Lent, He said. Would you follow me here? Come and see what I have for you.
I must confess, I'm a stranger to Lent. In the churches that I've attended growing up and even the one we attend now, this particular Christian tradition isn't one that is commonly observed or encouraged. From what I've learned recently though, Lent is a time where Christians observe a period of fasting, moderation and spiritual discipline. It's a season of soul-searching, repentance and reflection where we have given up something to be daily reminded of Jesus's sacrifice and what He did for us on the cross leading up to Easter and the celebration of His resurrection.
It seems that the whole point of Lent is to draw near to the heart of Jesus. That being a constant desire of my heart, I feel like giving up something that He has asked me to is something I've almost been looking forward to as this day has approached.
God's request came to me about a month ago as I was sitting in prayer about a great place of struggle for me - my weight. Feeling back at square one with my body again, I realized that my struggle at this point in my life is about rebellion and not wanting to do the things that I know I can and have practiced before. I've recognized where this place of eating for me is no longer something that has a hold on me. I've been aware of my decisions and choices and attitude. Strangely, realizing that the place I'm in now was one of defiance rather than feeling enslaved to an addiction, has left me with great hope. Like maybe this thing can still be overcome because I don't feel the same way about food as I used to. The choices I've been making recently are conscious, mindful choices. But they've been bad conscious and mindful choices.
He has asked me to give up sugar. Sweets. Desserts. CHOCOLATE. Candy. Soda. Sugary beverages. Sugary everything. Sugar specifically is something I've used as violence and damage against my body. I've over-indulged here on an almost daily basis. And oh, what a journey this will be doing life without my usual intake of sugar!
One of the things I learned from my time spent with an eating disorder specialist was that the consumption of much sugar begets the consumption of even more sugar. It's addictive and our body craves more of it when we continue to fill our bodies with it. The times in my life where I've backed off of sugary things, I've craved them less, therefore I ate less sugar overall. I felt better and thought more clearly and had more energy. The over-indulgence of sugar is basically poison. And sad to say, I have been poisoning my body for a very long time.
I want to clarify that participating in Lent is something I wanted to do this year. Yes, God asked me, but I could have said no. I wanted to say yes. I wanted to do this. Also, I'm not doing this for weight loss. I'm doing this because He asked me to. I'm doing this for the purpose of repentance and reflection.
I'm anticipating it to be a long, difficult and eye-opening season. I'm looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I'm excited that God asked me to do this with Him. I plan on saving every Wednesday from now until Easter Sunday to share some snippets of my journey and where I'm at on my blog.
My hope is that by doing without sugar that I create a new space in my body and my heart and mind for God to fill. That He will give me the courage to fast from something that threatens the well-being of my body. And that my heart will be changed as a result of following Him in this place.
Come to me for your sweet. Come taste of Me and be filled with all the sweetness that your heart and soul needs and desires. His very invitation to do this with Him has felt sweet.
There is a piece of my heart God wants here. And I think there is a piece of His that He wants me to know. And oh, I desire to know it deeply.
And so we begin.