Soul Care: FASTING UGLY
“I seek to deny myself one thing each day!” Dallas Willard.
After the long weekend in June last year I decided to do a total fast, except for water.
There were a few reasons why I felt led to do this…
1. It was after a long weekend of feasting
2. It was for Lacey! Lacey is my best mate’s youngest daughter who is battling with leukaemia. There was a fear, at that time, that it may have started to take a hold again, so I felt led to fast and pray for breakthrough
3. After hanging out with Rob Reimer and facilitating another “Soul Care” course at my church I decided to sacrifice something in the pursuit of God. At this stage in my spiritual journey I had been walking with Jesus for over 20 years and had never done a fast longer than a day. I often did partial fasts from things like social media and coffee, during times of lent. So I thought that it was well and truly time to give something a little bit more significant a shot
My initial thought was to do it for 4 days and break it with a nice meal on Friday but things changed. I had no idea what this type of fast would do to my body, mind and spirit. To say the least, “it was ugly.” So I decided to share my experience, warts and all as well as share the good that I believed came as a result, hoping that it will encourage you to have a go as well as learn from my mistakes. Obviously our physical “make ups” are all very different and we are all wired pretty differently too so your experience may not be the same as mine.
Fasting Ugly Reflections…
• If you are going to do an extended fast (water only) that is longer than a day make sure that you do your research. There is so much on the internet now, so have a read of people’s blogs and you will be able to very quickly work out what is and what is not normal in the fasting journey
• The other thing that you should probably do is check with your GP to see if he/she thinks that you can physically do it
• During the fast my body ached heaps. I have a fairly big frame and I can be known to eat a lot to keep this “big rig” on the road. By lunchtime on the first day my stomach was gurgling and screaming at me for food. By the second day my body was really struggling as it was detoxing from coffee (at the time I loved coffee and would have at least 2 a day), sugar and food in general. Day 3 was by far the hardest
• I went to the toilet a lot during those three days
• I was so cold and it was winter which didn’t help. I had no idea how much warmth food gave my body
• I was weak physically and struggled to move or do anything. If I had a labouring job things would’ve been super tough. I was massively lethargic, so I recommend that you look at your schedule to make sure that you have the space to really enter into it. This ensures that it will limit the affect it may have on your paid work. If you are from my church reading this please know that as hard as it was I did faithfully work through those days
• My mind was very fuzzy especially towards the end of day one and beyond. I had to fight for focus and concentration, it was a real battle
• I felt down or to put it another way, BLAH!
• During the third day I received good news from my mate about his daughter and I praised and thanked God for answering our prayer
• Towards the end of day three I felt like I was done and the Spirit released me to enjoy the roast dinner that my beautiful wife had cooked to celebrate the 3 day fast
• That roast was so beautiful that I ate too much. BAD move! That night my stomach carried on like a “2 bob watch” and I didn’t sleep well
• The next day I had lunch with a mate of mine who had just suffered a stroke. Interestingly the Lord constantly brought him to my mind during the fast too. He got lots of prayer, which was good but the bad was we ate lunch at McDonalds. Another bad move!
• So at the time I had a huge roast in my stomach, not going anywhere because my body was struggling to digest it and to top it off it now also had to deal with a large McValue meal. I think you get the picture
• I had shocking cramps and it took days for my digestive system to get back to a reasonable state of normal
• Funny thing is that when I started telling my friends and colleagues the story they all asked me, “Didn’t you know that you need to gradually ease your body into eating again? Didn’t you know that you have to eat good healthy food, high in fibre?”
My answer to them was, “I do now!”
• My poor re-entry into eating forced me to do some post research and some of the things that I read were mind blowing. Articles that described people eating themselves to death after a really long fast. No WAY!
• The other thing I read is that a fast gets easier after day 3
• So make sure you do your research
I now want to share with you what I believe was the good that God brought out of this ugly fast. I learnt a lot…
• I learnt a lot about fasting and I learnt a lot about myself
• Food is everywhere! The majority of ads on TV are food related, every social occasion, every lunch and dinner, fridges everywhere, food, food, food!
• I was blown away by how much I think about food!
So that meant I prayed a lot. I really believe that during the time God heard my prayer and saw my devotion and he had mercy. The reality is that there are no guarantees so I don’t recommend bargaining with God. However, I do praise him for Lacey who is now only months away from no longer needing treatment for her cancer. I also praise him for my mate Rusty who is recovering from his stroke. He is now driving again and enjoying many things that he used to prior to the stroke
• I got a better understanding of what it means to deny myself
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
• We were designed to “feast on God”
• I was challenged about where I get my satisfaction from
• Lastly, coming out of a fast is a really important thing to consider
I hope that these few simple thoughts have encouraged you to do your research before fasting and I also hope that you will take a step of faith by “having a go.” I’m sure that you will learn a lot about yourself and enjoy more of God.
God Bless you as you pursue Him more…
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