I am notoriously picky. Have been my entire life. My parents had to forewarn people that if I didn't eat when we were invited to dinner, it was no indication of their cooking, it was because I was that picky. I was offered money, toys, and bribes of all kinds, and the answer was always nope, not going to do it.
Then when I turned 11 or so, my parents decided we were participating in the churchwide fast. They didn't necessarily restrict what we ate so we did times, like 6 pm to 6 am. For the longest time, that's all I really thought fasting consisted of. Then I got older and bothered to read directions and realized what was really supposed to happen and in most cases, I would opt out. My thing was, if you tell me I can only eat vegetables, then I'm not going to eat for 21 days and I'm going to die. Slightly dramatic but in my own defense, I was in my 20s, completely disinterested anyway, and majored in Sunday Sainthood.
Do I have any tips for other picky people on what to eat? Nope! I'm still working that part out for myself. But I'm an encourager so I'm here to encourage my fellow picky people while you may be on your current fasting journey. Realistically, the point is not about what you eat or don't eat, it's the fact that you are taking the time to tell God, "I want to hear from You and I'm going to dial down whatever is in the way to make room to do that." Let's face it, in the United States of America, no one really says no to food like ever. We overeat all the time. It's probably borderline gluttony in a lot of places and if you think I'm lying, the next time you go to a buffet restaurant just peep people's plates. Got a vivid picture? Let me help you!
You get the point now? Right ... In keeping with that, it's important to remember why you're fasting to start with. It doesn't change the fact of being picky, but it keeps you focused on why you're attempting to do things that are definitely outside of your comfort zone.
If you've never fasted before and you finally decide to start one, don't get discouraged and quit if you break a day. It happens. Start over the next day. Do take some time to reflect on what was happening that caused you to break it. Was there something medical involved? Did you flat-out forget? Did you just not feel like it? You don't think about those things to beat up on yourself, you think about them so that you can do better the next time. For example, when I was teaching, I used to get really tired in the middle of the day. Just worn out sometimes but I still had classes to teach. On days when I felt completely horrible, my pick-me-up of choice was a Pepsi and a bag of chips from the vending machine. On days when horrible was a step up, I'd go to the gas station and buy a Red Bull or a Rockstar, (energy drinks for those who are unfamiliar). One day, in particular, I was bad off. I was physically tired, mentally tired, drained, and in some sort of mood overall. The bottle was half empty before I even remembered that I was supposed to be fasting. The next day, I adjusted how I started my day and what I did during the day to work through what I was feeling. I'd missed the part that when things started to feel off, that's when I should amp up my prayer time or I could find uplifting music to calm down what I was feeling on the inside.
Here are some things you can do while fasting to help keep you focused, grounded, and in the proper mindset to hear from the Lord.
Take it a day at a time. Don't look at it as a long stretch of time. We get brand new mercies every day. Only focus on the day ahead of you, the rest of them will take care of themselves.
Don't set yourself up for failure. If this is your first time, unless you've had a direct word from the Lord, don't come out the gate saying you're not going to eat or drink for 24 hours or longer. Start with smaller goals and then add on time so that by the time you get to the end, 24 hours is more realistic.
Download an audible version of the Bible. This was a game-changer!! When you have free time, especially at work or in the car, listen to the Bible. I can't explain it but it's something about hearing it that brings it all to life.
Build your fasting playlist. Be sure to include some upbeat music. My list was and still is full of Tye Tribbett. Nothing gets you going like listening to "Victory." Worship music is good too but if feeling tired or fatigued is one of your constants, listening to slower music could possibly heighten that feeling.
Stay off of social media as much as possible. This one requires intentional effort. We waste a lot of time scrolling. If you're an entrepreneur or you work in social media management then staying off completely is not going to work for you. But having time limits and boundaries around how long you spend on it and what you're on it for will help. **Also, unless you're replaying sermons, social media is full of things that will have you listening to everything but God. It definitely dulls our hearing.**
Meal tips are not my forte. What I will say, is to pray and ask for guidance. God will show you alternatives. You'll find that you can be very creative. I would also like to encourage you to take on the challenge. Don't just do an alternative because you can. At least try it. I'm not a big fan of vegetables but I've been able to work with the Daniel fast. In general, I don't eat fish unless it's fried and hot, however, I'm finding my way with this Medeterainain fast after Jesus' diet. Whatever you do, keep the main thing, the main thing. You're not doing this for torture, you are working towards a breakthrough, progress, and a better relationship with God. For me, those things are worth fighting and killing my flesh. You have to make that decision for yourself.
If you want to journal, map out your day, and/or keep notes about your fasting journey, I made a short printable workbook to help you organize your thoughts. Click here to download your copy.