a poopy beginning and an energetic end

Posted: February 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Warning:  today’s entry begins with 2 paragraphs on the topic of poop.  It gets better after that, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…

One of the biggest surprises for me, on my 40 day fast, was that the poop never stopped.  I mean, if you completely stop ingesting any solid food whatsoever…eventually there should be nothing solid left to go out, right?  All I was taking in was water, and some 100% fruit juice.  I wasn’t even chewing gum.  Nothing food-like whatsoever crossed my lips in 40 days. 

I read somewhere that this is because the intestines hang onto some things for a very long time.  It creeped me out then and still does now, that something I ate might still be sticking around to some corner of my intestines for more than six weeks.  That doesn’t even seem RIGHT, does it??  I suppose it’s true, though.  I can’t think how else to explain that phenomenon.

Nonetheless, fasting DOES shut down a lot of digestive system processes, according to everything I’ve read.  Thus, all wisdom dictates that one must re-enter the world of eating slowly, gently.  I have read that kidney damage and even death can result, if we are not careful.  The process that most suggest for returning from a fast is a 3-5 day one.  It starts with just fresh veggies – like, a green salad without dressing, or some unseasoned cooked tomatoes.  There are steps and stages to it, which look slightly different for a 40 day fast than for a 3 day one, but following the process is highly recommended, to avoid at least abdominal distress and possibly much worse. 

That being said, I didn’t really follow the process well at all.  I DID start with veggies, but it was a 24-hour transition, because I was leaving for a church mission trip two days later, and on that mission trip, our hosts fed us cafeteria-style, the usual cheap, processed foods that one uses when feeding large groups of people.. 

Does a fast run you down?  Here’s my answer to that question, beyond what I already told you about doing daycare and gardening and being just fine (I DID sleep a little more each day than usual…but wasn’t dragging around in semi-comatose exhaustion): the mission trip was a service project.  After 40 days without food, I push-mowed grass, scrubbed mouse turds out of camping trailers, and did landscaping work, among other things.  I had ALL of the energy I needed.  40 days of fasting depleted neither my energy stores nor my muscles.  I don’t know if that’s because God added the increase, due to my following His lead, or if it’s always like that.  I can only speak from my own experience, you know? 

Nothing that I’ve written in this little series on fasting is an attempt to get you to follow my lead.  Know that.  Do I fast regularly now?  No.  I probably should.  But I tend only to do so when I’m desperately praying for someone’s situation, or when I’ve committed to join others in fasting for a cause. 

Nonetheless, I can tell you for sure that fasting can take you places with God that you will never get to by any other means.  That place might be a new space of intimacy in prayer.  It might be clarity on an answer you just flat couldn’t find.  It may be new understanding of how to let Him carry you through the “too muchness” of life. 

Thanks, Cala, for asking me to write about fasting.  If you, or anyone reading, has other questions about it, I’d be happy to take a shot at answering them.  Just let me know!

  1. Cala says:

    Thank you for doing it so eloquently and honest. You’re a great friend.
    I never even considered that ‘praying better’ would be actually gaining ground in intimacy with God. You are always able to clarify things and it’s so helpful. ❤

    • karen says:

      You’re welcome and my pleasure, Cala! (I don’t know about “eloquently” though…I wrote every one of those in tired and/or distracted mode and the errors make me twitch!!)

      So glad it blessed you, at any rate. Praying for you as you pursue this!

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