Wow. Can you believe we are at day 20 with this thang? I misspelled that on purpose, to all you spelling sticklers. Don’t worry, spelling is my gift, so if I misspell, it is usually intentional.
I am so excited to be able to type those words: Day 20. And I’m also glad I lessened the posts during this second half of the fast, because actually, it has been rather boring. I think that’s part of the difficulty of an extended fast. The second half seems to be full of quiet, peaceful days, and inner contemplation and slow outer transformation. I continue to have about 3 juices a day, 1/2 gallon of purified water, 2-3 cups of herbal or detox tea, and occasional broth to give me my yummy salt. Last time we talked I said I was going to cut my caffeine intake by half, and I did it for 2 days, but really, my heart wasn’t in it, so I quit and went back to my full cup.
I don’t want to give up coffee. I only have one cup a day, and I feel no conviction whatsoever to take it out of my life. Even after reading some of the information a friend sent my way about the effects of coffee on the body, I still feel fine with drinking a cup a day. Most of the info I read was for consumption of more than what I drink. It’s part of my morning routine, and I will take it out in the summer sometimes for a few weeks, but I’m comfortable with coffee in my life for now.
This fast is easily the hardest thing I have ever done for my entire being. I have fasted for spiritual reasons and for much shorter time periods in the past, I have trained for distance races, I have gone through financial disaster, horrible pregnancies, and 3 C-sections. I have spent years of my life sleep-deprived, and have gone through two different seasons of life in an intense struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
And this was harder than any of those. I suppose most of those were bad things that happened to me, while this was something that I happened to myself, if that makes sense. But the will is a weak and slimy thing if not governed, and I have learned that lesson in shouts of white-knuckled battles against my will during this fast. Mind over matter, they say, and those three words hold an entire world of potential for good or evil.
Why was this so hard?
Mentally, I fought myself down into a state of submission to a higher call that I was certain about. That is probably the strongest weapon I had against my will: certainty that this was what I was supposed to do. Also, grace. God’s grace should never be underestimated. Like the Bible says, He can open doors no man can close, and close doors no man can open. Amen! Another mental difficulty was the loss of my drug. Food was an addiction for me, a source of comfort, of worth, a counterfeit home. It has been an addiction for 20 years. Breaking this kind of dependency was wretched because I had become the addicted, and ceased to be who I was meant to. It immediately felt like a death at first, and I mourned the loss of bad foods as though they were a person I needed desperately. That alone was quite illuminating into my sorry mental state.
And perhaps the death was to the old me, the worse me, and as Jonathan Foreman of my favorite band Switchfoot writes in the song 24, “I am the second man now.”
Physically, an extended fast requires the quieting down of our busy scurries. We must learn the new limitation of our fasting body, know that the amazing energy we are feeling does have a ceiling, and be willing to pursue balance in rest, nutrient intake, and exercise.
Spiritually, there is patience to be learned, and annoyingly enough, the only way to learn patience is by being patient. It is a fruit of the Spirit, and this is why I label it a spiritual practice. Also, it is a very overlooked quality, especially in our American lives.
And emotionally, in a fast, old and current thoughts and hurts come quickly to the surface as we expose our beings to the fragility and metamorphosis that an extended fast promises. These things must be dealt with, and forgiveness dealt out generously in order to proceed. Not just forgiveness for others, but ourselves. We must come to the true realization of many of the wrongs we ourselves have committed, and then, just as thoroughly, must apply God’s forgiveness to them in order to made clean and set free. Many of us are carrying around years of self-hatred.
It is time to love yourself again. Like maybe you did when you were a kid, before the world started comparing you and teaching you to compare yourself. Before lies about your health and dreams and God-loved self replaced the truths that seemed so easy to understand when you were small.
And maybe it is time to love the you that God made, and then, to love the people in your world in much the same way.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-30)
You never know what you’ll learn about God, yourself, and your neighbor when you do a fast. Many of us don’t even realize that the dreams that lie dormant in our souls were always fully meant to be realized by the One who created us with variety and color and art and hope. And don’t ever think following God isn’t supposed to be wonderful!
I am going to continue posting every 5 days for now. When I get to the home stretch next Friday, I may decide to post every other day. But for now, there is not much to report. My skin looks amazing, my sleep is great, my strong energy continues, mental clarity abounds, gratitude has overwhelmed my thoughts, and I stand amazed at the transformation that is taking place both inside and outside of me.
Oh yeah, and I weighed myself. As of this morning, I have lost 19 lbs.
I plan to break my fast on April 6, which is also Good Friday, the day our Lord was crucified, and I will do so with fruits that have a high water content, followed by leafy greens and some broths with veggies throughout that day and the next. I plan to eat my first whole meal on Easter Sunday, April 8.
And how fitting to come fully out of the cocoon on Easter morning! I praise God, who made me, for the strength, health and joy that this fast has added to my life during such an appropriate time as Lent.
I pray that my journey through this 30 day country has (and continues to) inspired you and strengthened your resolve to be fully The Greenest Version of yourself!