Shaped Through Fasting by Pamela Henkelman
It’s early evening after dinner. The sun has faded hours ago as the long winter night looms ahead. Normally, I’d fill this time with some TV watching, but tonight I retreated to my office. We’ve started our 21 days Daniel Fast, and I’m eager to spend extra time with God. I light a candle, crawl under a cozy blanket, grab my Bible and journal. I sit quietly and think of God, and I ask Him what He wants to speak to me today. Papa reminds me of the worship song we sang last night as we gathered at church to kick off our Danial Fast. The beautiful melody and lyrics from Available by Elevation Worship swirl in my thoughts:
Narrow as the road may seem
I’ll follow where your spirit leads
Broken as my life may be
I will give you every piece
I hear you call
I am available
I say yes Lord
I am available
Here I am with open hands
Counting on your grace again
Less of me and more of you
I just wanna see you move
Here I am, here I am
You can have it all
You can have it all
Surrender is the word God keeps illuminating to my spirit these past weeks. Papa is asking me to lay down my rights, my will, my plans, my dreams, my family, my church, my outcomes, and my expectations. The lessons from 2020 continue. I don’t bemoan them. It feels like a holy hug as peace settles over my heart, and I let warm tears fall.
I’ve tried to make things happen, or pray things into existence, and it’s futile. An attitude of surrender is much easier. I can live my life as nothing depends on me, and everything depends on God. I feel relieved and grateful for God as He continues to show me this truth. I sit in quiet
reflection as God reveals His good plans for me.
My husband, the pastor, is a champ when it comes to Biblical Fasts. He once did a forty-day water only fast. I know, shocking, isn’t it? I was proud of him and secretly thankful God did not call me to such lofty goals. As the years have progressed, I’ve learned the joy of a yearly Daniel Fast. It’s based on the old testament story from Daniel 1:8-17. Daniel and three friends refused the king’s rich food and ate only vegetables and water. As a result, they were healthier and had a special aptitude for wisdom and the ability to interpret dreams.
We partake of a 21 day Daniel Fast where we limit our diets to fruits, vegetables, natural grains, and water. You’re not allowed meat, dairy, fat, sugar, caffeine, or processed foods. You deny yourself physical comforts to achieve spiritual gain.
During the fast, you set aside extra prayer time to commune with God. My hubby, the pastor, says, “Fasting isn’t about physically dieting, it’s about spiritually dialing in. Fasting is saying no to our flesh and saying yes to feeding our spirit.”
It’s a diet if you’re not praying. It’s a spiritual activity where you couple this special diet with increased time with God. The food is not the focus. Connecting with God is the goal of the Daniel Fast.
I’ve come to appreciate starting each new year this way as a church. It feels good to start the new year focused on my relationship with God. This year I’ve not asked God for anything. I’ve come with a heart of surrender and God has shown me powerful truths.
More than anything this spiritual practice has shaped how I understand the beauty of denial. Our culture isn’t big on denial, but the Daniel Fast has taught me I can deny what I want and choose the better thing, which is more time with God. This year the Daniel Fast has shaped how I view surrender. I don’t fear surrender anymore, I welcome it.
*Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash
Pamela is an enthusiastic encourager with a passion to speak, write, and coach. She believes all of life flows from our intimacy with God. She helps weary, discontent, Christian women build a deep bond with God and understand His love.
Pamela’s favorite way to connect with her readers is through her monthly Be[Loved] Notes newsletter and her weekly blogs. If you’d like to receive some love in your inbox, hop on over to her website, pamelahenkelman.com and sign up for the good stuff. She also has a Library of Free Resources for her email friends, including her 5-Day devotional: Five Encouragements to Increase Your Intimacy With God.
You can also join her private FB group for women called Be[Loved] Community with Pamela Henkelman. She pops on there live each week with teaching.
Pamela lives in the midwest and is married to her Pastor. They have five adult children and two grandsons and celebrated 33 years of marriage in October.
You can find her monthly newsletter, Be[Loved] Notes on her website,https://www.pamelahenkelman.com/ Her newsletter includes, Be[Loved] Woman’s Story, teaching, coaching, and insights on how to move forward in our relationship with God and our identity in Christ.
For fun, Pamela enjoys deep conversations over coffee, time spent laughing with anyone and cooking delicious food.
You can find Pamela on FB,https://www.facebook.com/pam.henkelman/ She also has a private FB Group for women called Be[Loved] Community
You can find her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/phenkelman
She is also very active on Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pamelahenkelmanbeencouraged