It has been a while since I’ve been able to post anything on this blog and I haven’t really been writing either. My last journal entry was in April of this year and when I realized that something I used to use to describe, or even somewhat define, me (writing) wasn’t a priority anymore, it made me question what was. Recently I’ve been immersed with watching old episodes of Law and Order: SVU, reading (The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas and The Keys by DJ Khaled), and figuring out where to steer my life toward so writing, typing, or recording thoughts hasn’t come as naturally to me as it used to. I feel like being in school encouraged me to write because I was always supposed to be writing something else (a paper, newsletter or application form) and when I procrastinated, I veered toward writing about myself (for private consumption) or inadvertently writing about faith (which this blog became mostly about). It’s never been intentional; I always imagined by blog turning into a lifestyle resource where people could scroll through for tips on any and every thing like every other blog in this oversaturated influence-sphere. I thought I’d start posting YouTube videos and up my Instagram game and it would all flow into this seamless online business that birthed a community and carried me through my twenties and into my future. Needless to say, a girl has fallen off the social media wagon in the sense that nothing I do online is as intentional as it used to be. My Snapchat used to be my space to be free and rant and make people laugh with my ridiculous antics, my Instagram was where I’d get deep and try to get featured on the Discovery page and my blog would serve as the place where young millennials walking with Christ and trying to live by faith could follow and relate to my issues regarding living with one foot in the world and one foot in the Word (something I discourage strongly – both feet should always be in the Word and jumping deeper into the love, grace and mercy of God). That said, I’ve come to see faith as a very personal thing, something that shouldn’t be shoved down anyone’s throat and something I, personally, should guard dearly. I believe in being bold for the sake of Christ but I’ve also learned that this Christian journey is different for everybody. I don’t always like that fact because I wish all Christians agreed on certain things and fought against other things together, I wish some Christians weren’t racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted or just downright mean. I wish some Christians weren’t more concerned with having a large congregation or tax breaks than preaching the truth as we read it in the Bible, and I wish holiness and righteousness was just as important as blessing and healing to us all. I wish many things for the church, my fellow believers and even myself and most of all, I wish I hadn’t starved my spirit and fed my flesh because that opened the door to so many things I have to work through internally and externally. The desire to live in God’s will, in His time, on His terms began to outweigh figuring out what makes me happy or how I should be living my life and as that desire got heavier, the need to fast became so apparent.
I just completed a 21 Day Daniel Fast and I’m still basking in this feat. First of all, I love food. I am a true foodie who will try anything and go anywhere just to taste and experience flavor and culture. Second of all, I am one of the least disciplined people I know. I procrastinate like it’s a habit, I love watching TV/YouTube/the internets – you name it, I watch it – and I have too many interests, to the point where I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I love doing, so I pick the easiest thing (binging on Netflix and Hulu) and just do it forever. Lastly, my relationship with God has been in an “it’s complicated” stage for a couple of months – at least on my end. There was no real reason behind it; I think starting a 9-5 for the first time, living in a real apartment building for the first time, and paying bills for the first time just drew me away from what I used to know as the joys of life: a flexible schedule, learning what you love, exploring with friends on a regular basis and basically just being a big kid in an adult’s body. On top of that, I started dancing again so any time I did have, I used to attend fun, sweaty hip hop classes that continue to make me so happy. All in all, I was doing alright and I became one of those “I’ll call you when I need you” type of Christians, which I’m very embarrassed to admit. I fell off the praying, worshipping, and formal fellowshipping and as if that isn’t enough, I started to question the point of church as an organization (Low key: I still do, but that’s a post for another day). I just saw huge churches as another business, not necessarily trying to get rich but definitely concerned with making a profit in some way, shape or form and the hierarchies and cliques that form at large churches just irked the life out of me. If I did make it to church, I’d slip in near the end of worship, grab my phone when it’s time to say hi to someone new, and slip out right before the last prayer (High key: I still do that, but again – another post for another day). All of this didn’t necessarily pull me away from God but I guess we just spoke less and spent less time together. I knew He was there, I knew I needed Him daily but because I wasn’t at rock bottom, I didn’t think I had any reason to lay on my face before the Lord (RED FLAG: Any time you think you don’t need to lay on your face before the Lord, STOP. DO NOT PASS BEGIN. DO NOT COLLECT 2000) When I found myself at the edge of a familiar cliff, I had to reset. I knew I needed God but it was at this specific moment, about to fall into old habits I’d worked hard to quit, that I realized I need Him always, completely, and constantly, whether life is all over the place or not. I didn’t need a blessing or a breakthrough, no healing or revelation – I literally just needed Him. I needed God, I needed the Holy Spirit’s help and so I dragged a friend along with me into the Daniel Fast.
Now, was it easy? No.
Did I like it? No.
Did I hear God’s voice? No.
Did I gain a new revelation, a sign, a message, anything??? No.
Nothing spectacular happened. Seriously, no big fireworks, no light, no dream telling me anything special, nothing. However, on this day, knowing that I did something I never thought was possible – FAST – and an intense fast at that: No meat or animal product of any kind, no sugars or sweeteners of any kind, no yeast (So no bread…) no alcohol, no drink of any kind other than water, not even green or herbal tea, no coffee, no soda… I mean NADA. This was no joke! This was a proper fast, my first!
Now… did I slip up? Yes (I had whole wheat bread and a vegan dessert twice)
BUT did I lose weight? Yes (9.6 lbs to be exact and I pray I don’t gain it all back *fingers crossed*)
Did I feel good? Yes! (I felt incredible! My skin even cleared up – even around that time of the month, which is so rare for me, you don’t even understand!)
Did I get closer to God? Yes (He strengthened me throughout this entire fast – if it weren’t for His help, I definitely would have either quit this altogether or stumbled a lot more)
And did I grow in prayer? Yes (the whole point of this fast was to be steadfast in prayer and having the 21-day devotional to help me along was a great way to stick to praying and get back to my roots, hence me cracking open my journal and sitting down to write this post)
Now, I said I didn’t hear God’s voice but He spoke to me the entire time, through people I love, through sermons, through the devotionals, during my quiet time, through music. God really came through for me, even when I wasn’t interested, and there were times I was NOT interested. I had grumpy days, days when I was ready to quit, days when I was actually angry I was fasting. There were meals that sucked, events I didn’t enjoy because I couldn’t join in on the festivities fully BUT for every dish I tried that I hated, there were so many more things I tried and loved. NEWSFLASH: WE DON’T NEED MEAT! Don’t worry I’m not converted, I already celebrated getting through this fast with a nice boil style seafood feast (which is not recommended – this fast is truly taxing on the body, especially if you had unhealthy eating habits before so if you’re thinking of doing it, read a lot about it first and when you come out of it, ease back into your regular eating if you wish to go back to your regular eating habits; I’m just being a rebel). During this fast (mostly to keep myself from wanting to stumble and eat meat) I watched a lot of pro-plant-based diet videos and documentaries including the new craze on Netflix, What the Health. I must say, it was phenomenal and it made me question not only how much meat I eat but why I eat meat to begin with. It brought me back to what Jesus would want me to do in terms of food but I don’t feel a real conviction over the issue just yet (but I feel it coming so we’ll see). All in all, being on this fast forced me to explore and learn A LOT about myself, my relationship with food and what it takes to honor God with my decisions, including what I choose to ingest, when, where and how much of it. I tried vegan restaurants and recipes and enjoyed a lot of the different alternatives to animal products. I cleansed my body of a lot of the junk I’d been filling it with and 21 days later, I feel cleaner, lighter and more energetic than I’ve felt in a long, long time. I think God led me to this fast for many spiritual, relational and physical reasons and I’m thankful I made it through, not by my might but by His mighty power.
I recommend anyone at a standstill or roadblock, anyone lost or just wandering, anyone who’s at a “complicated” or unknown stage in their relationship with God (or self tbh), anyone who just feels meh or bleh about life, to take a chance, a 21 day chance (or 10 if you’re beginning or 40 if you’re an intermediate faster – I wish I’d started with the 10 btw). This fast, if nothing else, will clear your mind and set you on a healthier path, in my opinion. I’m glad I did it, and I’m a better me because of it. Above all else, I’m grateful for God’s faithfulness and the clarity, peace, and discipline I’m walking out of this fast with.