“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’” – Luke 14:28-30

Have you heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” This verse has the same kind of idea. Before beginning a project, or setting out on a task, or entering the cold and flu season, it’s a good idea to take stock of what you are about to do, and prepare. I have found that some careful thinking through of a project before you go to do it worth it every time. Also, it is easier to be spur of the moment if you know you have a first aid kit, umbrella, some water bottles and snacks (and for us, baby food and diapers!) stashed in the car, so that we’re already prepared for unplanned adventures.

Embarking on a Month of Dedication is no different. So, as we have a few days to go before March 1, here are some practical tips to help you have a successful fast, especially considering the food part of things.

Get ready! During an extended time of fasting food, your body will be cleansing itself from physical impurities. Besides the obvious “side effect” of hunger, the more types of food you fast, the more you will notice the cleansing effects in your body. Possible side effects from toxins leaving the body may be headaches, bad breath, nausea, hunger, weakness, and cramps. It is great that your body is getting rid of toxins! But it may not be fun. To minimize these problems, cut back on sugar, caffeine, and junk food the week prior to the fast. Drink lots of water to help cleanse your system. Get plenty of fresh air and rest throughout the fast.

Get set! Check out your pantry and fridge, and make sure you have healthy food before the fast begins. Talk to the people you live with before the fast starts, so they know what is going on. Even if they are not also fasting, they can help by not eating off-limits foods in front of you!  If you need to prepare food for others that you are not eating, this will be an extra challenge. Try to do as much food prep as possible in advance, or during one day of the week, to minimize your involvement in preparing foods you won’t eat. Take care not to let this be a source of bitterness for you, and really ask God what is a realistic fast for you. For example, your marriage is a higher priority than what you eat or don’t eat. Don’t let this come between you and a spouse who doesn’t understand and is not supportive, and don’t let this become an opportunity for criticism, judgment, or bitterness against each other.

Go! If you don’t quite follow your plan, no sweat! Take it to God, and begin anew. Remember, this is about GOING TO God, not just going away from food. Spend time with God every day, and consider following along our prompts for each day. I am posting the first week of reading and prompts under the Month of Dedication tab on this site. We have booklets we made for our church, but this way you can join in remotely, or if you misplace your book.

It’s almost go time! I am so excited. Not because of what I will be giving up, but because of the freedom I anticipate will explode around me in our church community. Now, I better make my shopping list. 🙂