The Daniel Plan — This Is Not the End

daniel plan looking backWhat?

It’s the official end? But, I’m not done!

How do I write an “End of The Daniel Plan” article when I feel like I’ve just barely begun?

Truthfully, at the beginning of this adventure I had no idea what I was getting into. Thank God! But, here I am 40 days later, drinking a Perrier, and munching on celery, guacamole and pumpkin seeds (that’s a lot of green), having wrestled with, learned, gained, and lost a lot! I am wrapping this project up feeling sublimely grateful.

As I look back, I’m thankful for this journey of Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends:

  • Thankful to have walked through this with God because with Him, I truly do have all that I need.

  • Thankful that I’m more in love with Him now than I was six weeks ago.

  • Honestly, all of our messy stuff really does get healed in relationship with God, so I’m thankful that He pushed me to own up to some junk that had been clogging up my spirit, heart, body, and mind for a long, long, time. I’m thankful to face and begin to chip away at ways that I was medicating heartbreaking realities with food and unhealthy habits. I’m thankful for the beauty of choosing Him instead of clinging onto harmful things that couldn’t in a million years ever satisfy, comfort or help.

  • Thankful that we are called to be holy, “qadosh”. (Ska-dooooosh!) How awesome is it that God wants us for Himself?!

  • Thankful to have some old ways of living, relating, praying, mothering, and eating turned upside-down and inside-out.

  • Thankful to have waged war against Self.
  • Thankful to have begun in December, even though it did mean doing The Daniel Plan through the holidays with all of its buttery, cheesy, bready, sticky-sweet, salty, fudgy, pepperminty foods and drinks.

  • Thankful that my food kryptonite — butter — was not the victor! Take THAT, Delicious Dairy Product Nemesis!

  • Thankful to have learned heaps and bundles about healthy editing of food choices. (Just say “no” to the word “diet”!)

  • Thankful for the call to repent over the ways I’d been grieving the Lord in not caring for the gift of living life in my body each day I get to have on Planet Earth.

  • I’m thankful to have hijacked this body back from couch potatoness. Thankful for the ability to bless my body and mind by getting my sweat on!

  • I’m thankful to have built some muscles in the area of changing what I allow myself to think about. Thankful to fill my mind and mouth with Scripture and uplifting, constructive words. My thoughts are mine. They are not the boss of me. Just as my kids all at some point defiantly said to a sibling “You are not the boss of me!” I say, “Negative thoughts, discouragement, sad history, Enemy, depression, fear, YOU are not the boss of me!”

  • Thankful to be reminded to be a person of radical grace and absurd mercy — even to myself.

  • And since, during a very long, bumpy, emotional, unimaginably painful season of chaos and loss (family, house, business, church, friends, husband, son) and walking into walls over the last 5+ years, I also lost my funny, I’m very thankful that slowly but surely, laughter and joy (amidst pain — such is the Christian life!) are returning.

  • Thankful for the call to rejoice, right in the middle of the messy painful.

  • Thankful that you and I get to choose what we do with grief, suffering, rejection, hardship, loss, mistreatment, abuse, and every other manner of terribleness! We can “throw a fit, or get fit” and let our mess be used to glorify God and serve others.

  • Thankful to have begun weeding unnecessary stress out of my life. Thankful to be learning more about prayer, meditation and ways to unplug, relax, and de-stress.

  • Because, just as Jesus’ followers were sent out in twos (Luke 10:1), we also are not meant to live life alone and isolated, I’m thankful for the relationships that were built and those that were strengthened. Yes, people are going to royally mess up. They’re going to hurt us. Really, really badly. We will be broken from time to time. And, we’re going to hurt others, too. But, we still need friends we can do life with. People who know our story, our baggage, our gifts and talents, dreams, hopes, fears, and our quirks and still love us! I’m so beyond thankful for the people who love me  and have stuck around!

  • I’m thankful for energy and excitement. I’m super-excited just to be excited!

  • I’m thankful for finishing this not army-crawling across the finish line, exhausted and d.o.n.e. with it! I’m thankful that I’m finishing looking forward to continuing! (Yep! I’m not stopping today and I’m still getting Daniel Strong!)

  • As a messy, mistake-prone, selfish, idol-ridden, semi-normal person on a journey towards offloading the excess and becoming more like Jesus… I’m profoundly thankful He never leaves me as I am. He’s always turning the heat up in one area or another to refine out the junk and the idols that get in the way of living life fully sold-out for Him.

It’s stinking hard and emotional and sometimes it involves hacking off big chunks (friends, things I thought were part of my identity, jobs, groups, habits, routines, etc.) that I thought were supposed to stay attached, but I’ve ended up concluding,

“OK, God, I’m all-in. I’m sitting front row. Wearing the t-shirt. Fully committed. I want to know, see, and hear You more every day. I don’t want to waste another minute on this earth doing anything other than serving You and making You famous. Whatever you need to wreck, wreck it. Send me (Actually “take me” since I’m not going without You) wherever You want me to go. Remove what You want removed, restore what You want restored. I want You to be proud of Your girl!”

It’s a nuts-in-the-head prayer but I’m ready for more. Ready for more of God. Ready to risk more, be more vulnerable, leap a little further, and trust a little deeper.

I’m glad He’s not done with me. There’s (God willing) a lot of story left to write, this time, hopefully with a much less fit-throwing, and more compliant, trusting, faithful me along for the ride.

And, guess what, He’s not done with you either! Keep going! God is with you!

My Recommendations for The Daniel Plan

  • Plan ahead! Plan ahead! Plan ahead!

    • Prepare your food emergency bags.

    • Stock up on a colorful variety of organic veggies and fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, almond milk, lean meats, raw protein food bars (gluten-free, dairy-free), bottled water, and Perrier (my love language).

    • Do yourself a huge favor and prep food way ahead of time. Cut your veggies, bake cinnamon almonds, char-broil chicken breasts, make fresh hummus and salsa, cook up a batch of black rice, make quinoa, hard boil eggs, etc. Make and freeze a few meals to make life easier.

  • Schedule 15 minute+ dates with God (first thing in the morning if possible) and keep them!

  • Schedule dates with your friends for Bible study, encouragement, and for exercise!

  • Schedule dates with yourself to clear your mind of stress, to relax, to read, and to meditate.

  • When you have a food set-back, give yourself mountains of grace, dust yourself off, and keep going! You can do it!

Final Report

First, the bad news… I still miss butter! There are definitely foods I crave, habits I miss, idols I still veer towards and have to catch myself and swing back toward Jesus. Butter, bread, mayo, cheese, and more bread … My figure doesn’t miss those things. My healthfulness doesn’t miss those things. But my flesh? It for darn sure does!

Having said that, even though I started out dreading it, I stayed on The Daniel Plan detox program throughout the 40 Days and I’ve gotta say, after eating clean for that length of time, food tastes phenomenal! Who knew?! It was not at all like the Annie Hall-ish meal plan I feared, “I’m going to have the alfalfa sprouts… and a plate of yeast.”  The grocery items that felt (for all of us) like foreign aliens in my pantry and fridge – we have become fast friends.

Taking El Plan Daniel on the road to Mexico definitely put a kink in my goals since there was very little in the way of fresh, leafy, green veggies to eat. I was thankful for the nuts and seeds I brought with me that the International Food Police didn’t confiscate.

** So, Travel-bugs, here’s the thing, if you’re going on a trip during The Daniel Plan, definitely bring a stash of produce (unless your destination is international), nuts, and seeds with you, and call ahead to make sure you have a colorful variety of yummy veggies to choose from and that they’ll accommodate your dietary requests. Most restaurants are happy to do so! Be sure to stick a bottle of water and lean, whole food snacks in your purse or bag in case you get stuck someplace longer than expected without healthy food options.

Aside from that snag, I feel FANTASTIC! My skin looks great, I have tons more energy, and I’m sleeping like a champ.

By the way, even though The Daniel Plan wasn’t designed as a weight loss program, the bonus is that you will lose excess weight! In the last 40 days, I’ve lost FIFTEEN pounds (actually more since several pounds illegally and with malice aforethought crossed the border from Mexico with me), which brings my total weight loss up to…

(Drumroll, please)…

45!

Oh. Sorry. You didn’t hear that? I said… 45! Mmm-hmm. You should see the funky Happy Dance I do every single time I say that! It is very nearly the weight of a small European car! I’m wearing smaller pants and feeling pretty great about it. And, I don’t even hate the scale anymore!

In celebration of DAY FORTY of The Daniel Plan, I did indulge in two squares of a humongous bar of ridiculously delicious 70% dark chocolate. And, I must admit that I was possibly, slightly, inappropriately, overly excited about having a few pieces of that bad boy all day long. Just a weensy bit. And, it was YUM!

The Daniel Plan — Laurie McClure Hausam "after" photo

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for this new adventure. Thank You for Your beautiful, gracious, loving, forgiving, healing, fully satisfying presence. Thank You for loving me enough to continue refining and changing me. Thank You for everything I have learned so far and for the junk that with Your help, I have left behind. Help me to be brave and keep going with a joyful, compliant, hopeful, positive, You-centered heart. Thank You for Friends. Thank You for delicious food! May I be grateful and a faithful servant to You with everything I say, all I do, and even with everything I put into my body. I want to glorify You with every breath. I love You, Abba. Amen.

Your Turn

How are you doing Daniel friends? How has your faith grown on your 40-day journey? Has some messy stuff bubbled to the surface? Are you getting your sweat on? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below, and remember, you can connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

The Daniel Plan — Laurie's "After" head shot

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Laurie McClure

Laurie is a Jesus apprentice, a single mama of five (three homegrown, one Kentuckian, and one Ethiopian), a writer, beach lover, and is addicted to radical grace, Perrier, and yoga pants. Here at FaithGateway she is the editor, the leader of Faith.Full, our women's community, and curator of Devotionals Daily.

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