The Daniel Plan & My Rebel Yell Against Self

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To tell you the truth, when I first agreed to do The Daniel Plan, I was really dreading the detox. I thought it would be like the extreme ones I’ve done before — you know, like only celery root and water chestnuts for ten days or, even worse, lemon juice and water for two weeks or some such torture. (Can we all just agree on “No”?) Or that it would be healthy foods, but in microscopic portions and, I feared, far too “peace, love, and brown rice”.

If you hadn’t already intuited it, I am not very granola bar-y.

“I’m going to have the alfalfa sprouts… and a plate of yeast.” ~ Annie Hall

But, I’m happy to say that The Daniel Plan Detox has been a surprisingly better experience than I had anticipated! (Keep scrolling to the end to download the free Daniel Plan Detox PDF if you haven’t already).

Without a doubt, some of the grocery items were baffled to find themselves in the foreign country called my pantry and fridge. We still stare at each other with polite fascination and slight uncertainty.

Here are some things I have never in my life purchased (or eaten?) until now:

The Daniel Plan Healthy Foods

  • Sesame tahini
  • Coconut oil (I’ve purchased coconut oil before but never eaten it. I drench my Ethiopian daughter’s hair in it and we like to use it as lotion because it makes us smell like Hawaii.)
  • Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Unsweetened whey protein powder
  • Almond butter
  • White kidney beans
  • Organic, unsweetened (!) shredded coconut
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Organic tempeh (I don’t even know what that is)
  • Raw, shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds (Back in the ‘80s, I did have a Chia pet, though!)

And yet, almost everything I’ve cooked so far from The Daniel Plan has gotten two thumbs up not just from me, but from my kids, too, which is nearly miraculous! More on that later in the Progress Report.

Editing food choices absolutely does require making a concrete decision. Given that, let’s talk about self-control. (I know. I don’t want to, either.)

The Daniel Plan Fruits of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23

I think my biggest leap towards self-control was made when I really, really decided that above all I wanted to please God. Not just slightly more than my self, but — full stop — please Him and Him alone.

I want to serve God in every area of my life. I want to know Him more. I want to see Him, hear Him, and fall in love with Him more and more. I want to give Him reason to sing and dance. I want Him to be proud of His girl!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. — Zephaniah 3:17

But, if that’s you, too, and we want to live our lives completely sold out for Jesus Christ and see those spiritual fruits start growing, including self-control, we have to figure out what things are holding us back and then start doing something to make actual changes.

“Take the junk out. Let the abundance in.” — The Daniel Plan

HEARING GOD

One of the biggest differences between The Daniel Plan and other health programs is the foundation on God. If we’re going to make a lasting change toward good stewardship of our bodies, as I mentioned in my first blog, we have to plug into God’s power to do it! I do not even have power over a single hot, glazed Krispy Kreme without His strength.

 The Daniel Plan Romans 8:26

“Where God guides, He provides. What He calls you to do, He equips you to do.” — The Daniel Plan

“It’s easy to trust God when life is going well and we feel strong. But, faith develops in the valleys. When our dreams shatter and we feel helpless, that’s when we have to believe in God’s power and presence.” — The Daniel Plan

If we’re going to tap into Holy Spirit power, especially during seasons of suffering, trial, loss, grief, and challenge (hello, my last five years!), we have to talk to Him and be able to hear Him in return.

1. The most important way to hear God is by reading Scripture while asking God to inspire/convict your heart.

My number one prayer now is Abba, create in me a convictable and obedient heart.

2. Another way I have relied upon to hear Him, is by submitting to godly, wise, people.

… those people who love me and are willing to both encourage and cheer me on, but are also willing to tell me the hard truths, help me evaluate how I’m doing spiritually, and shine a light on the places I hide, and fake, and lie about even to myself.

It means asking these questions:

  • What do I need to quit once and for all?
  • What do I need to start and make a life-pattern?
  • Where do I need help and accountability or I will fail for sure?

The Daniel Plan God Can Makes Changes

God can make changes in your life that you have never dared to even dream of. He specializes in miracle makeovers.  — The Daniel Plan

3. Yet another, albeit unpopular, way to hear God is by fasting.

This is praying turbo-charged! I started fasting one day a week earlier this year and it has rocked my prayer life and my personal life. It’s an act of intentionally taking my eyes off of myself, setting aside my immediate, physical needs, and fixing my eyes on Jesus.

We can say, “Less of me, more of YOU!” but putting it into practice is considerably more challenging. Fasting is hard. Really hard! (Thank you, Captain Obvious!) But, it’s also life-changing.

It’s true that what you feed grows and what you starve dies, and that’s pretty much the principle here. Fasting breaks the power of many things, including the stranglehold of Self!

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? — Isaiah 58:6

Fasting gives you power over your flesh. If you can say no to food, you can say no to a lot of other sins in your flesh… It is exercising the NO Muscle! If you cultivate physical disciplines, it will help you in spiritual disciplines… And vice versa! ~ Rick Danna

We’re called to be holy. Before you check out because I just said, “holy” and that sounds stodgy and churchy, let me say that I’m talking about staging a fierce rebellion. A rebellion against Self!

The Hebrew word for holy is qadosh which just means “set apart for a particular purpose”. It doesn’t mean pious, or self-righteous, or anything unrelatable.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Joyce Meyer explained it well: “My drinking glass is holy unto me. It is set apart just for my use.” We are made for God’s use. We’re set apart for that purpose. Holy.

Side note, whenever I see the word qadosh all I can think of is “Skadoooosh” from Kung Fu Panda… I do not score high in piety.

PROGRESS REPORT

FAITH & FOCUS — Using The Daniel Plan Journal to stay focused has been really helpful. In it, I record daily thanksgiving, prayer, what I ate and how much water I chugged, my workouts, encouragements from friends that spurred me on, and my goals for the next day.

FOOD — Mostly really yummy

YUM:

Turkey/Romaine Lettuce/Hummus roll-ups

Beef & Veggie stew

Black Bean Soup

NOT YUM (but I’m choosing to get used to it):

Dr. H’s Whole Food Protein Shake

Oh, and by the way, I barely gave my beloved butter a passing thought! Win!

FITNESS — Exercised 4 days. By the way, I do apologize to all of you who live in the frozen tundra and follow me on Instagram. Pictures of sunny Southern California beaches are truly cruel this time of year.

FRIENDS — I have really enjoyed connecting with many of you on FaithGateway, Twitter, and Instagram! Your encouragement helps and I hope I’m an encouragement to you as well! And if you bought The Daniel Plan last week and are joining me in this journey, I have to say “thank you” for helping us hit #1 on The New York Times best-seller list in our first week. Wow! God is at work here doing something bigger than we imagined!

God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! — Ephesians 3:20

PRAYER

Lord, I love You. I trust You with my heart, my spirit, my mind, and my body. You’re in charge, not me. I’m thoroughly helpless to change myself, the bad habits I’ve formed, or even to face the lame excuses I’ve made without Your immediate presence. Help me to know You better, to love You more, to hear Your voice, and to trust You and obey. Lord, please, don’t let me miss hearing You as I am so prone to do. Help me to be the best me I can be through Your strength alone. Amen.

Join the Conversation

If you’ve started The Daniel Plan, how are you doing? How do you hear God the most clearly? We do not live in a culture or generation that champions self-control (or practices it much), so how do you put the fruit of self-control into practice? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Also, if you’re on social media, please let us know how you’re doing by tweeting or posting with hashtag #DanielPlan so we can follow your progress. If you have a blog and are writing about your journey on The Daniel Plan, post a link in the comments so we and others follow you!

Join Me on this Journey!

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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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