I feel like a 2-year old on the last leg of a 3-hour car trip to Grandma’s, asking every 5 minutes if we’re “there yet”. For me, “there” is tomorrow: the day when I am no longer on my fast and can eat anything I want.Of course, I really want to eat it NOW.
But I won’t. This close to the finish line, I can’t quit the race. (Even though I really want to!)“Focus, Mary…not on the food you can’t have, but on how thankful you are for the awesome results of the past 3 weeks and all the Lord has revealed to you.”
And I am incredibly and overwhelmingly thankful!I set out with goals in mind, and by the Lord’s grace I reached all of them plus one more: I was able to wean off my blood pressure medication.
· Lose weight.
o Check. Lost 15 pounds...partly due to weaning off my medication. The Lord revealed to me and confirmed through others that taking it was partly the cause of my inability to lose weight (not to mention the reason I gained some of it in the first place).
· Sleep better.
o Check. Sleeping well and waking up with more energy.
· Gain energy.
o Check. Despite eating (or drinking) only fruits and vegetables for the past 10 days (I removed nuts and beans for the last half of the fast), I have an amazing amount of energy.
· Think more clearly.
o Check. No more foggy brain.
· Become more at peace.
o Check. One of the rewards of discipline and obedience is a deep inner peace, which is just another way of saying I feel more “in tune” with the Holy Spirit.
The Lord revealed a few surprising things to me about my eating habits.
· I can be an emotional eater. When I was upset or hurting, food was often my comfort.
· I can be a stress eater. You know, fidgety and need something to do with your hands.
· I often snacked out of boredom. Things would be a little slow at work, or I’d be at home in between tasks. My first thought was, “hmmm, I’m hungry for something, what can I eat?”
· I can get through a craving without eating. I don’t have to eat it just because it’s there.
Before this fast, I would have adamantly denied the first two and said “maybe” to the last two.
But looking back, I can see that all of them are true. I am thankful for this new awareness.
The Lord cautioned me through Don not to let the pendulum swing all the way in the other direction.
I shared with Don that there are some foods I should never eat.
“That’s not realistic, Mary. You can’t say never, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.”
“No, I can and I need to! Just like an alcoholic who can never drink, I can never eat these foods.”
“But an alcoholic doesn’t say ‘never’, they stay sober one day at a time.”
For eating, one choice at a time = one pound at a time. The direction of that pound, gain or loss, depends on the choice. My overall direction will come from a series of choices; not from any one particular choice. That means I’m free to enjoy a Magnum bar every now and then; I just can’t make a steady diet out of them.
The best benefit of all was that the Lord reinforced a truth I already know but don’t always practice: live in the present moment. Not one moment ago, not one moment from now, but in this moment. Depend on Him for each choice, day by day and moment by moment. Focus on the choice at hand and how I respond.
Don’t look back at yesterday’s good food choices and say, “I’m doing well, I deserve a treat.”
Don’t look back at yesterday’s bad choices and say “oh well, what’s one more day”.
Don’t get attached to unrealistic expectations…like losing a pound every day.
Do choose wisely today, and trust that I will move toward the goals of better health and all the associated benefits as I learn to be more consistent in making right choices.
And one day, I’ll be able to join Paul in saying, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12, NIV, emphasis mine)
His secret? Verse 13: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Today’s Challenge: Plan a fast of some type and complete it. If you can’t fast food for medical reasons, fast TV, music, or anything else that the Lord may bring to your mind.
I hope you’ve been encouraged by my Daniel Fast reflections. If the Lord has blessed you through a fast, please share!