This past week I finished the Daniel Fast, a 21-day partial fast as mentioned in the first chapter of Daniel. The only reason I'm recapping in this public forum is that when I searched for others' experiences with this fast, I found a lot of the same kind of recap posts -- but not one that even kind of resembled my own experience.
"Amazing!" was a word many used to describe their journey on this fast. "I felt God's presence constantly during the 21 days!" was also really, super-duper common.
Meanwhile, I struggled. A lot.
I was reluctant in the first place to commit to a 21-day fast that permitted only fruit, veggies, brown rice and pasta, and water, in a nutshell. Why? Am I really all that hooked on dairy and meat?
No. But I was crazy-hooked on sugar.
I have hypoglycemia, and for a long time I've needed sugar to feel good. As long as I haven't let my blood sugar drop, I've been fine, but when it has dropped, I've felt really crummy, and sugar has been the remedy. Don't get me wrong--I actually eat pretty well. It's just that I've always added a lot of sugar to the healthy stuff.
So the idea of no sugar was not exactly a welcome one. But the first week of February, I just knew it was time. Time to lay all things down. Time to start the Daniel Fast.
Day 1 was surprisingly fine. I didn't feel cruddy, even without sugar.
Aaaand then Day 2 hit me like a flippin' ton of bricks. I was extremely sick to my stomach, and I spent the day holding my pounding head in my hands. I prayed and prayed for strength, and after several hours of the terrible pain, I finally burst into tears--but I kept praying. I'll tell you right now, if this had just been some diet, there is *NO WAY* I would have persevered through it. But it wasn't. I saw SO many spiritual parallels to what was taking place in my body; I needed the LORD God to be my strength, and He was my strength. I knew He was preparing for the purification of my spirit just as my body was being purified of the toxins that had built up over time. I felt like I was experiencing a physical version of the refiner's fire, and to say that it was rough would be an understatement.
But you want to know something? DAY 2 WAS MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE ENTIRE FAST. God's presence was apparent. And really, that was all I wanted.
On Day 3, I felt fine. Never even kind of felt sick after that. But after the testing of my body came the testing of my spirit.
God got really quiet.
I spent lots of time in the Word. I literally got on my face before God. I prayed bold prayers. I protected my mind from that which would defile my thoughts. I tried to be a good steward in all things including time with my family, and working on the event I'm planning. I can't tell you how many emails I sent (that didn't get answered, or got answered in a way that sent me back to the drawing board), how many phone calls I made (that all seemed to yield zero fruit), and how many brick walls I ran up against. I praised God. I sat silently before God. I sought His face, His glory, His fame, and His renown.
And still, He seemed so...very...quiet. Like, quieter than He usually is when I'm not even fasting.
Hear me when I say that the silence was way, way, way more difficult than anything I experienced on Day 2. Because at least on Day 2, He presence was undeniable.
I googled "Daniel Fast Recap" to see if anyone else had a similarly silent experience. Maybe people did have an experience like mine, but if they did, they sure didn't post about it. It was all sunshine and rainbows and clear revelations and awareness of God's constant presence from the other Daniel Fast-ers. And it hurt because I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Not to mention the fact that the 21 days seemed to last forever. All I knew was that this fast was the gosh-darn slowest "fast" I had ever experienced.
Days 8 through 11 I wanted to throw a boot at God. Can't say that I usually--ever--feel that way, but there's no other way to describe those particular 4 days. But I pressed on to seek His face, even though his silence stung.
Day 19 was pretty rough also. I was down 10 pounds, but I honestly could not have cared less. I seriously would've traded every lost pound for a moment of hope, revelation, peace, or some sort of evidence of God's hand making a way.
I ended the 21-day fast on Wednesday in prayer and in the Word, just as I had spent the previous three weeks. I feel like my tastebuds have changed, and I am happy to say that my sugar addiction is a stronghold that has broken. :)
As for the specific things for which I prayed--well, I still don't have visible answers. On ANY of them.
I know that I know that I know GOD IS GOOD. Faithful. Sovereign. Ridiculously and inexplicably in love with me. Worthy of my trust. At work, though I cannot see the evidence of it.
I am continuing to passionately seek His face. I still trust Him. Yes, His seemed silence was nearly unbearable--mostly because it hurt me. But I know I will YET praise Him for His faithfulness. I have YET to speak a heartfelt HALLELUJAH over the works of His hands.
I welcome your prayers. I really do. My spirit is bruised and my heart is still tender, even though I hold to what I know is true of my God. I am confident of this--God is YET to be praised. He is making a way in the wasteland in spite of my inability to perceive it.
Clinging to the One I KNOW is faithful,