The time I tried the Daniel Fast.


I’m beginning to write this seven days into the Daniel Fast, and I’m already doing a pretty great job at messing it up. I’ve cheated more than once, and I haven’t read a chapter of John every day.

It’s basically turning into a period of giving up sweet tea and donuts (not anymore on the donuts… Update: Or the sweet tea…) and overwhelming guilt.

The Backstory: My pastor asked our church to participate in the Daniel Fast as we begin the new year. If you don’t know what that is, it’s where you limit your diet by taking out meat, dairy, sweets and leavened bread for 21 days. You essentially eat like Daniel did in Daniel 1. In addition to this, we were supposed to read a chapter of John every day. So since everyone else was doing it, I figured I’d give it a shot. Why not right?

I could make up excuses to why I’m sucking at it like food is my ultimate weakness and even though John is one of my favorite books of the Bible, I’ve read it so many times in the past year that I just don’t want to read it right now. Plus I’m doing a pretty solid job of keeping up with She Reads Truth at the moment and adding a chapter of John each day will probably mean sacrificing one of them, and that’s just the truth of my current state of Bible reading.

But honestly, those excuses don’t matter because my heart wasn’t in it. It still isn’t.

But despite all of that, the Lord is still faithful and He has taught me significantly  more in these days of attempting and failing miserably at the Daniel Fast than I think He would have if I would have executed it perfectly.

I realized that I love food. Maybe too much. I don’t really know. I just know that I don’t have much self-control when it comes to food. Maybe I’m gluttonous. I only overeat occasionally though, and I can mostly control my portions. But I just can’t turn down free food, and sometimes I drool in grocery stores. I love food especially the food that you can’t eat on the Daniel Fast. It’s delicious, and I thank God for it. Life would be boring without good food.

Can food be an idol? Probably. In fact, our whole day is planned around meals (and class and work and everything else that’s important to us), but maybe it should be planned around time with God instead. Whoa. That’s intensely convicting isn’t it?

But food isn’t bad. Besides the fact that we need food to survive, I think back at all of the sweet, meaningful times spent with friends and family over meals or coffee.

I’ve also realized how damaging legalism can be to me. I’m not saying in any way that this fast was legalistic. But I am saying that I made it that way. I held myself to a standard that I couldn’t reach. I looked at the list of foods I wasn’t “supposed” to eat for 21 days and made it into a set of strict rules to follow. I do this often with so many different things. I even make my relationship with Christ that is full of love, kindness and forgiveness into a set of rules I have to follow. If I don’t follow them, He won’t love me. I won’t be good enough. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. The truth is He loves me regardless of whether or not I follow the ten commandments at all times. Regardless of whether I succeed at the Daniel Fast. Granted I should repent when I sin but the point is He loves me, and because of that He forgives me when I fail Him. When I break His heart by turning down the path well traveled instead of the narrow one, when I turn my back on Him and walk the other direction, when I run right past His open arms into the arms of something else, when I sin.  He loves us at our weakest and most disgusting moments, and that’s what makes the gospel so beautiful.

My promises will never be good enough. I won’t keep all of my promises. I can’t because I’m not perfect. I am human. Flawed. But God always keeps His promises because He is holy. His promise to love and care for me. His promise to forgive me when I mess up. Never failing and never ending. His promises are forever. I am so thankful for that.

I have to remind myself that God doesn’t call us to a new law. He calls us to a relationship with Him. Christianity isn’t supposed to be a set of rules and regulations. And I know that. It’s been drilled into me since I was born. But I make it that way so often. Do I really act like this is a relationship? Or am I just trying to be as good as I can because that’s what I am supposed to do? So I can impress God or other people?

It’s not a set of rules. It’s a relationship. And relationships are messy. They are far from perfect. They’re up and down. In and out. Sideways. You argue. You cry. You smile. You fight and make up. You forgive and forget. You move on. You laugh. You serve. You give. You sacrifice. You hug. You hit. You walk away. You communicate. You reminisce. You encourage. You comfort. You get mad. You hate. You love. It’s a roller coaster.

And that’s exactly what we have with God. Thankfully one side of the relationship is perfect, but my side… definitely not.

Every relationship is different. My relationship with my sister is different than your relationship with yours. So my relationship with God is going to look different than yours. What works to grow your faith is different than mine. Your spiritual gifts are different than mine. Our struggles, where we find our joy, how we tell others about Jesus, where and when we pray, everything is different. And that’s okay. We don’t have to all look the same. We don’t all have to interact with God the same. We don’t have to act out our faith the same way. And so often I look at other people who seem to have it all together and seem to be such good Christians, and they are, but I compare myself to them. Then I think that maybe I should be acting more like that girl over there or sharing my faith like that guy on the other side of the room, but what if that just doesn’t work for me? What if I’m not good at what they do? Because God has gifted me and called me to something different. Something unique to me.

This may be why there’s so much disagreement among Christians. Because we’re all unique and we think we’re the only one who’s right when in reality God is the only one who’s right. But isn’t our uniqueness what makes it so beautiful? That God can reach such a wide variety of individuals. That He doesn’t just love one specific set of people who are all similar. That despite our dissimilarities we are all the same in that we are all sons and daughters of Christ. Heirs to His throne. We (should) love each other despite our differences because we’re all the same. We’re all loved by the one who created us.

Finally I realized that for the first time doing something remotely close to the Daniel Fast, it wasn’t wise for me to start with a 21 day fast from my favorite foods. So, I think next time I am going to fast on my own when God tells me it’s a good time, how He tells me it should be done and for how long I should do it. It’ll actually be something attainable where my heart is in it. Where I’m not guilty because I’m failing man, but convicted because I’m failing God. Where I can grow as a Christian and grow closer to the Lord. Then eventually maybe I’ll try the Daniel Fast again because I don’t hate the idea. It just wasn’t for me this time around.


I Have A Trust Problem.

This past year I’ve learned a lot about myself, and through this I’ve grown so much. I finally understand the root of some of my major problems and sins. I worry a lot. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, and until recently I didn’t necessarily want to fix it or even know how if I did want to fix it. The answer is Jesus. It always is.

Along with my worry problem, I also get stressed extremely easily. It’s also always been a problem for me, and sometimes it might be because I’m a horrible procrastinator, but most of the time, it’s because my focus isn’t where it should be. It should be on God.

Finally, I have this problem with impatience. It’s definitely the least prevalent out of all of these, but it’s there and a problem. I want things, now. But that’s not God’s plan, and I need to accept that.

All of these point to one thing, and that’s my very prevalent and strong trust problem. To put it simply, I don’t trust God in a lot of aspects of my life. I like to say I do, but because of my worry, stress and impatience, I don’t live like I do.

BUT since God has made me realize all of this, I’m working on it, and nothing has felt so good. I’m not perfect in any of these areas, and I don’t think I will ever be. I have improved, though. I don’t worry or stress nearly as much. This past semester may have been my hardest semester yet, but it didn’t feel that way, and I’m so thankful for that. Putting everything in His hands and trusting that His plans are what’s best for me, not mine, is the best feeling. It’s so draining worrying and stressing, and so relieving when you let it all go and let God control it. My goal is to close my eyes, take His hand and let Him lead me wherever He wants because that’s so much easier than planning everything on my own.


And A Selfish Problem.

Up until this point, this was written a while ago. I never posted it because it never felt complete. What I’m about to add may not make what was already written complete, but I think it will make the blog overall more complete.

Yesterday, I realized another problem that is so prevalent in my life, I almost missed it. It doesn’t come back to the trust problem, but it’s still important. I am a very selfish person. I pretend I’m not, but I am. I think of myself most of the time and leave very little room for anyone else. And the people I do leave room for are my friends and family. Typically, I don’t give a second thought to the homeless guy I pass on the street or the person who looks lost in Walmart or anyone who needs help. I just walk by. There are so many people in the world who need help or love or a hug, and I don’t give it to them. I don’t even try. And I don’t try because I don’t want to.

I think this selfishness that I have may steam from my personality. I’m not trying to give excuses for why I’m so selfish, but I truly think this is why I am so selfish. I need people’s acceptance. I need people to like me. I constantly apologize for being me, and I constantly try to impress people. It’s something I’ve always done. I simply care what people think of me, and I think that all of this points to selfishness. I have always been so absorbed in myself and how others view me that I don’t even glance at the people around me. It doesn’t matter what people think of me because God made me perfectly the way I am, and it’s so selfish to think that He didn’t.

I have a friend. Her name is Kylee, and I would consider her one of my best friends. One of the reasons why is because she consistently pushes me to be a better me. She forces me to go out of comfort zone so I can improve. She takes the time to attempt to help me. And she did this all before I even made the connection. Yes, I wanted to fix it before now, but I never even really knew the problem. Maybe she didn’t see my selfishness, but everything she has done to make me care less about what people think has been steps toward a more selfless me. God knew what He was doing when He put her in my life. I am so thankful for Kylee and her ability to understand me when I didn’t even understand myself, and she means more to me than she’ll ever know because of that. And maybe the reason I’m sharing all of this on this blog is because I can’t talk to her right now to tell her how I finally understand. And I just had to tell someone. I get it, y’all. It all makes sense now.

And now I will pray a lot. I will put in extra effort in all of these things to improve and get better. And TRUST that God will always 100% of the time take care of me and put me into the situations and places that I’m supposed to be in and that He will never give me too much to handle.

Thanks, God, for forgiving me for things I’ve already done and things I will do, and thanks for being there. I can’t do it on my own.

Sin is sin is sin.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I know the phrase “sin is sin is sin” is extremely cliché, and you’ve probably heard it a million times. But it’s also extremely true, and I bet most of you don’t even stop to fully understand what it means.

I’ve heard people express so many times how one sin is greater than another when that isn’t true at all. God sees all sin as just that… sin. We as humans have the tendency to be more forgiving and have more acceptance towards sins such as lying or worrying, but God sees them just the same as murder or adultery. Today, we as Christians put huge emphasis on sins like homosexuality and abortion, and I guess I can see why… because they’re sins that have started being accepted by society today, but if you think about it, A LOT of sins are accepted by society. I think that, as Christians, no we shouldn’t accept these sins… we shouldn’t even tolerate them, but we do need to realize that murder is the same as lying. Homosexuality is the same as worrying. It’s all sin, and it’s all forgiven by God. So, since it’s forgiven by God, we need to forgive it too. I know it’s hard… believe me I do. When I think about the awful people in this world like murderers, rapists, etc… I don’t want to forgive them, but I should.

Hate the sin, not the sinner. That’s what God does and aren’t we supposed to strive to be more like Him? LOVE the sinner, no matter how “bad” the sin is.

I also see so often Christians look down on other Christians because of their past. If they’re saved, they’re a new creature, a new person. Their slate has been wiped clean. So why judge someone, a saved someone, based on their past? None of that matters. None of it. All that matters is that that person is new. That person is 100% clean in God’s eyes. Yes, they’re going to sin more, we all sin more. But they are forgiven. God’s grace is so incredible like that. He will clean up the dirtiest person. He doesn’t want a person to come to Him in perfect condition. He wants to save a broken, messed up person, and that’s exactly what He does. That’s what he did to me. Don’t clean yourself up for Him, that’s His job. And Christians, don’t judge someone based on their sin because that’s also His job. We are called to love, not judge.

And just to make this straight… that doesn’t mean we are to accept sin. For example, homosexuality is a sin. So, do we accept gay marriage? No. But do we continually insult and put down people who are gay? Absolutely not. We are to love them, guys. We can hate the sin all we want, but the person? No. We can be actively against things like homosexuality and abortion, but we can’t hate the people who support/participate in them. Showing love is one of the greatest ways to radiate God. If someone sees you loving them unconditionally, they’ll ask you why… and there’s your opportunity to share the gospel.