Here’s how it came about. It was early January. I was taking a brief siesta on the couch. I woke from said nap, grabbed my phone and mindlessly began to thumb through Facebook, and while still half asleep (and obviously out of my mind), I impulsively committed to participating in a forty day sugar fast that was beginning the next day.
I wish I could say I prayerfully considered the commitment ahead of time. This fast was being organized by a group I belong to on Facebook, so I’d seen days before that the fast was beginning but hadn’t given it much consideration or prayer. But somehow, I felt enough of a whisper in my heart to commit to it in that sleepy, cloudy moment. So I did.
The reasons? When I committed to the fast, my reasoning was mostly physical. It was early January and coming down of the holiday eating/snacking was hard on me. I had gained more weight than I care to admit and was at my heaviest weight ever. I wasn’t feeling too good about myself.
I also recognized that snacking and craving sweets had definitely become a habit. I knew I had a habit of turning to sugar both as a comfort and out of boredom. I turned to sweets and sugary treats and drinks to soothe hurt and anger more than I would like to admit. I loved sugar. Like, a LOT.
I needed Jesus to come in and fill the holes in my heart that I was trying to fill with sweets.
As the fast began, I clearly saw that sugar had become an idol in my life. How did I know that? I CRAVED it. Wanted it more than anything else during the day. I craved sugar more than I craved God. Suddenly the fast took on a whole new importance. I needed to do this to get back on track with Him.
The group leaders sent out daily devotionals as encouragement, and one of the devotionals really stuck with me. It talked about God’s desire to FULLY fulfill our longings and fill us with His spirit, but first we had to remove the fake fillers that had taken over in our hearts, like sugar. And the prayer for that devotion was that in those moments when we craved sweets, to pray that God would create a HOLY HUNGER in our hearts for Him and only Him.
That was the turning point for me. That became my mantra through the fast and as I prayed it (over and over and over in those hard moments), He removed my physical desire for sweets. When I’d feel cravings or start scrounging for something sweet to eat, I began to pray that God would take that hunger and create a holy hunger for Him alone in my heart, and IT WORKED.
When I’m really craving something I know isn’t good for me, I am learning to get still and quiet and really LISTEN to him. In those moments, I’m dialed in. My physical limitations restrict me and I become acutely aware of every thought, every breath. I have to make conscious decisions in those moments about how I’m going to function. Am I going to choose to let sugar control my thoughts and emotions? Or am I going to let that hunger turn into something that guides me back to Him, a craving that teaches me to abide in him and desire Him more than anything?
This fast taught me to let His love fill me and work in ways that a sugar addiction never can. It’s become clear to me that there’s no other choice but to fully lean on Him for strength, without all the “fillers” getting in the way. Through this fast, I’ve learned to hunger for more and more of Him.
Have you ever tried a fast? Leave a comment and let me know!