Morning, my friends! So today is the second day of Lent! Here’s to hoping you haven’t given up yet!
A couple things about Lent, if you’re reading this and thinking: Lauren…you’re not Catholic.
Nope, I’m not. But I do love Jesus, and I do want to take 40 days out my 365 to give up something I care a lot about to try to draw myself closer to His presence and the overall presence and Spirit of God. So, what did I give up? Calorie counting: meticulously planning, labeling, and recording every single calorie that comes into my body, and every single calorie that goes out. The first reaction of anyone who asks me what I’m giving up is “Well, why would you do that? It’s so good for you, look at all the weight you lost!” Yes, it is true, I have lost quite a lot since meticulously counting, but I’ve been really guilty about it. About mid-January, I started to realize: I was spending more time thinking about counting what I eat, planning what I’m going to eat, determining ways to increase calorie burn, and plotting how to get the most food for my calorie allowance than anything else. I was (am) so obsessed with it that I thought more about calories than I did Jesus, or other people, or even schoolwork, to be honest. And so, as I was reading an amazing article (that I’ll post if I can find it again) where people were discussing what they were giving up. One woman posted she was giving up dieting, and I was convicted. I started to realize. I walk around talking about how I trust God for grad school, for a husband, for a future, for finances. If I trust Him for all that and He’s worthy to trust for all that (He is…by the way), than it should be nothing for me to trust Him with what I have available to put into and how I shape my body. And no, I’m not going to eat chocolate cake every day, and then scream at God because I gained weight. I’m going to smart about my food choices, logical, but I’m going to trust in God to lead my heart and mind in the right direction. So as a journey of focus, whenever my brain tries to start counting, I immediately revert mentally to Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I think it’s important to know what you want to get out of Lent, rather than just knowing you’ll give something up. Lent, like a lot of things, can get really dangerous spiritually if taken out of context. It oftentimes can go one of two ways, from what I’ve seen: it’s either an attempt to see how miserable you can make yourself, or it becomes a contest to see who is giving up the “best” thing, i.e. who will be more miserable. But that’s not what Lent, Christianity, is supposed to be! We’re supposed to carry our crosses daily, not physically crucify ourselves on them (ok…I know “I’ve been crucified with Christ,” but I’m not torturing myself to prove to God that I love Him…that’s not what the message of the Cross is about!). We are to sacrifice of our spirits, of our wills, but you see, what I believe is that when we do that, when we give up of ourselves for the sake of God, not our pride, not our determination to be the most pious, we will be happy. Because our souls find delight in serving and praising God.
Lent is the time of our lives where we are most especially called to reflect on our own lives and ask ourselves, how much do we thirst for an intimate relationship with our loving Jesus who is just waiting for us to respond to His love? It is the time that we must deeply ponder how much do we thirst for a life that is life-giving to others? (posted here)
Can’t you guys see I’m having some fun with html color coding? I’m gonna try to have some more fun with coding, since that’s about to be part of job description at work, so this could be fun! <3 Sorry for the recipe delay, but more will come. Promise