Kicking off 2020 with a Fast… and No, Not That New Health Fad

We made it to the New Year! I’m so thankful to God for keeping us for another revolution around the sun.

2019 was a rough year in some ways, but in other ways I saw God kickoff some astounding and astonishing things in my life that will carry over to 2020.

My devotional is in the works and scheduled to be published in the fall, my first of many (my prediction) articles will be published this spring. A podcast and apparel line are all in the works. All because I chose to take a Leap of Faith and move outside of my comfort zone.

For most of us, a new year usually brings on new goals, new resolutions, and new dreams. A chance to start over. A chance to press the reset button. A chance to re-position ourselves.

For me, that usually means by way of a fast. The Daniel Fast to be exact. This is likely the 5th or 6th year Kenny and I have kicked off the New Year with this fast.

I remember the first year we did it – we were MISERABLE! Our bodies went into major withdrawal by the 3rd day, and we were literally counting down the 21 days until we could eat sugar, dairy, meat, bread, and all the other things we’d grown to love eating over the years.

I think we missed the entire point of fasting that year. We were so focused on managing our food restrictions, finding acceptable things to eat, and how bad we were feeling that we didn’t get the full spiritual effect that we have gotten in subsequent years.

And we let those around us know how miserable we were, complaining the entire time. Today’s Strategy instructs us to not be intentionally obvious when we fast, drawing attention to ourselves. Our fasting should be a private act before God, who will reward us when our actions are genuinely for Him.

As a somewhat seasoned Daniel Fast-er now, I look forward to this time of sacrifice – I abandon my natural desires of certain foods and beverages, and instead focus on presenting myself, my prayers, and my desires to God.

Not only do I complete the food planning prior to the fast, but I also prepare spiritually for what I’m believing God for in the upcoming year.

I map out my meals for each of the 21 days, so I know in advance what foods I need to buy and prepare for each week. There are not many foods that can be eaten from a bag or box, so the preparation can sometimes take longer than usual.

I’ve found that knowing what I want to prepare, instead of wondering and figuring it out on the fly keeps me mentally focused. To avoid being grouchy due to physical cravings while being hungry (think HANGRY), proper planning is a must!

On the spiritual side, I also prepare my list of the concerns, desires, and burdens on my heart that I’m believing God to move in for the upcoming year – my list usually consists of personal, family, professional and financial prayer requests.

I begin by writing out my initial prayer in my journal at the start of the fast. It’s a way for me to capture my heart and feelings at the start of the fast. My goal is to document my personal reflections each evening at bedtime.

I also try to include a special devotional or book to read daily during those 21 days that falls in line with my goals for my fast.

By journaling each evening, I am able to record my experiences, how I’ve grown and what I’ve learned throughout my 21-day surrender.

Each time a hunger pain hits me, it turns my focus to God. I found myself talking to Him with each craving and thinking back to the words in that journal – why I’m fasting, what I’m asking God to do in my life.

I remind myself that the sacrifice I’m making is small in comparison to what I am believing for from God. And every now and then I will offer a thank-you of faith of what I know is coming later in the year.

I don’t know the specifics, nor do I know the details, but I do know that God will respond to my requests according to what He has planned for my life.

Now don’t get me wrong – this fast is NOT easy. It’s not for the undisciplined. It is tough, but it’s worth every bit of the discomfort. God is capturing my entire experience – the highs and the lows – and will honor the sacrifice I am making, just like our strategy promises.

And by the time I eat my pizza on Day 22 to break my fast, I am that much closer to God, and trusting Him on a different level than I was 21 days earlier. I am also that much more focused on my goals and energized and revitalized to stay on my course for the goals that I have set for myself in the next 11 months.

Now I understand this kind of fasting is not feasible for everyone. But anyone can practice fasting as a way of sacrificing and moving closer to God. A fast is simply abstaining from something for a designated time and purpose.

A fast could be from sugary drinks, desserts, meat, Social Media, TV, certain places or people – there are any number of things that may be a distraction or hindrance to our physical, mental or spiritual well-being.

This year as I resume this revolution around the sun, I also plan to revolve around the Son as well, and my fast will guide me on my way.

Won’t you join me?

CLOSING CHALLENGE:

Do you have something you are believing God for in the new year? Think about something you could give up – maybe for a week, or 2…or even longer.

Consider what would be a sacrifice for you to give up – something that you will need God’s help to fast from.

Make sure you write out your list of what you’re praying and believing for during your fast.

I would love to hear about your experience, especially if this is your first time!

Feel free to share your response in the comments section…

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