Just a quick preface: I am totally on board with Matthew 6:16, “When you fast, don’t make it obvious…” in general. Since we were fasting as a church, I feel like it is a good time to look back, write, and reflect. I do not publicly acknowledge when we are fasting as a family or individually.
So, if we’re being honest, and I strive to be, I have to say that I wasn’t really hungry last week while we fasted. I was aggravated, annoyed, and acting a little like a spoiled ninny-muggins, but legitimately hungry? Not really. If I got hungry, it was more because I didn’t want to eat what I had as an option at that time. It wasn’t even like a had a headache or any withdrawal symptoms. The physical was minimal (if it existed); it was all mental.
The Daniel fast provides plenty of options to allow actual hunger to subside. Again, being honest, I actually enjoy vegetables, beans, and the like–when they’re covered in butter or baked in a casserole (that’s a slight exaggeration, but still). I choose to eat them over other things many times. The kicker? Fruit. I don’t like fruit. I can stand most berries and the occasional banana, but I don’t enjoy them. The bigger kicker? I have an intense sweet tooth (I know, you’re surprised; if you are, feel free to catch up here, here, here, or here) and no strawberry, banana, or organic, non-sweetened fruit snack is going to suffice.
So, basically, while my husband was working through a juice fast, I was whining because I wanted a brownie and some crunchy cereal. It made me very aware of my husband’s leadership in our family. I am so blown away by how hard he works, how he leads us and lets me come around without forcing things on me. He leads by an example through hard work and excellence in all he does. I am so incredibly blessed to call this man my husband.
It also made me incredibly aware of how blessed we are to be able to choose our foods on a whim. We can eat what we want, when we want. We are able to go out to eat because I have on a cute outfit and want to go on a date to show it off (that actually happened and I wished we could have gone out). We are able to eat dessert, hamburgers, steak, or just about anything we want at any given time.
I know that fasting is about more than food. It truly is. I just happen to like food. A lot. So it works well. I was able to reflect. I was able to lean in more. I was able to press in and grow. I was able to look at things in a new light. I was able to think about my role as a parent; I was able to think about my role as a wife. I was able to think about my role as a daughter of the King. It allowed me to spend some time thinking about how I spend my time and where my priorities are. It was a good way to start the year, and just like last time, I think we’ll continue to use it as a tool in our life as we go forward.
I've been going back and forth about posting on the fast for the very reasons you mentioned. I had much the same reaction to the fast as you did. I was irritable and tired, but only while doing the juice/water fast. Once I switched to the Daniel fast my attitude vastly improved. The funny thing is they thing I wanted most on the fast was a Reese's but I still haven't eaten one now that I can.
I agree with you on Matthew 6:16… I kept reading it and re-reading it and thought just keep your mouth shut Kevin. The first fast I did juice only and after the first day's headache I reached a level that I felt strangely good and seemed to be able to take in much more from whatever I did. This time I started out with the Daniel fast but couldn't achieve that same feeling so I combined the Daniel fast and juice fast together. I only ate fruits and avocados when I hit that irritable (watch out kids Daddy ain't happy) level and then juice or veggie broth the rest of the time. doing this allowed me to get that same feeling I had the first time. The funny thing is the things I was praying for didn't get answered but the things God wanted me to know sure did get revealed. I felt as if God was saying those aren't the things you need to be worrying about now this is what I need you to do!
I think when we fast corporately it's a little different than when we fast individually. It gives us a chance to grow as a body of believers as well. Of course, I'm no Bible scholar, so that's just my take.
Don't you love when God's plans are so much bigger than our own?