Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fasting for Jesus!

Ok so, here it is...I'm VEGAN! Say what? You heard me, I'm stepping out on faith and am in the process of completing a fast called...The Daniel Fast. This means, I am not eating meat, dairy, yeast, white flour, sugar, or honey and I'm not drinking beverages with caffeine, alcohol, milk, etc. This is a 21 day commitment. I can say that there are days I would chew my right arm off for a piece of chicken and a bit of ranch dressing on my salad, some cheese on a cracker or a large glass of milk. A dear friend and her family are also doing the fast and was the one that introduced this plan to me. She has her reasons for completing the fast and I have mine.

Of course there is the obvious benefit of losing a few pounds. Who wouldn't lose a bit of weight eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains all day? Slurping down tons of water and you are bound to drop a few pounds. Although preparing meals using fresh fruits and vegetables does take more time and planning than opening a box of hamburger helper. It allows me time to really think about the foods we eat. I have become an advanced label reader. I would say that before the fast, I was a novice label reader. I just glanced at the label to see how much of the bad stuff we were going to eat. Not really saying, "I choose not to eat this because it has a ton of sugars, dyes and additives that are bad for me and my family." But now, I have to read the labels to make sure that any of the restricted items don't appear on the label. It has been a real eye opener! For example, manufacturers don't even put what they are advertising on the front of the box. Something that has blueberries and says it is so healthy for you, in truth, has the tiniest bits of blueberry extracts in it and mostly, blue dyes to fake you out. Topped with a ton of processed sugar to make it sweet and you are fooled into thinking you are eating healthy.

This is secondary to the real reason for committing to this fast. The primary reasons are for Jesus. When was the last time I was so obedient to say, "In your honor God, I will do this!" It has been a while I hate to admit. Sure, I recommit myself everyday to walk in his path and to praise and worship him with my words and actions. This particular fast is spiritually based. You have daily devotions that are written out to help you with your daily quiet time. I have tried not to harp on the things I can't eat, but better to be encouraged that what I'm putting my body is not man made, it's not processed to death. It is of God. It is the gift of the whole foods and plants that he intended for us to eat. When I am hungry and I know that I'm not REALLY hungry, I pray to God to give me strength. When I'm tempted to eat something that I'm currently restricting, I pray again for God to give me strength. I really am depended on him to get me through the day when I'm weak. And that is just food. What about all the other things in my life that I try to handle all by myself. God is right there to help me and I have forgotten that in the past. My tendency has been to come to him and praise of the answers to prayers and blessings. Come to him when I'm in need of a major decision or someone is sick. But have failed to come to him on everyday issues, like food or smaller problems I face everyday. That is where I need focus. I need remembrance. I need to remember that he is there for me to praise for the little victories as well as the big. To come to when I'm upset of a cross word or a hurt feeling. He is there and it delights him when we come to him for praise, worship, wisdom and discernment.

I have prayed for God to strike the devil out of my head with all the temptations and thought of, "Just eat it, no one will know". But you and I both know there is one I can hide nothing from...God. I can't say that I haven't failed him once or twice in the fast. In the beginning, it was especially hard because I was in the habit of eating a snack with the boys or eating a bite after them at dinner. Just last night, I ate a bite of cheddar cheese. I felt awful about it afterwards because I felt like a failure and I immediately prayed for forgiveness. It just has made me more aware of how I need to be living for the Glory of God. Not for the satisfaction of man. I feel his grace on me this morning and I continue to pray for his guidance and unconditional love to cover me as I make it through this day too.

So, I'm fasting for Jesus. I'm especially happy that I've learned a lot about the foods we eat and how the marketplace continually comes up with ways to trick us into thinking we are eating healthy. I've learned a few cooking techniques and have several recipes that we will continue to enjoy after the fast because...THEY ARE THAT GOOD. I've learned the difference between "organic" marketing and "all-natural" marketing. I'm still in the process of learning all the lingo for processed and partially processed chemicals that are added to our foods to enhance the flavors and colors to make them more attracted and appealing. TO MAKE ME ADDICTED to them. This fast has been freeing for me to come off of the sugars and fats of our world today. No, I'm not going to be a vegan after the fast. I do enjoy and feel God has given us meat, dairy and yeast as a blessing to be enjoyed in moderation. But for now, I'm on day 13 and so happy that I've been able to make it to day 13.