No Food, No Drink, No Connection: My 3-Week Fasting Experience
For the month of September, I fasted for 21 days. My spirit called me to do a fast that would end exactly 1 week before my birthday. I am thankful for what God has revealed to me over the course of those three weeks. I'm no saint, but I think it's safe to say that in my spiritual walk with God, a fast had been long overdue. I had been putting it off for a few years. I remember going to fasting service with my mom as a child, and hating it.
Fast-forward to present day, fasting became a challenge that I accepted and conquered. I've seen the spiritual and physical benefits of fasting firsthand. So if you are wondering about whether you should do a fast or not, the answer is yes. Now that my fast is over, I am ready to share my experience with you guys. I've received a lot of questions and I've put together a post to answer all of them and then some.
Why did you choose to Fast?
When I made my decision I felt that I lacked discipline in every aspect of my life. There were no rules. Just living life. Nothing was specifically going wrong but without discipline I was unable to tell whether my spirit or flesh was leading me. September is also my birthday month so I thought a fast before a new year of life would be a great way to set myself for greatness.
What could I eat?
I could only eat fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods (rice, pasta, quinoa etc.), nuts, beans, and water and nothing else.
What did you eat?
For breakfast: Oatmeal made with water sweetened very lightly with brown sugar (yes I cheated with the oats because....nah). Eating the oatmeal only held me down for so long. When I got hungry I ate unroasted, unsalted almonds - and LOTS of them!
For lunch: Salad with cucumbers and ranch dressing (cheated again) with Coconut Water.
Snack: apple with grapes and/or almonds. Bananas and peanuts.
For Dinner: Steamed vegetables with brown rice with no seasoning.
On occasion I would eat boiled plantains with my vegetables or fried plantains with quinoa so I wouldn't be too bored with my dinner meals. I had so many more options like whole wheat pasta, sweet potato fries and the like, but I was just lazy.
What couldn't you do?
No social media. No drinking or smoking.
Did you miss social media?
I didn't miss social media. In the beginning I was just bored. Not being on social media showed me how much time I gave to these websites. I had time to do sooo much reading over the three weeks and it felt great. I read books, speeches, articles, and blogs every day. I should've been doing that before!
Constantly hearing "I have to put this on Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat!" from people confused me. Why do you HAVE to? Being disconnected gave me a private life again. People don't have to see everything! Returning to social media opened my eyes to how much it consumed my life with the lives of soo many others...for what? Likes and views??? Sharing is no longer necessary. I no longer focus on what's virtual. I focus on my real life.
How did you pray?
I devoted an hour of each day to pray. For the first half of the fast I would pray in the evenings, for the remainder I prayed very early in the morning. I'm not sure which one I preferred. I kept a Prayer Journal and jotted down a list of 3 things I'd pray for on that day. I'd always end up praying about more, sobbing about more, and opening up about more, but I wanted a solid start up. I thought praying for an hour would be difficult because I'm guilty of popcorn praying like:
"ThankYouGodForTheDayYouAreGreat. ThankYouForMyLifeGrantMeYourProtectionBlessMyFamily. WatchOverMyLovedOnesWatchOverMeInJesusNameAmen."
Praying for an hour was actually quite easy. Within the hour I had time to really bless God. I had time to tell Him how I felt about Him and what I love about Him. I asked for His forgiveness, I thanked Him for everything. I told Him my biggest, heaviest obstacles which was so hard for me at first. I always believed that nothing was impossible for God, but I wasn't bringing my impossible to Him. Many, many times I asked God to help my unbelief. There was one instance where I was trying to find words to explain my biggest dreams and I was so afraid to tell Him because I was telling myself "Yo bro could this really happen to you?" I had to encourage myself and prepare to bring my dreams to God. I know God was laughing at how dramatic I was. Even now as my fast is over my prayer is still for God to help my unbelief in everything that I ask Him for because nothing is too great for God.
There's no proper excuse as to why I didn't devote more time to devote to talking to God before. I feel like I'm talking to God all the time but setting an hour to pray to God forced me to drop everything and give Him my time.
Body language paid a huge role in my prayers. When asking for forgiveness I laid prostrate, when talking to God about loved ones I'd sit upright, Indian-style. When speaking about my dreams and goals I was on my knees. When thanking God I stood up. As I'm explaining this it sounds like a lot but I wanted my body to play part in my prayers - after all I was there for an hour! This isn't required. Maybe I was doing the most. It's just what I thought was right.
Did God answer your prayers?
YES HE DID. He delivered me of one of my biggest "impossibles" on Day 2. All I could say was
I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DID IT, BUT GOD YOU ARE AWESOME!
I don't know if I can say God answered all of my prayers because I don't know what plans He's got tucked away for me but I will say that God showed me that He was listening. For instance, I prayed for something specific. I was specific with the words and what exactly I was looking for from God. A week later in conversation, my friend spoke the EXACT words that I told God, to me. I hadn't mentioned my prayer in conversation but she referred to my prayer and answered what I asked from God. She's carrying on with the conversation completely clueless but my edges were snatched so far back I couldn't breathe because I knew it was God. I'm just grateful that I was paying attention.
What scriptures did you choose to read?
I had a few scriptures that I read about fasting just so I could gain further clarity on how much God finds joy in fasting. Google was a great help in finding those scriptures. I focused on Daniel 1 and meditated on it. This chapter is where Daniel fasted with his friends for 10 days. In Daniel 10, Daniel does the 21 day fast that I did alone. In that chapter God reveals Himself to Daniel after his Fast ended. I mediated on these stories because to be strengthened and recognized by God are all the #LifeGoals.
When was it the hardest?
It was hard all the time. I never noticed that food is everywhere. Billboards, restaurants, newsstands, tv commercials, newspaper ads, all push food up in your face. There are smells everywhere, and people are eating everywhere. Not only that but people would offer me food and drinks forgetting I was fasting and then hit me with "OMG I forgot!" (Like the time my sister made Rasta Pasta on the day I forgot my lunch at home. I was close to disowning her that day.) Abstaining from food was a real challenge.
Living without alcohol wasn't that hard but not drinking is taboo for a lot of people. When I asked someone "What are you drinking?", a lot of people thought that meant "Can I taste your drink?" and lunged their drink towards me. (Why do people do that?) Not wanting to be without cup in hand, I usually ordered a seltzer and lemon or 100% pineapple juice. It wasn't Henny, but at least I had something to sip on!
I wasn't a heavy smoker but I was an active smoker. I had withdrawals on my second night with chest palpitations. They were annoying and impossible to ignore. It kept me from sleeping and I was tempted to make that phone call because "it's natural and it will help me sleep". Instead, I prayed. It was hard, but I'm glad I held out. I didn't suffer another night after that. For all my heavier smokers, your withdrawal might be more severe than mine but please remember that it is possible to stop smoking. Don't break your fast over some weed. Your spirit is stronger than your flesh.
Who did you tell?
I was under the impression that when you fast, no one should know. (Matt 6:18) You can't look like you're doing anything different than when you weren't fasting. But a lot of people were asking why I wasn't drinking with them, smoking with them, eating with them, or active on social media, and I had to explain myself.
What were their reactions?
Many people were understanding and commended me, others thought I was just extreme dieting, others didn't even know what a fast was! I think the only negative response to my decision to fast was from my mom but that's because she's always thought I was too skinny but that's just my mom.
Where did you find food?
If I didn't plan my meals for the day, I couldn't find food. There's not much you can eat from outside that will satisfy the Daniel Fast's requirements unless you're at a fruit stand. Planning your meals are essential. I went to the grocery store and bought my fruits vegetables and salads and made my meals at home. When I ate out, I ate salad and told them to take out all the additives which ended up just being lettuce on my plate. It was better than nothing.
Why the Daniel fast?
I don't know why. My friends had done it in the beginning of the year and the sound of it all was bizarre to me. I could've chosen to fast from meat or dairy since I was new to fasting. Of course that would have made life easier. But because my flesh fought the idea so hard, I knew I had to submit to what my spirit led me to do. I searched within myself and asked my spirit "What can't I sacrifice to God?" I couldn't find an answer. I know that everything I have (and eat) is by Gods mercy and grace. So how could I withhold from God what's already His?
Days before the fast I would complain and ask God "Why do I have to sacrifice cheese, bread, bacon and Hennessy Lordt?! There has to be another way!" Then my spirit replied "Well, how much do you love God?"
What have you learned?
I've learned that discipline only comes from the respect of the Father. In the Kings James version of the Bible it repeats many times that you must "fear" the Lord. As a believer, to "fear the Lord" always sounded troubling to me because the Bible tells me that fear is not real - nor is it of God. This fast has taught me that fear is synonymous with respect and love. Because I didn't want to disappoint/dishonor my Father, I stuck through with the fast. I made a promise to God that I didn't want to break when I'm sacrificing so much to show Him that I am disciplined enough to receive all that I asked for. I know that I will never be perfect and I will always fall short but my dedication of 21 days out of 22 years of life that He's blessed me with is a small token of gratitude and appreciation for all He has done and will do over the course of my life. I thank God that I had this experience along with this new found discipline among other things that I've prayed for and been granted.
I want to fast, do you have any advice?
1. Plan your meals. -.If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Period. Winging it is not an option. Almonds, apples, bananas/plantains oatmeal and water were my most effective fillers and should hold you down in between your meals.
2. Ask God for help. - Fasting is a spiritual experience. If you're struggling, ask God for strength. Your flesh will crave everything, but you can finish strong. I was lucky enough to have a circle of people who really supported me through my fast. Some wouldn't even show me photos of things because they found it on Instagram! I appreciate them. Having people who understand the sacrifice you're making will support you and will not tempt you. If you need a cheerleader, reach out to me. The Bible says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13) The Word is Bond.
3. Buckle your seatbelt. - When you fast, your spiritual senses are on alert because you are intentionally seeking God. He WILL reveal things to you that are not mere coincidence. Trust God's plans and timing. Don't forget to thank Him for your revelations.
Thanks for reading!