Soon after I told my wife that I heard in my spirit to leave my job and start my own business at they end of the year, she told me that she heard in her spirit that I should fast. Initially, I was reluctant but I told her I’d pray about it. Sometime after prayer, I heard from Holy Spirit to do a three-day fast from Dec 4-6. I had never done a fast longer than 12hrs! This was going to be interesting, so I decided to document it.
First, with any type of fast, I think it’s important to start by understanding the purpose of the fast and what you hope to achieve from it. So I sat down and asked God to reveal to me the purpose of my fast.
Purpose Statement: I am fasting to cleanse my mind and my body in preparation for my next dimension.
To maintain my focus, I decided to use my purpose statement as a mantra. Every time I felt a hunger “pang”, I would recite my purpose statement aloud.
Second, from a physical standpoint, I’m not in my best shape and I’ve developed some poor, inconsistent eating habits. I would write down every specific craving I had, to see how outrageous my food imagination would be. I made a list of “meal replacements”: Prayer, mediation, reading, exercise, and water. Gotta replace the missing habit with something else or risk relapse (more on that later).
Third, instead of starting a new devotional for the fast, I kept going with my current one which is focused on wisdom. It would fit well .
Here are my notes:
I woke up, went downstairs, and enjoyed a whole bowl of cereal and bananas! Wait, I forgot! I call do-over! From THIS point on, I’m fasting. I didn’t realize how subconscious eating was. (Lesson: it would have been easy to just give up the day and “start over” the next day. The next day could have easily turned into never, so it’s always best to start where you are.)
Moving past the initial hiccup, the day went along fine. Water and mantra. We went to the mall to take the Christmas picture with Santa. Why we did enter through the Food Court? The Sin City of fasting, with their pushy (probably not) sample giving greeters, shoving their bite size temptations in my face! Now I understand Psalm 23 on a whole other level, especially the part, “…yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” You are with me, Lord, right? Water and mantra.
(Courtesy of womansinsite.com)
After we left the “MSG paradise”, we took family portraits in matching…elf…PJs (my wife thought it would be “cute”…). I noticed that when I was occupied or thinking about something, I had fewer cravings. After the photo shoot, it was too late to cook. We (excuse me, they) decided to grab some Chinese food for dinner. My kids love ribs so I suggested they try some Chinese spare ribs. Epic fail. They hated the sauce. Usually, I would be right there for the rebound, instead they escaped to the fridge, taunting me. 收口, 肋骨! (translation: Shut up, ribs!). I love Tupperware for its automation functions but I didn’t realize how many leftovers were stacked in our fridge. It was like my personal Pu Pu Platter. So close, yet so far. My first headache arrived right before bed. My wife asks if I had eaten, then said, “Oops, I forgot.” Aspirin, water, and mantra. Goodnight.
Devotional: Psalm 37:4, Job 41-42, Psalm 1-2
I woke up sluggish. I don’t think it was from the fast. It’s probably from not eating and not getting any exercise yesterday. As I went downstairs to prepare my kids breakfast and lunch, this time I remembered that I’m fasting, no Frosted Flakes. Water and mantra. I realize that being in the kitchen made me think I was hungry even though I wasn’t (or at least not as hungry as my eyes were, lol). Being around food in the kitchen, my sense of smell was heighten. I got reintroduced to the aroma of certain foods that I had taken for granted: peanut butter, waffles, syrup, even cereal. (Lesson: If you can, you probably should hand over the cooking duties while you’re fasting. There’s so much tasting in cooking!)
I had a bevy of random cravings as I drove the kids to school. It was like my mind was working against me. “Stop already before I swerve into this Wawa and spend $25 on doughnuts!” I finished up some work at the library, came home to finish my workday. I just found out Hulu has all the seasons of Top Chef (easily one of my top 3 shows all time). I found it to be a great white noise while I was working the previous week. This week, it was like having a recovering alcoholic work at a liquor store. What was I thinking?! (Lesson: When fasting from anything, especially TV, listen to music, podcasts, and teachings to re-direct your focus.)
We had some chicken wings that had thawed out and needed to be cooked, so again I was made to do some cooking. I wonder if this is how Jesus felt during his fast…Word of advice: if you do find yourself having to cook during your fast, WASH YOUR HANDS. Sauce and seasoning left on your fingers is the work of the Devil. I made BBQ chicken and there was this moment after I was done mixing the wings in the sauce, where a small piece of chicken had broken off and was still in the bowl. I believe I heard it talk, it had a woman’s voice. It said, “I won’t tell.” The crazy thing is I probably would have cracked but the voice freaked me out. I thought, “Either my mind is playing tricks on me or my gut is trying to will some food in it.” Water and mantra. By this time, the mantra was really effective in stabilizing my mindset and focusing on the end result I wanted from this fast.
My toughest challenge came that night. I had to go to the convenience store to pick up some pickles for my wife (it’s her favorite snack but they have to be a certain favor). It didn’t seem like an issue, except I didn’t bring any cash and of course her snacks didn’t meet the credit card minimum. So doing what I usually do, I told the cashier to add not one but two Duchess honeybuns, no second thought. When the cashier put those delicious, sugary “Delilahs” in my hand I knew at that point, if I took them in the house, they wouldn’t make past midnight. Quick thinking, I locked them in the glove compartment! This way, I would forget about them, outta sight, outta mind. They would be a great treat after my fast, if I remembered them, lol.
Devotional: Ecclesiastes 11:5, Psalm 3-6
On the last day of the fast, I woke feeling great. My mind was clear and I planned on treating this day like a victory lap. Head downstairs, my wife, who is a conference coordinator for a prestigious university, has brought a large catering tray of assorted baked treats and a large bag of gourmet cookies home from a big conference she hosted yesterday. Great! (sarcastically) My refrigerator now looks like a treasure chest for college students returning home. Water and mantra. Despite the haunting treasure chest, I spent most of the day taking in all the lessons I received in my devotion and mediation time during this fast. (Lesson: When fasting is done right, you realize how far you can run off just feeding your spirit.)
As victory became apparent, late in the evening, I started to worry that I would gorge on everything I could get my hands on, the day after the fast. What would be my first food/meal after my fast? There was the fridge full of random foods, those Duchess honeybuns, or I could get something from my list of cravings. As I woke up and headed downstairs feeling like the World Heavyweight Fasting Champion, it hit me. Cereal. Just how the fast started.
Devotional: James 1:5, Psalm 7-10
My List of Cravings:
- Chicken Cobb or Market fruit salad
- Red Robin Bleu Cheese Burger
- A bowl of Frosted Flakes with sliced bananas
- Smoothie King tropical fruit and banana with protein shot smoothie
- Almond butter, sliced strawberries and bananas, and strawberry jam sandwich
- Grilled Cheese sandwich and butternut squash soup
- Black truffles
- Seafood Newburg
- America’s Best Wings’ Thai chili wings with bleu cheese dressing
- Boilermaker chili with spicy sausage and jalapeno cheddar cornbread
- Rib sandwich on a Kaiser roll (from a food truck)
- Lobster roll
- Popeye’s shrimp and fish box with extra cocktail and tartar sauce
- McDonald’s fish sandwich (light tartar sauce)
- Chinese spare ribs, shrimp egg rolls, chicken dumplings, pork on a stick, and crab Rangoon
- Creamy, cheddar scalloped potatoes
- Crab cakes
- A Pizza Hut stuffed crusted pizza with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, red onions and green peppers
- Denver omelet with spicy salsa
- Duchess honeybun
- Columbian coffee
- Wawa chocolate cover doughnut, lemon cake lemon and white iced doughnut and a bacon ham pepper jack cheese and egg Sizzli
- Orange juice (medium pulp) and a banana
- BBQ chicken wings
- Thick cut maple brown bacon