It's three weeks into the New Year and the days have been flying this past week! Usually the spring semester starts off slow and stays that way until at least the middle of February...not this year though. Maybe it's because I'm in my second to last semester and I'm taking all upper-level Business/Economics classes that involve reading, researching and math!!! Talk about some scary stuff.
The year has gotten off to a good yet rough start for me. I know it's going to be a fantastic semester, but it's going to be a lot of work. My church up in Bellbrook, Ohio on January 3rd started a three week time of prayer and fasting for God to move in the church, memeber's lives, the community and this nation. I felt strongly that I should do it with them because my pastor preached on how "Prayer + Fasting = Breakthrough."
I needed a breakthrough and was desperate for God to move in my life and provide answers to my uncertain plans for this year so I knew that I should do it. The question was when to start though...I left to return to Jacksonville on January 4th so I decided to wait until I got settled in again and could see what I had for food and what I needed to buy. Needless to say I waited until I ran out of these delicious little egg and sausage sandwiches that I had in my freezer and so the morning of Sun. January 9th was the day. (I had my last one the day before-haha)
I hope you're not freaking out and thinking that I, one of the most fortunate girls who hardly gains weight--hehe--haven't been eating at all, well, please stop those thoughts right there. :P
The fast that Bellbrook Community Church has been doing has been "the Daniel fast." In Daniel 10:2-3 it says, "At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."
Now I have not done the fast for three weeks as my pastor had wanted the church to do for ideally three weeks was best. He said that it was up to the individual to decide how long they wished to do it. Honestly, I could have done the full three weeks but I started late and financially (and physically) I can't really go too long without meat. I'm also starting to exercise more and be more active so I will need more protein. BUT...I have gone two weeks (nearly) without eating meat! I never knew it was something I could struggle with until I chose not to eat it! Major props to anyone who is a vegetarian or vegan...I respect your personal decision/belief, but I will admit that I just can't do it...I love meat too much! haha
Okay, so I cut out meat from my diet (and that has included fish and seafood--which has majorly been killing me) and I don't really drink so "wine" for me did not mean alcohol...it meant tea....SWEET. TEA. For those of you who know me well, I love any kind of tea--except unsweet and...English breakfast-haha--and I will drink it ALL the time. So cutting this out was also a huge challenge for me. I am drinking a certain type of tea for health reasons so I limited myself to just drinking tea from tea bags (and only from my collection).
The part about "no choice (desirable) food" has probably been the most difficult part of this whole period of fasting. I live and eat on a college campus so I am pretty limited when it comes to finding bland or just so-so foods (without meat in them mind you, there's plenty of horrible food on any college campus--except maybe Harvard? haha) to eat. That is why I chose to only do it for two out of the three weeks. Some of my choice foods have been chocolate, anything sweet (cereals, desserts, cookies, ice cream, pastries, muffins, brownies, bakalavaaaaaaa (my new all-time favorite dessert-btw) but you get the picture), things dipped or marinated in olive oil, tortilla españolas, pasta with butter and garlic, my favorite juice, smoothies, etc. I haven't started having dreams about these foods yet, but if I went another week I probably would be.
Anyway, since starting this fast I have noticed some good things health-wise. Problem areas on my face, where I always seem to still get a little bit of acne, have been clearing up. My skin feels softer, my nails seem whiter, I don't get really thirsty anymore and I have been falling asleep much easier! I think it's because I have been drinking more water, eating a ton of fruits and vegetables, pasta, whole grains, eggs, rice, whole wheat bread (lots of PB sandwiches for lunch-hehe)...all the things I usually eat but without meat! It's odd how something with so much protein and other good things can be bad for you when you think of all the additives and preservatives (and how processed they become!!!) that are in the meats we eat in this country. While I need and crave the protein from meat, honestly it's done me some good to go without it for the time being. Cleansing my body (and spirit) this way has been beneficial...but it doesn't come without challenges that's for sure.
I came into this fast hoping for some big breakthroughs. I hoped to start the semester off right and get into a good, productive routine. I wanted to have the tutoring calls start pouring in and work to arrange that schedule. I hoped for more internship opportunities and possible part-time job gigs to pop up. I hoped that my home business (which is a whole nother story) to start growing. I hoped for more opportunities to hang out with friends before things start to get busy. I hoped to be able to tithe and start trusting God for answers this year.
Well...I'll fill you in on what has actually happened during this season of fasting in the next post! Keep reading. :)