Twenty-One Days

andyallen —  January 23, 2012 — Leave a comment

(Disclaimer: this post is not meant to boast or draw attention to myself. I am posting this for two specific reasons: 1] to possibly be an encouragement for someone else choosing to do a fast, and 2] as a means of honestly processing this for myself so that I’ll remember what the experience was like.)

I started 2012 out with a 21 day fast. A legitimate grown-up 21 day liquid-only fast.

I’d never REALLY fasted before. I’ve done the ‘skip-a-lunch-a-week-fast‘ and the ‘skip-one-meal-a-week-fast‘ and the ‘I’ll-fast-electronics-because-I-don’t-have-the-willpower-to-fast-food-fast‘…but never something quite like this.

I didn’t do this fast for health reasons, it was spiritually motivated for me and I’m fairly certain that’s the only reason I was able to sustain my determination to complete the task. I learned a lot about myself and had moments of spiritual connection and clarity that moved my soul.

Here are a few things I discovered by fasting…
I learned I’m weak.
I learned that I love food too much.
I learned that I don’t really like to sacrifice.
I found empathy with people who have actually faced starvation.
I felt solidarity with the few individuals who were on this fast with me.
I felt disconnected with my family to some extent…didn’t like this part at all!
I found my heart completely wrecked and undone by the spirit of God.
I saw my emotions become a bit more raw and available.
I discovered how easily I can rely on food to fill boredom.
I realized that I could actually do this and will probably fast for health reasons someday.
I found myself more relaxed.
I experienced decreased energy and mental sharpness.
I realized how much I connect with my family during mealtimes…it’s significant.
I rediscovered how much I love experiencing God’s presence.
I felt like my love for God increased.
I would easily cry when I sensed God’s love and presence in a moment.
I hated fasting…but loved that I found the determination to complete it.
I realized I could manufacture a reason to justify breaking the fast at pretty much any time.

I was reminded how much self-discipline can suck.

I never really achieved the sustained mental clarity and burst in energy I hear people talk about. I had only one day like that.

As I broke the fast it was fun to actually eat food again…but I was surprised that I didn’t find the same satisfaction in eating that I did before this fast. I think there is something to still being in a state of mind that what is sustaining me is spiritual.

I didn’t have one specific breakthrough spiritual moment. I had times I felt my soul was connected to God and others. I was kind of frustrated that I wasn’t sensing something greater as the fast went on. These were the times when it was the greatest struggle to not just break the fast.

I’m curious to see how I look back on the fast as time goes on. It was incredibly challenging…but also rewarding. I’m not sure I’ll fast like this again.

Even though I didn’t have some great spiritual encounter…I honestly kind of thought I might…it did reveal many things about myself and for that I’m grateful.

Have you fasted food for a long period of time? What was your experience?
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