The Lenten Season is upon us.
I am not Catholic, but I do partake in Lent.
I enjoy the comradery that Lent provides.
So many people in the world are choosing to give-up a favorite thing in order to focus our attentions on God, suffering through together.
Like one big deprived family. (I kid…kind of)
But truly, I love that Easter–the most important holiday for my Christian faith–gets its just respect. We should be pensive during this season. Focusing on the sacrifices made for our benefits. It’s a beautiful thing.
And suffering, even on a small scale, leads us to a place of contemplation.
The Catholics have really got this one figured out.
I NEVER know what to give up for Lent, and every year it ends up being something that just gets swapped out for a close substitute: if I give up red-meat, I just eat a LOT more bacon, if I give up chocolate, I eat a ton of other types of sugar. No real struggle there.
(If we are being honest, that’s exactly why I chose those things.)
This year is different. I recently read an article about fasting, that got me thinking. The author, (my sister), spoke about the benefits of fasting, and not just from a physical-health stand point, but a mental and spiritual one as well.
And, while I enjoyed the article, I definitely thought, “this would never work for me.”
See, I’m one of those people who gets scary when I’m hungry.
I get all weak and feel like I’m going to faint. Plus, I turn into such an evil-alien-monster-lady that even I don’t want to be around me.
I can actually hear myself talking and acting like a crazy-woman and I just can’t shut it off. I wouldn’t want to subject that person to the outside world.
So, yeah, fasting sounds great and all, but I’ll pass.
However, the issue just kept pestering me…what WAS I going to give up then? Was I going to be a wuss and choose something easy for another year in a row? “umm, I think I’ll give up lettuce. Yeah, no more lettuce for me…shucks.”
NO, I’m a grown woman now. I’ve delivered two babies, lost two parents, moved a MILLION times–I’m tough, I can give up something substantial.
And so, fasting once again reared it’s ugly and annoying little head.
In her article, my sister wrote about control over her body which was what intrigued me most about fasting:
“Fasting put’s my will above my body. Fasting forces me to separate out what I am choosing with my conscious mind, over what my body and instincts demand. Yoga often forces us to do this. We feel the burning in our legs and want to stand up and surrender that warrior pose. But we demand that our body submit and we breath through a few more breaths. Fasting does that for me. I get hungry and I tell my body who’s boss. My soul is running things around here – not my body. It’s no great feat – I have not reached zenned out enlightenment or whatnot – but for a few minutes as I fight off the urge to grab some string cheese I remember how much more there is to me, to my life, than this body I reside in.”
There is a quote that says, “You do not have a soul, you are a soul, you HAVE a body.”
When I was young I felt this on a small scale. I knew I wasn’t my pimples or my braces…but I kinda felt like I was.
As I get older I understand it better. I’ve developed some crows-feet around my eyes, I have gray-hair, my knee pops when I walk, and yet my soul still feels like a little girl. Because I am NOT my body, I am my soul–just temporarily trapped in a body.
So, this idea of demanding that my soul show some dominance over my body really appealed to me–Thus, I’ve decided to fast, two days a week for 24 hours.
Breakfast to breakfast.
(My breakfasts have become pretty intense, no cereal here.)
It’s still not a HUGE sacrifice, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there is a part of me that likes the weight-loss aspects of it, but I feel good about my decision.
Now, because I’m a ridiculous-space-cadet, I accidentally started a week early, so today is actually my fourth day of fasting instead of my first.
And, my Lord has not made it easy.
Well, that’s not true, my first day was easy–God gave me a little grace there. I decided to fast tuesdays and thursdays–and my first tuesday was a fairly smooth day. It went by quickly, I didn’t get too hungry and I managed to survive.
Then I just plain forgot to fast on thursday. (Come on, Trina!)
To make up for my miss I decided to fast on Friday, should have been fine, we were just driving to Denver, so I shouldn’t be too tempted, right?
I had to sit in the car sipping on iced-tea while the rest of my family munched on home made beef-jerky and trail-mix.
THEN, we met up with family and all went out for seafood. I just sat at the restaurant table watching everyone else dive into lobster mac-n-cheese and brownie sundays. UGH!!
And today, my fourth day, I got take-out from on of my FAVORITE restaurants to bring a meal to a friend who recently broke her arm.
He has sacrificed so much more for me when I needed him–this God of ours has a sense of humor.
I’ve managed to struggle through so far, and each day I survive feels more and more empowering. I’ve never been great with follow through, but I am determined to finish this race. Each time I have to fix my kids a meal, or I feel hunger pains, I thank my Jesus for all he has done, and continues to do, in my life.
He deserves a lot more then my two days a week, but thankfully he doesn’t actually ask for any of it.
How amazing is that?
So, here’s to all of you who are partaking in Lent with me this season. I raise my glass of green-juice to you and encourage you onward.
We are in this together, Lets fight the good fight!
Lets finish this race.