Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lent: What I'm Giving Up This Year and Why I'm Doing It

Good Saturday morning, everyone!  I hope y'all had a great week, and that you are enjoying the relaxation that the weekend brings.

Warning: Long Post Ahead

It's been a while since I've talked about faith on here.  It's probably because I've been in a weird state of mind lately and let my relationship with God fall a little.  Thankfully, I realized this week that letting that relationship fall isn't going to help anything, so I've been coming back to Him.  I think it's been helping!

Anyway, let's get to purpose of this post and talk about the season of Lent.  As you may know, Ash Wednesday was this past week, marking the beginning of the season of Lent.
Image Source
First, let's address the question, What is Lent?  Lent is the season in the Christian church preparing for Jesus' death and resurrection.  It begins 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays) on Ash Wednesday. Other important days during Lent are Palm Sunday (a week before Easter), Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  The season of Lent is geared toward mourning over our sins and repenting of them as we prepare for Jesus' death and resurrection that saved us all (Hallelujah for that!!).

You also may wonder Why do people give stuff up for Lent?  This practice is to prepare your heart for the coming of Jesus.  Now, giving something up for Lent is not a Biblical practice.  The idea comes from Jesus fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness after his baptism (Matthew 3:13-4:2), as well as fasting that occurred throughout the Old and New Testaments.  However, the early Church did not have the season of Lent, nor did they give something up.

The goal of the practice of Lent is to give up something that is sinful in an effort to completely rid it from our lives.  I found this image in a search for "Lent," displaying the top 100 things Twitterers were giving up for Lent in 2009, according to
Image Source--anyone else find it ironic that "catholicism" and "religion" are in there?
Here's my take on giving things up for Lent:  I think it's a good time to prepare our hearts to celebrate what God did for us by giving up something that's in the way.  I think the true intention of giving something up for Lent is lost when we go right back to that thing on Easter Sunday (and/or do it on Sundays because "they aren't included in the 40-day count").  I also think that we should be doing this throughout the year, not just during Lent.

However, just like every other person on this earth, I am not perfect and sometimes I need that 40-day-reminder to give up a sin.  Sometimes I need that reminder to give something up in order to make a place for God.  This year is one of those years.

I've been struggling lately with food controlling me.  I get a craving for something and can't stop thinking about eating that certain thing.  When I do get my hands on what I'm craving, I can't stop eating it.  It's like eating that one food is going to make everything better for me.  The past few months, it's been sweets.

Some examples of what I'm talking about:

  • I'd smell brownies baking at school (culinary class) and can't get them off my mind until I buy one.
  • I'd eat 2 Thin Mints or Tagalongs, then have to keep going back to the box because two wasn't enough.  I ate a whole sleeve of Thin Mints on one occasion and went back for more, but the box was empty.
  • I'd eat on Quest bar but wanted more.  I knew I was full, but I couldn't stop myself from eating another.
This is not healthy physically, mentally, or spiritually.  I should feel that way about God, never getting enough of Him and can't stop myself from going back for more.  But, instead, it's sweets.

So, I decided to give up sweets for Lent.  I had to.

So far, I have been doing great.  I have been tempted with candy at a meeting on Thursday and donuts on Friday and had no problems saying "no".  I pray this will be a lifelong change in my life, so that I can deepen my relationship with God and choose healthier food options.

Wow, that was a long post and it got really real in here.  I appreciate your support as I deal with this struggle in my life!

Of possible interest: 20 Things To Give Up For Lent  Check out this link--it's not what you think and it's REALLY  good!

Question for you: Are you giving anything up for Lent?

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