Maybe the Daniel Fast will fix my problems

Last year I spent my life unbecoming who I was. Several realizations in 2017 led me to face my problems and issues instead of pretending they didn’t exist. I wanted to stop balancing between God and the world and find sure footing with my Savior. I couldn’t pretend to be the same person anymore.

The process of unbecoming broke me.

No longer could I hold to my safeguards. My soul was laid bare in counseling sessions and I was forced to face my biggest demons and anxieties. Through small groups I let go of the shame I’ve lived with and finally found freedom. For someone who claims to be an open book, I’d never felt more exposed.

Now, more than a year into this process, I realized I broke down a lot of the pieces of who I used to be without building up anything new. I’ve left things go and now in my life is silence. Sometimes I just feel like a shell who remembers the human experience but can’t quite feel it herself.

Now, don’t be alarmed. That isn’t a statement of depression, just realization. My life was filled with facades and stripping them away left me here. At first, I blamed the medicine I had to help with anxiety. Surely it was why I felt so bland. Until I intelligently quit essentially cold turkey and after two weeks of dizziness realized it went deeper than a substance altering my brain chemistry. I had changed, I knew this, but I didn’t know where to go.

I’m reading a leadership book with a group at my church and the one question asked us to write out our goals and plans for five years. I realized I didn’t have any. It was hard enough to formulate resolutions for this year, let alone decide where my life is going.

You could argue this is a good thing. I’m learning to follow God one day at a time and trusting He is my way. It’s a nice argument, but it’s wrong.

It’s harder now more than ever to cede what little control I feel over my life, even though I know it’s destroying me. My anxiety has been so high this month I’ve spent most of the time trying to release the tension in my shoulders and breathe so the chest pain stops.

It’s like this. Imagine it’s the apocalypse and literally everything is falling apart in society. Fires are blazing, people are becoming cannibals, and gangs run rampant through the streets. One person realizes he can’t do anything, so he sits inside spraying a plastic plant with water, acting like he’s in control of at least one destiny.

It’s pointless, right? That’s me.

I’ve realized how little I can control so I’ve let the small things blow up inside of me. Growing my relationship with God has been wonderful, but it’s opened me up to so much spiritual warfare and strife that I know is part of the territory. I just hate it and want to keep watering my plastic plant.

This morning my emotions finally reached their breaking point when the scale told me once again, despite being more active and careful about what I eat, I’m still 20 pounds heavier than I’d like. This weighing followed the first day of the Experiencing God study and realizing I want to follow God, but I just can’t do it one day at a time.

Literally every part of me is standing still.

I don’t want to be here. I want spending time with God to be full of excitement and expectancy. I want to be filled with joy and look forward to things and not be so blasé about everything. I want to be a person who managers her anxiety and doesn’t let it rule her. Really I just want to enjoy my life again. And that’s when it hit me.

The Daniel Fast.

Here are three important things to know about me: 1. I’ve never successfully completed any food fast in my life. 2. I buy so many processed foods I’m practically made out of preservatives and 3. My meal prepping involves making a sandwich with white bread, meat, and American cheese, or cooking something frozen. I am not equipped to do this fast.

When I look at all my problems, I know there’s a common solution, and it’s my faith. I need to turn to God every single day, beyond just my daily reading in the Bible, and learn to depend completely on Him. Not ask Him for the big picture, but just have Him lead me today. With the Daniel Fast, I’ll need Him more than ever to give me a strength and perseverance I don’t possess. I won’t be able to do it on my own.

More than just relying on Him to sustain me, I’ll have to have faith in my financial situation. One of my biggest excuses for the way I eat is that I can’t afford to eat better, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true. I’m too afraid to change my life and try. With this, I have to rely that God will make a way even when my bank account is like whattttt.

Plus, part of being a disciplined Jesus Follower involves taking care of our bodies and I know I’m not treating mine as well as I could. Beyond the weight I want to lose, I know there are systematic issues I need to address, like the way I fuel myself.

Now, I don’t plan to do this and then never eat sugar or meat or French bread pizza again. God gave us food to enjoy, right? Physically, it will be like a reset and a way to show myself I can do better because right now it would be hard to do worse.

My goal is for this to be one big kickstart to my life before it’s too late. I don’t want to accept that this is how I’ll always feel and let complacency convince me solitude is best. I want to find joy in my relationships and have dreams again. I want to wake up every morning (or at least most mornings) excited to see what God is going to do with me that day. I want to stop trying to do everything by myself.

I want to rejoin the human experience and I hope the Daniel Fast will get me there.

[Apologies if none of this makes sense and there are typos galore. Sometimes you need to get a thought out of your head without worrying about if everything is correct.]

I like you and I want to date you

No, not you. At least probably not you. This post isn’t a confession to that special someone, rather a realization of words I’ve never said in my life. They seem easy enough, don’t they? You meet someone, you develop feelings and you express your expectations. Unless you’re me. 

The other day I went to my first counseling session. We went over all the details of my life for her to develop a basic understanding of me, and then she asked why I decided now was the time. At first I almost blamed my father’s recent problems but then I realized surprisingly he wasn’t the catalyst. It was, of course, a boy.

I tried to explain as concisely as possible because time was running out. I’m 26 and I don’t know how to have a healthy relationship. In the eight years since my last official relationship (equally unhealthy), I’ve had a few casual flings that just left me feeling rejected. I always felt like a secret to the boys I chose. They never seemed to want to openly date me, or even see me while it was still light outside. They made me feel convenient and I was too afraid of the rejection to tell any of them how I actually felt. I’ve lived the last decade of my life compromising and refusing to push the issue because it meant I could pretend for a little while longer that I had finally found something.

I told her I recently met someone new and I can’t even receive a message or respond without experiencing an overwhelming amount of dread and terror. And about how a piece of my past recently came back into my life and I could feel myself wanting to slip back into the darkness.

At this point, she asked a few more questions about the one who resurfaced, and then asked if me I ever told him how I felt. I responded I made it clear. I told him I missed him and I liked talking to him. But then I stopped talking as I thought about it more. No. I never actually told him. 

She continued and asked if I had ever said that to anyone. I quickly filed through the short list in my head and realized I never told anyone, no matter how strongly I felt, that I liked them and wanted to date them.

The closest I came to it was in college with this boy I was sure I loved. I had liked him for almost a full year, after he quoted the Bible to me at the bar. In one magical and unexpected move, it seemed like just maybe it was finally falling into place. I’m not sure if he told me he wasn’t looking for anything serious or if I just picked up that vibe, but I rolled with it because I didn’t want to lose him. One night, after hanging out, we were texting about feelings.

It’s important to interject I only actually communicated with this boy directly 40 percent of the time. Most of the time I desperately passed my phone to my best friend because it was easier to face any possible rejection through her.

The night in question, she wasn’t there. She was home for the weekend and away from her phone and I was panicking. He asked me how I felt and while I had words upon words upon words, I couldn’t say them and risk him not feeling the same. So instead I said, like the casual and cool girl I was, that I wasn’t looking for anything, but if I was it would be him. To my delight, he replied the same and again my brain thought maybe I hadn’t screwed up too bad. Maybe it would be all right.

It was a week or so later and I was at the bar for the weekly Thursday trip, but he wasn’t there this time. I drank too much and kissed two other guys while I was there. I couldn’t say no. They wanted to kiss me and it didn’t matter what I wanted because it felt good to be wanted.

Of course I told him the next morning. I felt horrible. But he said it was cool but that was it. It wasn’t the same again. For years I felt like it was my fault and I broke this growing thing between us because of my issues, but I can see the bigger picture now. Yeah, I made a really stupid mistake, but he wasn’t innocent either. We were both young and reckless.

Foolishly, I held onto hope for him for way too long. It’s rare for me to actual meet someone I like, so losing that was hard and he lived in the forefront of my mind until I found someone else. With each new connection, I hoped maybe this time would be different, but it never was.

Rejection was just a lesson I kept learning until it became the only truth I knew. 

No one asked me on dates. We didn’t take any photos together. There were no social posts. Just me and him at home, watching TV, late at night. Sending texts about hanging out, but only after a certain time. They didn’t seem like bad guys either, which meant I was the problem.

Were they embarrassed to be seen with me? Did they want something casual? Were they unclear of what I wanted so kept quiet themselves? Was I just convenient? Did I even matter?

These are the thoughts that echo when I meet someone new and run through every reason why he couldn’t possibly like me. I think of the reasons the others didn’t, and soon they become his reasons too. Now I’m so cautious I don’t even really want to try.

I used to think the right guy would change everything. I don’t need a prince on a white horse, just a guy who would text me and make it clear he liked seeing me. Who would ask me to dinner and maybe eventually ask me to be his girlfriend. I believed the right one, or at least a right one, could prove they weren’t all the same.  

You’re just setting yourself up for failure if you look for a savior in humanity.

Recently, after meeting new person, I realized there was no one on this earth who could come in and break through my insecurities by saying the right things. Most likely he would say them and I wouldn’t believe him so I would find a way to ruin it myself to stay protected. If I want a healthy relationship, I need to be healthy.

My goal is to be able to say ‘I like you and want to date you’ without fear of the consequences. I want to remember what I want is important and holding onto someone based on what they want will only make it hurt worse in the end. I don’t think rejection is ever easy, but I don’t want it to be debilitating anymore. 

This is what I want to say and believe in full confidence: To everyone from my past, I liked you and wanted to date you. Maybe you didn’t feel the same way, and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I’m less or I need to feel like I’m nothing. Hopefully we both find what we’re looking for now.

It’s all a journey, right?