Monday, February 1, 2016

What God Taught Us Through the Daniel Fast

Hello! Long time, no blog talk! For the past 21 days, Jared and I joined our church in the Awakening and participated in the Daniel Fast. I also fasted from social media as well, which is the reason there haven't been any blog posts in a few weeks.

If you don't know what it is exactly, I've pasted some information from this website to answer any questions you might have. 

What is the Daniel Fast?

The Daniel Fast is a Biblically based partial fast* based on two instances of Daniel’s fasting experiences.
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.” (Daniel 1:12)
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Daniel 10:1-2)
Based on the information that we glean from these references we understand that the Daniel Fast eating plan is vegan in nature, with additional restrictions. In the first Scripture we see that Daniel ate only:
  • Only Fruits and Vegetables
  • And drank ONLY water
Which would also mean that he ate no processed, artificial, or chemically altered foods. From the second Scripture we learn that Daniel’s diet did not allow:
  • Animal products
  • Pleasant/precious food, which would include all sweeteners, including honey, agave syrup, maples syrup, etc.
  • Alcohol
Over these past few weeks, Jared and I ate some delicious and creative meals without meat! If you know us at all, you know that we ALWAYS have some kind of meat with our meals. This was a HUGE change and took a while to adjust to because we were so used to the protein from meat filling us up. We had some hits and misses with a couple recipes, but overall, we REALLY enjoyed the food and after the first week, we got more used to not having meat and dairy. It was tough, don't get us wrong, but it was also not as bad as we thought it would be going into it. Which led us to share what God taught us through the fast. 

Jared: Growing up in church I never heard much about fasting.  I knew what it was but was never taught how to do it or what the true meaning behind it was.  Anxious was about the only word I could use to describe how I felt leading up to day one of the fast.  After a couple days into the fast I felt really good with how it was going physically and spiritually.  I never 'wanted' or 'craved' foods that weren't included on the fast.  It was a completely different feeling from the 28 day meal plan Kelsey and I did a couple months ago.  It was really cool relying on God to take care of our needs when it came to something as simple as food. 

I did learn a couple things during this fast.  The first was that I needed to stop wanting more and wanting something new.  I spent a lot of my free time looking at houses, clothes, cars, etc.  Not that wanting more in life is a bad thing, I just took it a little too far by letting it dominate my free time thinking and my conversations with Kelsey.  I realized I need to enjoy what I have now and be thankful for where God has us and what He has given us.  It helped me see Kelsey in a light that I haven't seen in a while, since my thoughts were clouded with these extra 'wants'.  The second thing I learned was that God isn't done with His plans for Kelsey and I.  I have had a couple struggling years playing golf and didn't know if I was ever going to be able to provide for Kelsey and I or if it was always going to be the way it has been the past couple years.  We were reminded that God isn't just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention to us, but that He is working on our behalf in the background during those two years building Kelsey and I into the type of people He can use in 2016.  Our dream isn't dead and we are excited for what God has in store for us this year.  We believe He is going to take us to places we have only imagined we could go.  I am thankful that this fast has changed my thinking and changed my emotions and my attitude.  

Kelsey: When I was younger, I went through a period of under eating and being obsessed with exercise as you can read in my story here. Over time, I got back to a healthy relationship with exercise and I am able to eat plenty of delicious food, but I got to a point where I was obsessed with eating healthy. I would eat PLENTY, but I just got too carried away with "is there enough protein in this? Are there enough healthy fats?" Etc.. I was CONSTANTLY thinking about food and making sure that it was the "right" food. At first I thought the fast would be a little difficult for me given my background, but in fact it was exactly the opposite! It HELPED me break away from my obsession with food! During the fast, God told me that it was time to STOP thinking about food all the time and replace those thoughts with HIM! I love God with all my heart, and I try my very best to put Him first in everything I do, but those silly thoughts about food were blocking an even closer bond and relationship with Him! He showed me that HE WILL PROVIDE ALL I NEED.  I need to focus on HIM and HE will bring me JOY! I cannot begin to describe how freeing it feels to not have my brain bogged down with food all the time. 

I also fasted from social media and it gave me LOTS of time to pray and be involved with WHERE I WAS PHYSICALLY instead of being caught up in what my friends were doing in different parts of the country. I am not giving up social media completely, but it helped me realize that I spent a lot of time on it when I could be really embracing where I was at at the moment! I am going to limit how much time I spend on it from now on and just enjoy each moment :) 

Lastly, God taught me that He supplies all of my needs ALL the time. Jared and I spend A LOT of time apart, and I used to get super jealous of all the fun things he was able to do on golf trips while I was at home working. But God told me to stop worrying about what Jared's doing and focus on the AWESOME opportunities that He gives me at home! I have an absolutely AMAZING church family and I have gotten close to quite a few girls. We have our small group meetings a couple nights a week, but I also have the prime opportunity to have GIRL TIME a whole bunch when Jared's at a tournament! I LOVE SPENDING TIME WITH MY GIRLS! God also reminded me how truly blessed I am with my jobs! I watch both a 6 year old and a baby (well, technically toddler now, haha) that I absolutely adore and I have so much fun while I'm "at work", I can't even really call it work because I just enjoy it so much. We play games and go to fun places and I help with homework. I am just truly blessed! 

Here's a little glimpse into some of the food we ate during the fast:
Vegetarian Chili AKA buncha beans in a bowl with some spice. ;)

We used a GREENS mix from a Fit Snack Box with our banana oatmeal waffles. All you do is mix a ripe banana with 1 and a 1/2 cups of oatmeal and 1 and 1/4 cup water. Super easy and delicious! 

Plantain Nachos! These were soooooo good. All we did was drop a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil into the skillet and place the sliced plantains on top and let them brown. 

We topped them with peanut butter and they were very tasty!

We have an air popper for popcorn, so we used that and a couple of times we poured peanut butter on top with some cinnamon for some flavor. Most of the time, we just ate it plain. 

Overall, it was a wonderful experience for both of us over the 21 days. Hope you all have a great year! Here's to an amazing 2016!

Infinity Ball