This post is part 3 in a series. For parts 1 and 2, scroll down.
Armed with little more than desperation and a sense that God was calling me to not only take a step of faith, but embark on a journey of faith--I recently went on a 10-day Daniel fast. And I can honestly say it was the easiest, most compelling fast of my life.
On a practical level, I was fasting because I couldn't take the pain any longer, or the severe limitations caused by my ever-worsening foot condition. On a spiritual level, I longed for God to eradicate some painful emotional residue I sensed still clinging in my heart.
And God was quick to respond. Miraculously, by day two of the fast, my foot pain diminished by 80%. I even had a dream that I walked around my hardwood-floored kitchen in my stocking feet without pain. (For the record, I haven't been able to go barefoot for well over three years.) The next day, I was able to walk through my house in stocking feet without pain. Can I hear a Hallelujah?
But that wasn't all. For 10 days the Lord pinpointed His holy laser into the deep areas of my heart, bringing light and healing.
Yet I sensed God wasn't finished. As I came to the end of the 10 days, my heart was primed for God's gentle leading, and I sensed Him asking me to give up the one thing I never thought I could. Like Abraham, who followed God not knowing his final destination (see Hebrews 11:8), I agreed to go on this journey, not knowing where it will lead--uncertain of anything, really, except that I'm following. What have I given up for an undetermined length of time?
Sugar. My sweet friend, my affectionate partner in life, my motivation on many a day.
So, for now I've bid adieu to Oreos, brownies, sweetened cereal, milkshakes, donuts, caramel apples, candy corn, and my closest sweet friend, chocolate.
Why on earth would I do such a thing?
Because I sense that God wants access to the deep places I've tranquilized with home made chocolate chip cookies. He desires to fill the places I've soothed with rich, dark chocolate.
It's the release of the sweet security blanket of yumminess that to this point has always comforted me. And frankly, it's a level of dependence and vulnerability with the Lord unlike any I've experienced.
Don't get me wrong--I am not a junk food junkie; I'm a fairly healthy eater. But I've always looked forward to dessert. To my afternoon chocolate. To Starbucks hot cocoa. To any sort of sweet treat. And I began to sense that those treats were taking up a space and creating a pleasure that God Himself longs to fill. I sense the Lord saying I will go as deep as you will allow me.
At the same time, I feel a strong desire to embrace a season of self-discipline and holy restraint to see where, exactly, He will take me in all this. I'm going without and not filling myself with the things I love, so that the One I love can fill me instead.
It's sort of like an adventure. And though this past month has not been easy, I sense it will be worth it. It's a holy surrender, a journey of faith. It's deep calling unto deep.