Growing up I always thought Lent was for Catholics and never thought of giving anything up during these 40 days before Easter, but I've realized a few things since then. A lot of the "traditional" practices that I was scared of growing up are actually really awesome to take part in as long as your faith doesn't become all about them. And I've also realized that it is very important to prepare for the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord because otherwise Easter will sneak up on you and you won't be able to fully enjoy and appreciate his life and the life we have in him if we don't first experience some sort of death.
That being said, I'm participating in Lent this year by giving up sugar. It might sound small but treats and yummy things honestly hold a fairly high place in my life (i know, it's sad). It's a comfort and something I indulge in daily. But I'm giving it up because I want to uncover who I am without that delicious dependency. I want to strip away those things that allow me to hide and cover up the things of my heart so that I can deal with those issues and ask God into the places of my life. Because knowing my areas of struggle is the first step. If i don't know what's broken, how can I fix it?
It's Thursday and I'm barely two days in to this 40 day journey but already I am starting to notice things about myself. Day 1 I caught myself multiple times about to grab a starburst or cookie after a meal purely out of habit. Most of the time it was to satisfy my craving for something sweet but I think that I did it sometimes as a way to better my mood or the situation. And today, I caught myself feeling almost a sense of injustice as I sat there staring at a scone and knowing I couldn't have it. I felt entitled to enjoy it.
I realize how crazy this sounds to really dive into my feelings about the loss of sugar in my life but honestly I think this is somewhat representative of my heart. That I "reach for things" or sin without even realizing that I'm doing it or why I'm doing it. It's like I am trying to fix something without knowing what's broken so I end up using the wrong remedy. Instead of figuring out what is wrong and the best way to fix it, I just do something to make me feel better. Because the first option is too painful and time consuming and I want to feel good now. And secondly, I feel entitled to and tempted by sin and feel mad when i have to restrain from indulging myself.
Wow. This stuff is ugly. But necessary for growth. To learn where I have struggles, bring them to Jesus, and to continue in the journey of reconciliation.