Guess what my idea of a fun way to start 2022 was? Yep, you guessed it – completing a 40-day fast from sugar. (I plead temporary insanity.) My friend Ashley went through this book with her community group last year and gave it a glowing review. I knew I would need something strict to kick my butt back in gear after all the holiday celebrations, so I decided to give it a try, and I invited a coworker to do it with me for some accountability.
It’s been 11 days, y’all, and I’m still trying to figure out how to survive the next 29. I haven’t given up ALL sugars completely. For example, I’m still allowing myself to eat fruit and foods with minimal amounts of naturally-occurring sugar, like cheese. But I’ve given up bread, most packaged snacks, candy, desserts, sweet drinks, etc., and it’s been both easier AND harder than I thought it would be.
Even though it’s barely been a week and half, I’m shocked at how much God has already taught me. I’m planning to share a full recap of the experience when it’s over, and I don’t want to give too much away. But here’s a sneak peak at a few of my ‘journal entries’ from the first week:
DAY -4: I’m a little nervous about this…why did I decide to tell somebody else they should do this with me?? Stupid accountability. I spent two hours googling about no-sugar diets today, though, and I feel pretty okay about it. It’ll be all right.
DAY -2: Spending all week eating everything in my snack drawer at work and in the pantry probbbbably isn’t the best way to prep for next week. But at least I’m removing the temptation, right?
DAY 1: DAY ONE. I’ve totally got this. I’ve only thought about the snacks I forgot to take out of my work drawer like four times, and it’s…*looks at watch*…8:37 am…oops.
DAY 2: Physically, I feel pretty good, other than a slight headache yesterday. I’m surprised by this – I expected to feel like crap today. Maybe it’s because I’m more physically active now than I have been when I’ve fasted in the past…? I’m loving the book so far! I’m also surprised at how quickly I feel convicted about other things I need to fast from in the future. Giving up one thing and asking God to fill that empty space seems to magnify other addictions, like social media and TV show binges.
DAY 3: Ugh…I caved. I ate 15 Cheez-Its. I feel guilty, and I also feel like I shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s not like crackers are a sweet treat, right? So why do I feel bad? What does that say about the state of my heart? It feels like I’ve been doing this forever, and not because of how much I miss sugar but because of how much I’ve already learned. Sugar really was just a doorway to so much more that God wanted to show me. My dreams, my plans, and my prayers are all so small. I’m a little bit scared of how long I stood with my finger in the hole of the dam, stubbornly holding everything back, because now that I’ve stepped away, the floodgates are starting to open and the Lord is sweeping me up into what He has wanted for me all along.
This might sound weird, but despite the difficulty, I already know I want to do this again. This fast has been different than others I’ve done in the past. Rather than simply going without something, I’ve been intentionally replacing what I gave up with a stronger, more intentional focus on the sweetness of God and His Word. I already feel a new tenderness from and closeness to Him, and I don’t want to only feel that way for 40 days. I’m so thankful I found out about this book!
The author of The 40-Day Sugar Fast, Wendy Speake, also put together a book for a social media sabbatical, and I think that would be a good experience too! Anybody want to do it with me sometime this year??