Are you in need of clarity? Feeling out of control in some aspect of your life? In this post, I share my experience fasting for 40 days in order to experience greater mental clarity and draw closer to God.
I NEVER could have predicted what happened by the end of 40 days. If you make it to the end of this story, you might want to grab some tissues. Just saying.
Watch the video below to hear the unexpected way God showed up in one of the most difficult seasons of my life (or keep scrolling to read):
WHY I DID A 40 DAY SUGAR FAST
In 2016, I reached a major low point. I was deep in postpartum depression after having my fourth child, and I felt pretty hopeless. I’ve been a “Christian” since I was 6 years old, but some major ups and downs and the desire to live my life the way I wanted to led me to a dark place. It was there that I met Jesus, and my life has not been the same since.
When I gave my life to Jesus, He showed me that there were things in my life that needed to be dealt with. There were things I was holding onto that weren’t inherently bad, but they weren’t doing me any good, and they kept me from experiencing the joy and peace I really wanted.
One of those things was sugar. In 2020, I felt led to take a break from sugar for 40 days. In that time, I felt like God did something new in my heart. I have a video all about that experience, which you can watch if you’re curious. I don’t think sugar is bad, but I do think you can misuse it—and that’s what I was doing.
Sugar was one of the things I used to regulate my emotions, and I believe that God wanted me to know I could trust Him with every emotion, that He loved and accepted me no matter what I felt.
Nothing was too intense or ugly for Him to deal with, and I don’t know about you, but I needed to know that.
After the first sugar fast, after so much had changed, I went back and forth over giving up sugar. I had seen so many positive changes, and I cut a lot of sugar out of my diet after that. However, slowly but surely, sugar became a problem again. I knew I needed to give it up, and at the beginning of 2023, I went on another 40 day fast.
I wanted to enter the year with a sober mind. So I took a break from sugar and also alcohol. Neither of these things did my body much good, as I was dealing with increasing aches and pains.
MY 40 DAY FAST EXPERIENCE
I went into the fast with a desire to clear my head and draw closer to God. Now, God doesn’t need anyone to fast. It’s not something we do for religious brownie points.
There are many reasons to fast, and one of them is to quiet the noise inside so you can think and discern God’s voice more clearly.
This has been helpful to me as a mom because there are so many things constantly begging for my attention, so many distractions inside and outside.
A few days into the fast, I noticed that I was eating quite a bit more during meals and snacking more, probably in an attempt to avoid dealing with my emotions. I didn’t try to fix this, just made a note, ate more veggies, and kept going.
A few weeks into the fast, my dad was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Without having sugar to make me feel better and alcohol to numb the fear and pain, I had no other reprieve than to cling to God during this difficult time. There were many times I would pray with nothing to say. Many times all I could do was cry. I spent a lot of time journaling and reading Scripture and worshipping. I showed up with every emotion in me—the good, bad, and the ugly. My dad was in the hospital for a few weeks battling pneumonia and another illness. During that time, I talked to the Lord about absolutely everything, and He always gave me the strength I needed each day to show up for myself and for my family who needed me.
I had no other reprieve than to cling to God during this difficult time.
Here are 3 things I learned in 40 days without sugar and alcohol:
- Fasting is a better and richer experience when I use the time to feast on the Word, worship, and God’s presence. If you try to fast without feeding your soul AND your spirit, you are starving yourself for no good reason. This could be a whole video by itself, but the point of fasting is to draw near to God and allow Him to satisfy your deepest longings.
- I was using sugar, food, alcohol, and social media to “regulate” my emotions. I avoided taking them to God in prayer because I didn’t believe God cared about my feelings. But if that were true, the book of Psalms wouldn’t be in the Bible, right?
- I had a hard time facing this truth, but I realized that there are many ways I still need to grow and mature, especially emotionally. I had been spiritually starved for some time, even though I went to church, prayed and read my Bible.
THE UNEXPECTED WAY GOD SHOWED UP during a 40 day fast
A couple of days after I completed the fast, my mom called me to go to the hospital with her. The verse of the day on my Bible app on my phone was Philippians 4:13, which read:
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (NLT)
When I read that verse, something stirred deep within me, and I had a feeling it was significant. During the emotional rollercoaster I had been on, I came face to face with one of my biggest fears. I was afraid to lose my father, afraid to face the end of life. I believe God was preparing me to face this with Him, and I believed God was assuring me that He would not abandon me. Later that evening, I stood in the hospital room in ICU with my mom and my husband, and we said goodbye to my father as he passed from this life into eternity.
I had no idea how much life would change in just 40 days, but God knew, and He showed up in ways I was unable to perceive because I was distracted with so many other things.
If I’m honest, even now it is tempting to return to old habits because I “think” I’m free to do whatever I want. But when there’s something in your life that you feel like you can’t give something up, is that truly freedom or is it bondage?
When I think about how the Lord sat with me every day and carried me through so much over the past month and a half, it makes me wonder why I would turn back to sugar when He’s willing and able to give what my soul has been longing for this whole time. This is something I’m going to have to continue to talk to the Lord about.
If I had not fasted, I don’t think I would have had the strength to endure this difficult time. Most of all, I would have missed an opportunity to experience the comfort of God, and the peace that He offers.
I hope this story encouraged you. If it did, let me know in the comments. If there is any way I can pray for you, please send me a direct message or send me a private email to email@example.com.