Daniel Fast: My Thoughts and Experience

Daniel Fast: My Thoughts and Experience

Yep, I did thing this January. I did the Daniel fast. First, let’s back up. Every year, our church begins January with 21 days of prayer and fasting. We believe it is a way to put God first for the coming year and reset and focus our spiritual lives after the busyness of the holidays. We have prayer services each morning, and it really is a wonderful and holy time. Fasting is not a requirement during these 21 days, but it is encouraged.

So, what is fasting anyways? The dictionary defines fasting as abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. There are lots of ways to do it as well. You can give up certain food groups (sugar and caffeine are popular choices) for a period of time, or one can decide to not eat meals during a certain times of the day. Disclaimer: please check with your health care provider before starting any type of food fast. In a broader sense, fasting can be expanded to other areas of our lives. Social media, the news cycle, etc. There are lot of things we can decide to cut out for an intentional purpose.

I’ve been participating in 21 days of prayer and fasting during the month of January for about eight years now. However, for the past seven years, I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding. Doing a strict food fast was out of the question. So, I fasted other things like coffee, Facebook, and sweets. However, I was neither pregnant nor breastfeeding this year, so I was excited to go all in and do a true fast.

Now that we know what a fast is and why I participated in one, let’s talk about the Daniel fast. Daniel is a prophet in Jewish and Christian culture. The Old Testament of the Christian Bible contains the book of Daniel, which gives the account of Daniel, who was a Jew exiled to Babylon. I am not a religious scholar, so I am not going to go into much detail about the entire book. But in the first chapter, Daniel is being held captive. He refuses to eat the Babylonian food, as it was not prepared according to the Jewish law. Daniel commits to only eating fruits and vegetables for a period of time while focusing on praying to God. This is the basis for the modern interpretation of the Daniel fast. No animal products, no sugar, no caffeine, no leavened bread, and no processed food for (typically) 21 days.

So, how did it go?

Overall, I am so glad I did the Daniel fast! I learned so much about myself. My relationship with the Lord grew deeper. I gained confidence and clarity in what He is calling me to do during this season of my life. Physically, the fast was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated. Well, minus that intense caffeine withdrawal, but that only lasted about three days. I kicked the sugar cravings that had a hold on me (ahem….nightly bowl of ice cream). I also lost a little bit of weight (SOOOO not the goal with this fast, please hear me on that), which was nice because my pants were a little tight after the holidays.

Was I hungry? Yes, sometimes I was. I think it’s a given that you will have periods of hunger after cutting out major food groups you are used to eating. But the hunger was not all consuming or difficult to deal with. I ate plenty of yummy foods and learned that bean burgers can be pretty tasty. I utilized this wonderful cookbook all throughout the fast.

Did I do the fast perfectly? No, I didn’t. But that isn’t the point when fasting for a spiritual purpose. The point is a person’s heart. Their motivation. Their reverence for the process. These are all areas of growth and maturity that can blossom when stretched. I want to know. Have you ever fasted before? How did it go?

Word of the Year

Word of the Year

New Year’s resolutions have been fading out of fashion over the last several years. It’s no wonder. They’re often daunting, overwhelming, and by mid-February only a distant memory. My biggest gripe with resolutions is that usually they’re made without much thought. What’s taken its place, though, is the all mighty Word of the Year. And it is mighty in my opinion. Having a word or short phase to continually refer back to for the entire year is a great way to bring focus and intention to the mundane of every day life.

NURTURE was my word for 2020. I had several areas of my life that needing tending to grow and further mature. Things I nurtured were my spiritual life, my marriage, relationships with my children, my love for the outdoors, and so on. It was a wonderful word. I had it posted on my bathroom mirror for the entire year. On the hard days, because we all have hard days, I would see it right there in front of me. It quickly reminded me of the things that matter most, and it made it easy to let go of all the excess. Having a word of the year grounded me amongst all the chaos that was 2020.

When picking a word of the year, I want you to consider a few things. Firstly, don’t rush it. Pray and meditate on the things that went well and the things that didn’t in 2020. How does it make you feel? What things do you want to change? Secondly, choose a verb. A verb will inspire action. It will make you focus on forward grace-filled progress. Lastly, when ideas start coming to mind, take time to look up definitions and synonyms. It’s likely that google will help you find an even more purposeful word or phrase for your hopes of 2021. Sit with your word for a few days before you commit. How does it make you feel? Hopefully not overwhelmed! The goal is to feel refreshed, motivated, and inspired.

On that note, I am so excited to share my word of the year for 2021:

EXPAND

I know that I nurtured good things in 2020. When working on my goals for 2021, one thing kept coming up. I want to expand on things that have already been planted. I want to expand my theological knowledge. I want to expand my physical fitness. I want to expand this blog. And so many other things. It’s perfect for where I’m at in my life, and I am so excited.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a word, I wanted to share this resource from Cultivate What Matters. (If you have followed me for at least 5 minutes, you know I love this company.) You will find suggestions on their site, and they also provide wallpaper for your phone with your word. I screen shot (shotted???) the blank floral pattern, then edited in my word, expand. I will have this be my wallpaper on my phone for the year. I cannot wait for you to share your word of the year! Drop it down in the comments below. And as always, if you enjoyed this post, please like and share, as it’s a simple way to support this little space of mine. Much love, and Happy New Year!!!