A lone piece of pizza taunted me from the cardboard box. A perfect triangle of hot and greasy heaven—mozzarella browned just so. I sidestepped the mouth-watering heap of cheese and pepperoni and grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl.  

“Hey,” I yelled to the kids. “Someone come eat this pizza!”

No one came. 

I peeled the banana, shoved it in my mouth, and waited a minute or two for the sound of pounding footsteps on the stairs.

The only sound came from my nails as I clicked them against the white Formica countertop, inches from the pizza box. I wandered around the kitchen, gliding past that last slice of pizza for at least another thirty seconds before grabbing the delicious, gooey pile of Pizza Hut mastery and devouring it.

Nineteen days of self-denial gone in less than a minute.

I’d like to say the pizza sat like a rock in my stomach, but it didn’t. I’d like to say I regretted eating it, but I didn’t. Heaven from the first bite—the tangy sauce danced in my mouth—the richness of the browned cheese tantalized my tongue and warmed my stomach.

How sad to trade twenty-one days of the Daniel Fast for a piece of pizza that took twenty seconds to inhale. Did my moment of weakness undo the other nineteen days? Or the TV I’d given up? Did it negate the prayers seeking God’s blessing over my writing?

Guilt slammed me. What a loser—I couldn’t even make it two more days. Deflated, I curled up on my bed and hugged my pillow.

I had given up sugar, meat, dairy, coffee, and hours of DVR. Despite the natural, healthy food and the extra hours of sleep, I felt awful. And further from God than ever.

As I cried, curled up under the covers, a verse played through the soundtrack in my head. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…and you will find rest for your souls” Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV).

It’s not about the food. It’s about Me. Giving up food and TV pushed you into the arms of books and friends when you were supposed to run to Me with your burdens. Not to other things.

As God whispered truth into my heart, the tears stopped running down my cheeks, and I realized my whole perspective had been off. I hadn’t understood the real reason for the fast.

“Lord,” I whispered,”I’m sorry about the pizza. Help me remember You made me to need You. Help me to run to You first because You are the only One who will truly satisfy.”

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