How to Rock a Fast for 4 Days (36 hours)
I always wanted to be Andi Anderson from How to Lose a Guy in 10 days. I have this glorified mental picture of what it must be like to spend your days writing about the things you care about.
Wait… ok… I already do that, and it’s fantastic.
So… that movie initially had nothing to do with why I decided to try this- but now that I’m neck deep in it, I kind of feel like Andi Anderson, hanging by my feet, trying to get taller in 10 days.
I can count on two fingers the number of times I’ve fasted in my life. Yep- I’ve only fasted twice (don’t call me a bad Christian- but you can pray for me if you want to.)
The first time, I was in Ghana and the whole missions team spent their Wednesday mornings fasting and praying for their ministry.
I was so excited to join in, because it seemed like such a serious, holy thing to do.
But only 45 minutes into the fast, I was ready to deck the next person that prayed an unnecessarily long prayer, and a few hours later when we were finally done, I scarfed down my lunch with barely a breath in between and no particularly holy result to speak of.
I didn’t think to fast again until Month 10 of my race when I was in Vietnam. I was sick that day and spent my 12 hour fast, hungry and in bed. I definitely had a fantastic few moments with Jesus, but no breakthrough to speak of- nothing that felt out of the ordinary. And by the time my teammate got home at 7:30 for dinner, I was ready to kill someone and in tears.
Is it fair to say that I’m not awesome at this?
So when I walked, 15 minutes late, into a brand new church on Sunday, I was surprised and kind of annoyed to find out that the sermon was on just that- ‘fasting’.
As the pastor explained more- my reasons for not doing it were getting weaker. He pointed out that it’s not something that’s suggested in Scripture- but rather something that’s assumed- “When you fast…” (Matt 6:16). It’s something that God’s people have been doing forever.
The pastor explained that it’s a bridge from one thing to another. It’s a time devoted to prayer because you simply can’t forget to pray when your stomach is rumbling.
It’s a spiritual tool- giving up something we love and need (food), for something we love and need more (God).
And I knew that it wasn’t an accident that I was there that day.
So- Andi Anderson style, I decided to chronicle this fast, going hungry, one for all, testing out this thing that Jesus so highly recommends. (fasting- not buying a love fern.)
Here was my game plan: 4 day Daniel Fast to be broken Friday morning and broken hard as I go home for a friend’s wedding- ready to delight in the best fare that Denver has to offer.
Here’s what actually happened:
(Warning: I became a bit of a drama-queen in my hunger- consider yourself warned.)
Waking up: Angry and hungry. I feel like the color has been drained out of the world because all of a sudden I’m remembering a million things that I normally take for granted, and a million more that I take such delight in, and I can’t have any of them! I'm also pretty shocked to realize that I had inadvertently planned to count gifts- as I was fasting. Paying specific attention to the abundance and love that God pours out on me, while fasting? This is no coincidence.
Lunchtime: Well- turns out that I’m responsible for making lunch for the board of directors of Adventures in Missions, and get the honor and privilege of eating with them, and I think that turning down my own food might be bad form.
Oh- and my roommate and I had an incredibly generous gift certificate for dinner, and so we went out on a date. Complete with chocolate cake.
Fast REALLY broken.
Tuesday: Back on the horse.
Waking up: Not cranky- excited for what the day will hold. Slept fantastically.
10 minutes later: Cranky
On the way to work: Crankier as I’m choking down plain oatmeal (allowed)- literally gagging.
Lunchtime: Rude to a coworker- hungry isn’t a great look for me.
At work: I’m in a haze. I can’t figure out why I’m so lethargic and why the world seems so grey. Is this all because I’m hungry? There’s no way…
After work: I’m ready to cry.
Waking up: Cranky
Morning prayer: Jesus- I don’t feel particularly holy today- nothing is coming out of this- my prayers aren’t better, my worship isn’t better, I’m just hungry and grumpy and feeling like all joy has been sucked out of my body. (See? Dramatic.)
Four minutes later: Breakthrough!
Quick Disclaimer: You may have noticed that specific stories of relationships are largely ignored on my blog. I have lots and lots of stories of mistakes, lessons learned the hard way and broken hearts- and they’re stories I love to share over coffee, allowing my past to hopefully encourage the present of others.
However- for the sake of these gentleman and for the sake of maintaining some semblance of privacy- I have decided to generally avoid this topic. Hopefully one day I can share all of these stories with you. However- I will reference them vaguely, so you can do your own detective work. And sometimes- just sometimes- I’ll share specific stories.
… This is one of those times.