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It’s only been a few days since I finished my first Daniel Fast and I’m still glowing from all that I learned during those three weeks. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely.
If you’ve never heard of the Daniel Fast, you can read all about it here. But it’s based off the Book of Daniel in the bible. Daniel and his friends were captured by the nation of Babylon and taken from their home in Jerusalem. There they were chosen by king Nebuchadnezzar’s attendants for training and education. A privilege given to only a few from the best of Israel’s people.
As a result they were allowed to have some of the same privileges as the king like eating from his table. We all have a visual of what the kings table might look like. Choice foods, meats, sweets, breads basically any and everything good! But Daniel and his friends passed on the privilege so they could stay committed to the covenant their nation Israel had made with God.
These two verses lay the foundation for the fast:
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables [pulses] to eat and water to drink.” Daniel 1:12
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” Daniel 10:12-13
If you’re interested in studying more, this is also a really good read and explains everything in more detail.
Why did I do the Daniel Fast?
Simply put. I knew I needed to slow down. I needed to reset my body, my mind and fix my heart on God in ALL things. I felt like I was running with God instead of walking with him. Rushed and out of breath instead of steady and easy. Creatively I was completely stunted and unmotivated to create. Because I knew that God had called me to be a creator and creativity was no longer bringing me joy, I knew these feelings were red flags telling me that something was off with my spirit. So I decided to do a partial fast that would allow me to slow down my mind and also my eating which actually has so much more of an effect on us than we think.
So before you decide to start the Daniel Fast ask God what he wants to reveal to you during the fast. Is it something about your marriage? Why you struggle with finances or relationships with certain people? Maybe you want to know more about your insecurity and trust issues or reset some habits after a draining season. Whatever you feel weighing you down at the moment I pray you have a BREAKTHROUGH no matter what it is you’re asking for.
Was the Daniel Fast hard?
The first few days were very hard. When you approach a fast like this , one that allows you to eat, you might think, “Oh! Well at least you can eat!” But depending on where you start it can be very challenging. My body was use to sugar, coffee, and carbs so it had a hard time adjusting and digesting my new way of eating. Basically fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lentils and water. I had a lot of Beano for all those uncomfortable moments! haha! YIKES!
Day 5 and 6 were the hardest because I think my body and my mind realized we still had a while to go. I was hungry and wanted the treats and coffee I was use to. I wanted butter. I wanted toast. I wanted a sandwich!
I had a lot of doubts and said to myself a few times “I can’t do this!” But I remember almost every 15-30 minutes during those two days I made a choice not to quit and not to cheat. Instead, I read my bible and kept myself busy in other ways. I cried and had some self pity moments and even tried new recipes so I would stay on track. After those two days or so, I felt a lot better about staying the course even though it was still hard.
It’s was also a challenge because everyone around me was eating normally. We still had pizza night 3 times, we still had to go to parties, I still had to cook for my family. It was so weird not to taste my food as I was cooking! ha! So keep in mind all the same smells will come up and your tummy will be attracted to them! Just find something else to do!
What did you learn while you were on the Daniel Fast?
I made a choice to really dig into the word and focus on my identity in Christ for 21 days. I studied books, scriptures and had a lot of open and honest conversations with God. I compare it to the book of Psalms. I cried out in honestly and praise during the three weeks. I sat in silence some days until I fell asleep. I read more about my identity in Christ than I ever had. God also had me do a few exercises to clear my mind, He helped me move where I felt stuck and I was able to understand Him more.
I was seriously like a student. I went to bible school for 21 days. I read books, watched videos and sermons about the topic of identity in Christ.
A Clean Slate
One of the first exercises He had me do was clean out my closet. I know. Seems so random but it was so good! There was a lot of things in my closet that I was holding onto. Some out of fear because I’ve had these items for EVER even though they didn’t serve a real purpose. I basically realized I had a closet full of clothes and things because I had the room and wanted it to be full because I liked the feeling of a full closet.
So one afternoon I went into my closet and literally started putting everything in a pile to donate or keep. Each item I came across made me feel a few different ways.
If I knew I didn’t need it or hadn’t worn it in a while, I would immediately put it in the donate pile. It felt great and I immediately felt lighter.
But some items I picked up I would immediately cling them to my chest. A sentimental feeling would come over me or a feeling of anxiety when I thought about how much I paid for something. The thought of giving it away felt like wasting it. Each time that happened God would ask me,
“Do you trust me?
Do you trust me enough to know that whatever feeling your having right now I will comfort you more than it could?
WOW! Once I was able to answer that question honestly I was able to put in the correct pile. Which was most of the time the donate bag. There were some items I had to come back to and process why I wanted to keep them. Expensive bags, shoes, and clothes that I had not worn were all leaving my closet and my soul was being comforted.
When I wanted to keep an item I felt immediate joy. There was no struggle at all so I knew it was healthy to keep. Clothing, shoes, bags, scarves and items I used almost everyday. Things I felt great in or just knew they were me, all stayed.
It left me with almost 1/8 of the full closet I had before and mental clarity that I didn’t even know I needed. It was like my mind knew I had all those things I was holding onto. Even though they were deep in the closet. Stuff I didn’t think I was even affecting me. But it was.
That exercise left me feeling SO much lighter, so much more liberated from the things ( material and emotional) I was holding on too. I released them all and in return I walked away with a more intimate understanding of what God wants from me.
Apart of my identity is to TRUST God.
Not in things but in Him. His yolk is light.
The White Room
During week two God had me confront some issues I was having with my creativity. I explain this on my stories on Instagram! SO make sure you watch those in my highlights under The Daniel Fast.
Long story short, God had me paint a room in my house for a few different reasons.
- He wanted me to pick a paint color that I LOVED. Not for anyone else. Not for approval. With no pressure of sharing. But he wanted me to trust the creativity that he gave me. Basically saying if you love it, that is enough because I love you, I created you and you are in me!
- He wanted me to actively create! For so long I would sit and THINK about creativity. So many ideas would come to me thanks to God. But I would almost never do them. So by picking the paint, getting the paint and actually painting the room myself I was able to see the entire creative process through.
- Lastly, I feel like I could look at the paint color and decide truly if I LOVED it or HATED it. So many times I love something and I second guess myself when others have opinions about it. I learned to give my creation to God first and we got to talk about it together. ” Look Father, I painted this room with the creativity that you gave me? Do you love it? God- ” Yes, of course I do! You are so creative. I love everything you create for me because it comes from your heart. I love you!”
The conversation I would have had with myself would have been so much more critical. ” I love this color” I wonder if it could be better? What if my readers don’t like it? Is it too yellow? Is it to white? I can’t get anything right. I’m the worst at picking paint colors. Everything I do I mess up. This room is horrible.”
When the you create for God, the Holy Spirit inside of you speaks truth. It never shames you or makes you feel bad about yourself or your gift. NEVER. I can’t tell you this enough. When you come before the Father with something you are so proud of, He will comfort and love you and build you up!
That exercise taught me to create for HIM and to let Him fill me with truth before I share it with the world.
Insecure Work+ Insecure Thoughts + Other People’s Opinions = Chaos and Confusion.
God’s Work + God’s Thoughts – Other People’s Opinions= Creativity and Confidence
So I picked a paint color and painted the room white. I loved it and so did God.
Apart of my identity is being CONFIDENT in what God has called me to do. For me it’s to create.
Time Well Spent
Everyday I spent time with God. I’ve never been a morning person. NEVER EVER. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me because every mature Christian I come in contact with seems to have a solid morning routine. Over the last few years it also seemed like God was highlighting verses like:
Psalm 143:8 “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Mark 1:35 ”Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
It just seemed like rising early was a GOOD thing. It was apart of God’s character. A character trait that I wasn’t ready to take on when I was a young mother who was ALWAYS tired. But a character trait that I could now embrace as I got older. I can only praise God for this now but I’m so anxious to get up in the morning, get my coffee and spend time with him!
I now understand that waking up to the world without spending time with God FIRST is difficult. When you wake up to kids with attitudes, a news report about a shooting, emails that are not in your favor, that’s A LOT to face. But if you wake up and go straight to God first he can prepare your heart for what the day is going to bring.
Why? Because he’s sees today and tomorrow.
He already knows what you will need to get through it and he WANTS to give you strength and confidence. The world and people can be overwhelming most days. Start with God.
I also realized during the fast, that food and God really go hand in hand. I read something that relates your spiritual food to your everyday food. Basically saying we feed ourselves three square meals a day. If we miss a meal here or there consistently we start to notice we are not ourselves. We get tired, we feel hungry and crave food and strength.
The same goes for our spirit. We should be feeding our spirit just as much if not more than we feed our bodies. We would never take a bite of an apple and think that was enough to feed us for the rest of the day! No, we would be starving.
But we do that with our spiritual lives. We take a bite ( 5 minute devotional) thinking well it’s better than nothing! But after awhile we become spiritually starved! A bible verse here or there or time with God here or there is not enough to keep us alive spiritually. We need to STUDY his word. Learn His character and crave God like we do our next meal.
So for me this meant no more small devotionals that made me feel good. But more sitting in God’s presence. Sometimes with my bible open reading his word until I was full. Sometimes it was sitting with no bible or book and crying and have him comfort me with scriptures. Sometimes it was writing or doing an exercise and mediating on his words so they would penetrate my heart. I never want to leave my time with God until I’m full and satisfied.
What did you eat on the Fast?
I hesitated to even answer the question because it’s so easy to follow someone else’s plan. I was guilty of this too!! I searched the internet for plans but ultimately I had to find my own rhythm of eating and resting. So because I know you might be new to this I will share! But I highly suggest that you do what works for you. Everyone is hungry at different times and eats different amounts. Somedays I found that I wasn’t that hungry. Other days I felt as if I need more.
Typical Day on the Daniel Fast
- Oatmeal with Almond Milk and Cinnamon
- Banana or Plum or Apple
- Soup- Greens and Potatoes
- Cowboy Caviar no sugar or honey with Baked Corn Chips
- Guacamole Homemade with Veggies or Whole Wheat Baked Chips
- Rice with Cilantro and Avocado and fresh lemon or lime
- Foil Wrapped Potatoes with bell pepper and onions and herbs
- Avocado, Red Onion, Cucumber, Tomato Salad
- Fruit Berries, Plums, Peaches, Banana, etc
I didn’t have that many salads. But this is also a great option!
Daniel Fast, Fast Food Options
Chipotle. That’s all. haha! They have the perfect mix of what you can have!
I also tried Rubio’s Veggie Taco! Which was great. I accidentally bit into it not realizing that there was cheese on the shell. But just ask them to remove it! It’s so good!
If you’re thinking about doing the 21 Day Daniel Fast then here are some great resources! It can be really overwhelming at first to THINK about. But once you get your mind right it’s actually easy to follow and worth the effort.
I pray that you really take your time before you decide to do the Daniel fast. Make a promise to yourself and God to finish. I know how it feels to want to give up! To want to throw in the towel. To feel hungry and sad because you want what you want. But don’t. Dedicate yourself to learning, slowing down and centering your life around spending time with God! Every time you think about wanting to eat something that’s not on the plan, go to God. Vent and cry. Guess what? He won’t shame you! When the craving passes praise Him for helping you! When your craving tries to distract you go read. Go help someone else. Do something that pleases the Lord. You will start to see what a distraction eating really is. It’s so enlightening to ask yourself are you really hungry or just….FILL IN THE BLANK. May God bless you tremendously as you sacrifice your cravings for his TRUE promises!
Few extra side notes.
Don’t make this legalistic. Try your VERY best to stay on track but like me, if you accidentally consume something that is not on the fast, don’t be devastated. Just move on an continue!
Also don’t be so strict you become a bother to others. Just explain to them what you are doing and most of the time they will understand and cheer you on. I told my immediate family of course and close friends and my small group. All to keep me accountable. It’s also nice to get text messages when someone thinks of you! It’s encouraging!