Day 126: Evil Eats

So more and more I discover another friend is doing the covenant and every time I hear that I get excited for them… for the possibilities of what God can do in them.

At first I was a little… bummed… that a lot of these people were doing the covenant and yet they didn’t want anyone to know. I guess, in a weird way, I took it the wrong way… I took it along the lines of it was them saying that they didn’t really like it, or they didn’t really think it was a good idea, or whatever.

I know some people wanted their “silence” to be along the lines of a secret fasting like the bible encourages.

But some people didn’t have that as a reason to not tell. Then the more I thought about how I felt about it at first, I kind of realized that it could be that people weren’t ashamed of me or my idea… they were ashamed of themselves.

Again, not everyone has the same motivations for doing the covenant. I think some are into it because they want to covenant with God to honor their bodies… the weight loss and/or breaking food addictions is not their priority.

But for the people that are addicted or feeling like they want to lose weight, then they might feel that doing a covenant like this implies that they have lost control and need God’s help over some area of their life.

And, well, a lot of us don’t particularly like to admit that we need help. Not from friends. Not from family. And certainly not from God.

And then this chunk of verses got my attention:

In the past you were slaves to sin, and goodness did not control you. You did evil things, and now you are ashamed of them. Those things only bring death. But now you are free from sin and have become slaves of God. This brings you a life that is only for God, and this gives you life forever. The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23

I know that we don’t often think of eating too much as being “evil” but really when you think about it, God views everything as “right” or “wrong”…… “good” or “evil”. I looked up “evil”, I noticed it’s antonym (cut me some slack… I’m a former English teacher… annnnnnnd a bit of a nerd. I kind of like definitions and whatnot)…

It’s the opposite of righteous.

And dishonoring this body that God has given me… well, that’s definitely not what I would call righteous… therefore, it is evil. And really when I look back and some of the ways that I have treated this body He has given me… well… it was just pure evil. Satan had a hold on me that was fierce and the little bugger was working hard to keep me weighed down… both literally and spiritually. The way I was treating my body is just like the verse above says, “Those things only bring death.”

Not saying that eating right will give me eternal life… heck no. Only my Jesus will give me that. There are some people that eat well their entire lives and die of cancer at 37. And there are people that eat heinously and live to see 97. But I know that God has made rules and guidelines for a reason… self-control does lend itself to so many things that can help a body live longer… and I want to live a long time. If He has implied that I can live longer if I live with self-control and peace, then by golly, sign me up.

Day Fifty-Seven: Facebook Fail

I hate to say this, but fasting from Facebook for Lent has been really, really good for me.

Yes, I’ll admit… I got on there last Thursday in a desperate attempt to use my social network to find the much loved Tigger stuffed animal that my son threw out of the car window at a local intersection. But other than that I haven’t gotten on there.

But just like fasting from food certain foods (and yes, this will tie into my covenant diet in a second), I find that I very quickly just tried to replace my Facebooking habits with another app. Just like I mentioned here when I tried to replace my chocolate addiction with another addiction to bread. Which is interesting, and goes a step to confirm that what I’m dealing with here is not so much about which foods I eat but something deeper. Which is also why I think that a lot of my struggles and successes with Christ have worked to help a few blog followers that aren’t even struggling with food… but other addictive issues. Or, “replacement” issues… like we are trying to replace the power of Christ with something else. Hmmmmm, I don’t know. Sorta rambling there! Haha!

Anyway, the point. Yes, the point…

So, the main reason that I chose Facebook to fast from during Lent was because Facebook is in the same location as one of my Bibles: on my iPhone. And now whenever I pick up my phone when I have a spare minute to do… something, anything, whatever… if I look at my Bible app and think, “Nah.” Then I automatically “require” of myself to say “Yes” and read my Bible. Even if I already finished my reading for the day (which, by the way, I’m going through this study plan to read through the Bible and it has been great! You read for five days of the week and then get two days “off” to read something else, or in my case, to catch up).

Okay, January, that’s just great… now, how does that apply to the covenant diet?

Yes, yes… of course. Well, as I keep saying, I think that the biggest part of “my” success has been the bible reading that I have been doing throughout this experience. Over and over again the way that God reaches down into my life and “saves” me has been through a verse or story from the Word of God. So, fasting from Facebook has had a triple reward: a) I’m not on Facebook all the time which is just good in and of itself, b) I’m getting to read a lot more of the Bible, c) all the extra Bible reading has worked its way into helping with a renewing and refocusing of my mind and, in turn, helping relieve me of my addiction.

So, as much as I love Facebook to share stuff with, I’m starting to wonder if Facebook is a Fail…

Day Forty-Six: Processed Ponderings

I have been amazed at how quickly being on a hard-core Daniel Fast has shown me that I was a bit more dependent upon processed foods than I realized. Yesterday I was a little shocked at how little I had to eat in the house. None of it was “horrible” for me per se, but there is just a sea of pretzel chips, pastas, rice, breads, cheese, eggs, etc that I kept trying to revert to at my meal and snack times.

Granted, I really need to go to the store to get some more fruit options. I find myself not wanting grapes (which will work out fine because my youngest lovvvvvvves them), but I tend to really enjoy cantaloupe, pineapple, apples, clementines, raisins, peanuts, avocados, and carrots as my “easy-to-eat” options. My favorite “cooked” thing is certainly potatoes! Yummmmmm! And I just ran out of La Madeline’s Tomato Basil soup which is deeeeelish.

I bring up all of those foods to remind myself that even though I might have felt like this was an incredible sacrifice, it’s actually quite yummy. I think I’ll even purposefully do a “Hard-Core Daniel Day” each week for the duration of my covenant just to refocus my mind off of processed “easy” foods.

But also… you know, the point of “Lenting” is to focus my mind entirely on Christ, and my mind often goes to Him fasting in the desert for 40 days.

Let me break that down for ya.

NO. FOOD. FOR. FORTY. DAYS.

I cannot even imagine that. I can’t even remember the last time I went one day without food much less FORTY. And in the hot, dry desert.

And ya know, now that I think about it. I can’t remember why He did that.

Time to read…

Okay, I’m back.

So, the Bible says in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that Jesus was led into the wilderness by the spirit.

And then I read about Elijah and Moses’s 40 Day Fasts as well (thanks to seeing it on a Wikipedia page when I was looking for a scripture reference). Elijah was sorta “forced” into it by the spirit because he was running away from Jezebel and had to walk for 40 days through the desert going to Mount Sinai. But again, he was led by the spirit.

Moses was also sorta “trapped” up on the mountain with God for 40 days while God tapped out the Ten Commandments for the covenant. Annnnnd again, led by the spirit or in his case he was told directly by God himself to stick around!

But here is what I think is cool about each of these… being led by the spirit to fast may come with 40 days of trial, but it always ends up TOTALLY RAD. Check this:

Moses – doesn’t eat for 40 days but he is chillin with God Almighty – COMES DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN GLOWING WITH GOD’S GLORY!!!

Elijah – doesn’t eat for 40 days while he has to walk across the desert – AND THEN GOD TALKS TO HIM DIRECTLY AND TELLS HIM JUST WHAT TO DO!!!

Jesus – doesn’t eat for 40 days in the desert – GIVES SATAN THE SMACK DOWN AND HAS ANGELS BRING HIM FOOD!

So, all of that to say, a fast might be difficult, but at the end of 40 days… God’s Power, God’s Voice And Direction, and God’s Strength To Resist Temptation… is there.

That’s about the coolest thing that I have ever had to look forward to!

(If you are confused thinking, “Wait, I thought you were already doing a Daniel Fast?” I’m doing what I call a “flexible Daniel Fast” for the year, but for the Lenten season I will do a regular ol’ Daniel Fast… which I call a “Hard-Core Daniel Fast” because only fruits, veggies, and nuts… that is hard core! You can read a little about the differences here. And you can also read my post where I realized I should do a “Hard-Core Daniel Fast” for Lent.)