Technically today is Day 41.
I realized that last night. I'd "broken" my fast momentarily. In a moment of temptation I consumed something that is "non Daniel Fast approved." And I thrashed around last night not able to sleep because of guilt. It was a in the middle of the night that I felt God whisper to me to count back my days. Indeed last night had been 40 days.
Regardless I argued with Him, I set in my mind to fast until noon on Sunday.
Funny how a fast, a time set aside to draw into the heart of God can come down to my own stubbornness and desire to control my own plans.
"God let me tell you, how my service to your heart is going to look."
Silly girl. I remind myself the woman in Song of Songs sometimes. "He is mine and I am His." First comes my plans, second His. Oh wake up!
This morning I woke up early (sleep was not sweet last night) and felt like God was telling me to "steal away with him." So I threw on some shoes and headed up to the look out over our little town.
The walk up the hill I was still trying to beg God forgiveness. (But let's be real, forgiveness from Him is instant as soon as we repent. I was asking to be released from my guilt.) I was sitting at this little table up at the top and praying. Asking for God to take over my mind. I had previously planned to spend today in the city celebrating forty days. There were moments in the last few hours that I've asked God if I should still be celebrating.
"God is celebrating your heart, your work in my life, is this something I still deserve? Do I deserve to laugh, smile, play, eat, drink, enjoy your creation today after letting you down last night?"
I was listening to my favorite worship song up there and asking God to be near me.
He didn't call to fast for forty days to fall into religiosity and legalism. He didn't call me away for forty days to get lost in a puddle of guilt that my humanness still existed. He called me away for forty days to show me who I am, to show me who He is, to show me His power, His gentleness, His joy and His grace.
He called me away for forty days to remind me I am human. I make mistakes and I will continue to make mistakes but His grace is new every morning. His joy for me is immense and un-containable. His plans for me are immense and un-containable. He is God and I am not.
Every day that a treat, a piece of cheese, sugar, coffee, a glass of wine, were said "no" to for the sake of laying down the things I like to press further into Him joy was added to His heart. Every time I stayed in my apartment to make a vegan meal instead of joining with others in the Dining room and stayed in the quiet with Him joy was added to His heart.
For the first 21 days of this fast I was reading Daniel every day. And this verse still stands out to me,
"As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed." -Daniel 9:23.
Daniel's been fasting for days. His heart is breaking and he's crying out for God to move. An Angel appears to him and speaks these words.
I love this, from the moment Daniel decided to fast and pray the heart of God had been moved toward him.
I fasted for forty days because God has 'given me greater joy than when the grain and new wine abound". I fasted for forty days because I knew there was something for me in the center of His flame and I needed to get there.
I fasted because I wanted to learn to love God with all my heart, my mind, my strength and my soul.
I fasted because I wanted to learn how to look at myself like He does. That I make mistakes, I'm so completely, uniquely and perfectly human.
And He still loves me.
So in a moment I'm going to celebrate! I'm going into the city; to laugh, to eat, to drink, to enjoy this beautiful sunny day, to enjoy it all with one of my best friends in the whole world. Later my roommates are coming into the city to meet us for a nice Italian dinner.
Because He still loves me.
He still loves us.