11 June 2009

My 40 Day Fast - Part 2

After starting my fast, my original goal was 3 days. After the first day, I was already beginning to feel weak. I could tell my energy level was way down. I began praying and/or reading during every meal (I ate 5-6 times a day, so I prayed 5-6 times a day). Quite honestly, if you're not praying and spending quality time with God when you're supposed to be eating, then you're just dieting. The weakness intensified and I found it harder to do routine things. However, the first 3 days came and went and I could already tell a big positive difference in my attitude and the way I viewed things. I never made a conscious decision to view life differently either. It just sort of happened. It was the Holy Spirit working in me. Three days had come and gone.

My next goal was 7 days. I never thought I'd make it past the first 3! And, with each new goal, I felt like I was starting over with day one. That would make sense though.

Anyway, so after I fasted 7 days, I decided to keep going. My next goal was 21 days. I learned about the Daniel fast and how he ate only bland tasting food for 21 days. On the 21st day an angel came to him and told him that his fasting made a difference, the angel was able to get help from Michael, and now the angel was free to deliver the message he was to give Daniel (Daniel 10:1-14). However, when I thought to make 21 days my next goal, I was praying that God would do some crazy cool miracle in me or just show me some cool supernatural stuff. I was hoping he would do this early on so I wouldn't have to fast the whole 21 days. I guess I was looking that forward to it! ~:-D If he did something like this I knew it would be enough to highly motivate me. In other words, I really wasn't looking forward to not eating for the whole 21 days. I didn't want to think about how long that actually was.

I started getting into some incredibly good habits during this time. I never spent as much time with God as I did during the fast. When you don't eat you find that you have all the time in the world. So, I decided to spend all kinds of time with my king! We would chat often. He would reveal things to me. It was crazy cool! This mostly happened when I was reading the Bible though. It seemed to always be the key. This makes perfect sense because he repeats this constantly in his Word (John 15:7).

After doing some research on fasting and learning what the Bible said about it, I started to realize how important it really was. I didn't realize it was a command for us to follow. Matthew 6:16 doesn't say "If you fast…" It says, "When you fast…" I also learned that before Christ really started about his father's business, he fasted and was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and nights. If Jesus is our example, then shouldn't we follow him in fasting too? Finally, it seems like before any major event happened in the Bible, God's people fasted and prayed. I didn't realize how much of a reoccurring theme it was. Fasting just opens floodgates!

Surely, before I started on my fast, I wanted my heart and motives to be in the right place. I thought about doing a 40 day fast, but never in my life did I think I could do it. With all my headache problems and bad attitudes, I didn't think it would be physically possible. After all, it's not like I have much stored energy either.

I also decided to keep a daily journal of my 40 day fast. This is something I've never done before. I've never written anything about my life! I never thought my life was much of a contribution anyway. Finally, I figured I'd write anything in it that was important to me so I could be reminded of the awesome work God was doing and his answers to prayer. This journal has now become one of my most valuable possessions.

During the fast, I also tried to record how much weight/mass I was losing. Anyone who knows anything about the human body knows that not eating is muscle suicide. I took pictures of what I looked like when I first started and what I looked like on Day 38. What a difference! I even kept a record of measurements of my major muscle groups to show how quickly I was losing weight. I did a good job of keeping track of all this info until my camera was stolen and the pictures went with it. I never got a chance to download those pictures either. I'll talk more about that later though. In other words, I thought it was a good idea to show how important it is to stay as healthy as possible while fasting and keep track of how my body was reacting to no food.

Now, before you attempt to do any extended period fast, please know what you should do. Yes, I consulted my doctor (Dr. Julie Orender) half way through (she was pretty mad at me for not telling her sooner) and I even had some blood work done a couple months prior. I took vitamins every day. I drank just about any 100% juice known to man and lots and lots and lots and lots of water. 1 or 2 V8's a day was also normal. I used to hate the way V8's tasted, but when you're hungry, the stuff tastes like cake! However, I didn't drink or consume anything that was a supplement to food. I didn't drink Slim Fast's, protein shakes, milk shakes, etc. I personally felt like taking any of these was cheating. I don't know why, ok! I just did. BUT, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't. Each person is different. If you plan on fasting and your instructed to by your doctor or you feel you just need to drink supplements for any reason, then do it! You just have to know that when I'm determined, I mean business. Lastly, don't drink anything with high fructose corn syrup, unnatural sugar or use sugar supplements. This stuff will dehydrate you and you will suffer the consequences. You'll probably be cutting the fast off short if you do. I didn't even go there.

Also, I never told anyone what I was doing for the first few days. I wanted to keep it secret (Matthew 6:16-18). Actually, I tried to tell no one. Not even family. However, I did have those very few friends and family that knew how to pull the answers out of me. After some time had passed, most would just ask, "Are you losing weight"? I would answer, "Yes," and that would be the end of it. I was actually thankful for the little questioning I got most of the time. You would not believe how discouraging people can be and how they wouldn't understand what I was doing. Anyway, it really didn't start to be revealed until my coworkers at the gym started interrogating me. They knew I was losing lots of weight really fast. They finally asked me what was wrong and what I was doing. I love them for that…because they really cared.

More to come...

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