It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

21 June 2011

Caffeine-Free: The Halfway Mark

9:49 AM Posted by steve flores , 1 comment
At the beginning of the year, Natalie and I decided to do what is called a, “Daniel Fast”.  For the past 5 years, I’ve done some type of yearly fast and it mostly had to do with eating or not eating to be accurate.  For followers of Jesus, Scripture is pretty clear that fasting is not an optional spiritual discipline.  It is expected.  For 21 days of the Daniel Fast, Nat and I said good-bye to caffeine.  Now, I’ve heard of people doing the Daniel Fast, yet I hadn't built up the courage to try it on my own.  Nat suggested it, so I journeyed with her.  Nine days prior to the Daniel Fast, I was on my 30 day food fast, only drinking fluids.  During those nine days, Nat talked about starting the Daniel Fast and I was being challenged to try it.  After nine days, we began day one of the 21-day Daniel Fast and it was the most difficult 21 days I have ever experienced.  Nine days without food was definitely easier.

One thing you should know about me, I’m not a fruit and veggies type of guy.  Talking to a friend last week, as he sat with a huge cinnamon roll on his plate, jokingly he told me, “I’m fasting healthy foods this week.”  We laughed, but for many of us, including me, we do that.  It’s probably not the best way to treat God’s temple.

Since the fast, I decided to jump the caffeine (coffee/soft drinks) ship for one year.  In March, I blogged a confession for disobedience.  I never thought I had an addiction to caffeine, specifically coffee.  I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker—definitely not as diehard as Nat.  Nat experienced withdrawals the first seven days with no coffee —headaches, incredibly fatigued, and the shakes (okay, I made the last one up).  I didn't experience those symptoms, with severity, however I discovered how dependent I was on coffee to add pep to my days.  Now this is my conviction, I'm not trying to play the role of Holy Spirit in your life, but I felt guilty for the times I relied on a cup of coffee when I lacked energy, rather than praying for God’s strength.  That was a huge reflection for me and it is the reason I decided to give it up for a year.

I’m at the halfway mark, six months, and there are times I still want a caffeine boost.  Six more months to go!  Here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far (in no particular order):
1. I’ve existed many days relying on my strength not God’s.
2. Caffeine is not the enemy to dependence on God, my inability to, often, acknowledge I need God is. 
3. I need God’s help, period and always.
4. Each cup of coffee was another example of how I took matters into my own hands – foolish.

Have you ever considered a fast?  Maybe, it’s time to make it happen.  What will you miss if you gave it up for 21 days?