I didn't grow up in a family that celebrated Lent, so I didn't find out about it until I was well into my adult years.
I was told it was a time to "give up" something small to remind me of Jesus for the forty days before Easter, while meditating on his life giving sacrifice for me.
Over the years I have prayed about many things to give up for Lent. Mostly, I gave up TV. It felt like the place that I needed to take a break from the world since I was seriously addicted to it. I gave it up so often that one year I realized I had given up TV for good. I still watch a movie sometimes, but for the most part, our television is a dust catcher.
So like every year, the big question for 2023 was what am I going to give up for Lent? As I prayed about it this year, Lent felt like a great time to start a diet. A serious, measuring my food portions, timing my meals, "get rid of this excess weight I have been carrying around for years" diet. So after the wonderful pancake and bacon feast of Shrove Tuesday, I gave up most of the foods that I love on Ash Wednesday. Why not? That first day was a very painful way to contemplate my mortality! Ha! As I got over the headaches and wishing for death of the first few days, I got better. And even though it will take me much longer than 40 days to reach my goal, I am committed to the journey, because I want to be healthier in this wonderful and amazing body God has given me.
So far, God has blessed me with wonderful gifts as a result of my junk food fast. I have an amazing accountability partner, and her encouragement and love are keeping me grounded and moving forward. I have more energy. Several things about my health are healing. I have more spare time and have found myself longing to spend more quality time with my spouse.
And for the first time during Lent, I am finding myself wanting to grow even more. I am seeking ways to get closer to God during this journey. As the days grow warmer and sunnier, I want a walking group with which to build friendships and stamina. Me! In a walking group! Wow.
So, that's where I am a couple of weeks into this journey. How is your Lenten journey with Jesus going? Have you found surprises or blessings in your fast?
If you haven't started, it's not too late. Pick something to give up that you enjoy daily, something that will remind you of Jesus when it isn't there. It's not easy, but the rewards will far outweigh the sacrifice.
I look forward to hearing how your Lenten journey is going.
May this Abbey be a place of peace.