My Journey Through A Fast
by Tracy Goddard
We fast every year together as a church in January for 21 days. This looks a little different each year. Many years my family and I choose to do a version of a fast known as the Daniel plan which consists mostly of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Sometimes we add lean protein, other times we don’t. Some years I have given up caffeine which means no coffee; my family always cringes when that happens. We always give up sweets and pop for those seem like indulgences we definitely don’t need during a fast. The point is, there are many things one could give up in sacrifice to God. The question is, are we willing to give up these things for God?
In September, right before Rivers Crossing’s 10-year anniversary celebration, Pastor Paul asked the staff to participate in a 10 day fast leading up to our celebration. The goal was to be in prayer over the coming 10 years of the Church and the work God would have us do. Pastor Paul asked us to really challenge ourselves through this fast and to ask God what that would look like throughout the 10 days.
I asked God how I should fast during the ten days and felt the spirit leading me to a water and liquid only fast. What, was I hearing Him right? I had never attempted anything like this before and to be completely honest, I was afraid. It’s hard enough to go from lunch to dinner without indulging in the chocolate candy bowl on my desk much less give up all food completely for 10 days! In my mind, I decided to do water only for the first 3 days and as I would surely be approaching death by day four I would begin to add food back in, my plan, not His. I’m not going to lie, day one and two of water only were completely miserable. I was literally
crashing from everything. No coffee in the morning, no food, no chocolate or afternoon run to the pop machine to perk myself up. I think half of the first two days were spent in a complete fog. At the start of day three, Pastor Jeff asked me how my fast was going and I said, “Honestly, not good. I can’t concentrate, my head is cloudy and I am trying to spend time withGod (because that is the point of fasting in the first place) and I don’t even feel like I can put a coherent sentence together much less be able to hear from Him.” Pastor Jeff’s response to me was, “that was normal for a water only fast. This kind of fast was a different type of sacrifice, but if I stuck with it I would break through all of that.” Although I was skeptical, he was right. Day three ended up being much better and the hunger pains started to subside and I began feeling more clarity in my thoughts. Day four I got up to again attempt to spend some coherent time with God and something very different happened on this day that lasted throughout the remainder of the fast. I sat down to spend time with God, began praying and reading my Bible and He spoke to me. I wasn’t even praying about anything specific and He began to drop ideas into my head, new ways to look at and do things that I hadn’t thought of before. I was so excited, this is what the sacrifice was all for, spending time with and hearing from God more clearly.
In full disclosure, from day four on I did add 10 ounces of juice for a bit of vitamins and a little boost of energy, but that was it for the entire 10 days. And wow, to my complete surprise, I felt great! Friends would ask how I was doing and said I was glowing which was amazing because by the end I truly thought I would look and feel like the walking dead. But the experience was quite the opposite. I felt great and wasn’t even hungry. I can’t quite explain it, by my time with God was amazing. During the sacrifice of those ten days, God began to blow prayers wide open. I began to see the fruit of the years of obedience spent with Him. Pastor Paul said the fast would be like this, but I was a little skeptical. It’s not that I didn’t believe him, but he’s the Pastor, God would surely give him the strength to fast in this way, but I didn’t believe that I could accomplish it too.
I encourage you as we approach 2018’s 21 day fast beginning this Sunday to really ask God what he wants from you. Stretch yourself beyond what you have done before and see what you too can do in His strength. We are all called to fast, not just the Pastors. Make a firm commitment to what you feel God is calling you to and see it through. Commit to spending time with Him each day, regardless of whether you feel like you’re getting through or not, the breakthrough comes after the first couple of days. I never thought I would say this, but I am really looking forward to this year’s fast and liquid only again and am excited to spend this kind of sacrificial time with God to see what He has in store for 2018.