I began the fast wanting to break free. One of those reasons was to break free from the bondage of compulsive eating, since I was so prone to seek comfort from food.
Though I wasn’t eating as much during this Daniel Fast through my mouth, I found myself eating with my eyes, compulsively.
How? By spending hours into the night looking up recipes that seemed to somewhat fill the hunger in my stomach for foods that I was so eager to make as soon as the fast was over (you can see where my heart is at this point…).
Yes, I learned how to be fancy with spices, how to make vegan and gluten-free substitutes for mayo, ketchup, cheese (even goat cheese), hamburger patties, you know, the essentials. I even looked up how to make a vegetarian version of Pho Vietnamese broth.
But I realized that all of this endless searching, bookmarking, subscribing and fantasizing was an indicator of a more serious condition, a hunger that went deeper than the demands of the god of the belly.
I was hungering for more of God. Healthy eating and living is good, but I realized that I had soon become consumed with being healthy and in turn looking good that my spirit was slowly starving and shriveling away.. once I started to realize that I was spending more care and time being concerned about my external, rather than my internal condition, I knew something had to be adjusted. But, let’s be real. You know those moments you know you have to do something about it, but since it’s so much easier to resort to default mode, we end up not doing anything about it? Yeah, that was me. At that point 6 more days of the Daniel Fast seemed so much more daunting than when I had first started and had 20 days left.
I was discouraged by a couple of things in my life, the very things I began to pray for going into this new year. I started to lose faith in my prayers, and my prayer simply became a sleepy whisper to God asking Him for His grace and help to continue. Since He hears even those.
When I woke up this morning and checked my phone, I saw that I had two messages from two different friends.
Both were from friends I had not seen in a while, friends whom I text once in a blue moon.
One was a word from 2 Peter 3:9:
“The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
The other text was simply that God had put me on her heart the last couple of days, and that she was saying a prayer for me today.
Either this was really good timing and coincidence or God knew that I was on the borderline, that I was getting closer and closer towards the edge. This doesn’t mean I was going to pull a crazy stunt today, wrecking all havoc, but He knew that deep inside I was crying out, slowly chipping away from believing in the breakthroughs and promises for this year. He was gently nudging me to press on, and to press in to His heart, reminding me that He was there and that He is faithful to carry His Word to completion as we persist to believe His promises, as He “is not slow about His promise as some count slowness.”
Yes, I cried a lot with watery things coming out of my eyes, nose, and even mouth. It was refreshing. It’s interesting because today’s reading (I follow a Bible reading plan) also included 2 Peter 3, which was the word that my friend had texted me.
If we don’t quit, we win.
Though people may give up on you, especially those we may expect the most from, we can be assured that God never does. Though we may not necessarily feel His wondrous presence every day of our lives, that doesn’t take away the fact that He is there watching over us, graciously encouraging us to continue, patiently waiting for us to return to Him.
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
On a bit of a relevant yet different note, I made some Sweet, Spicy & Tangy Collard Green Crisps (picture included).
Using the ingredients I had, I decided to make some collard green chips with a zucchini hummus dip (gentle to bean-sensitive tummies). I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients that were needed to make the hummus, so I improvised a bit. Here it goes:
Collard Green Crisps
- A couple leaves of Fresh, Organic Collard Greens (Tear into edible chip-size pieces–I don’t use the stems)
- Olive oil (Drizzle on the bottom and massage onto the collard greens; I heard cold-pressed extra virgin is the best kind for full flavor and nutrition)
- Sea Salt (Sprinkle onto the collard greens, but not too much because the hummus will be slightly salty)
- Paprika & Chili Powder (Sprinkle onto the collard greens–adjust spiciness as you like)
- Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (Sprinkle onto the collard greens–use generously as lemons give great flavor)
Sweet, Spicy & Tangy Zucchini Hummus (I got the basic recipe from http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/Recipes/Recipe/Raw-Beanless-Zucchini-Hummus.aspx but mine serves a smaller portion)
- one and a half of organic zucchini (peel and chop–mine were small-medium sized)
- two and a half cloves of garlic (chop a bit)
- half a cup of soaked raw sunflower seeds (soak 4-8 hours)
- a tablespoon of fresh pressed pineapple juice (optional for an island-sweet flavor–pineapples aid in digestion)
- fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used the juice of one whole lemon)
- one fourth cup of raw tahini (I didn’t have this so I used a sprinkle of sesame oil for the flavor)
- one teaspoon turmeric (I didn’t have this so I sprinkled on a few herb seasonings I had)
- one teaspoon paprika
- one teaspoon sea salt
- one half teaspoon ground cumin (I didn’t have this so I sprinkled on my own seasonings)
- two pinches of ground cayenne pepper
- 2 pitted dates (optional–I wanted this to be a bit sweet so I added the dates)
- nutritional yeast (I blended some of this to get a more yellowy color, and also sprinkled it generously on top of the hummus after I applied the hummus onto the collard greens–nutritional yeast can be bought in the bulk section of grocery stores and contains a lot of B vitamins, protein, etc.)
Put all ingredients for the hummus into a blender and blend until there is a creamy consistency. You can add salt and other seasonings based on your taste preference. After I have all the collard greens laid out (a bit of overlap is okay but try not to for extra crispiness), apply the hummus onto the collard greens, and then sprinkle a generous amount of nutritional yeast.
I heard it was best to dehydrate the greens (both for texture and nutritional benefits), but I don’t have a dehydrator so I put mine in the oven at 300 degrees F, checking every 2 minutes so they weren’t burning for 5~10 minutes (every oven is different, and there are slower methods of making these chips, where you put them at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, but I was hungry (; ). I found that a slightly burnt smell is the best time to take them out because I discovered that slightly browned collard greens tastes absolutely wonderful! Let them cool off for a minute or two. Also, you will notice that the hummus takes on a thicker, cheesy texture, which melts delightfully in your mouth. This is such a healthy, filling, and flavorful snack or appetizer and has amazing nutritional benefits. Bon apetit! & thank you for reading. (: