I don't always give something up for Lent. I talked about this a bit last year when I gave up unpronouncable chemicals.
It was less an effort to "look like a good, religious person for 40 days" and more an attempt to "honor my God by fueling the body He gave me with healthy things."
It was hard.
Do you know how many foods in the grocery store include chemicals we have no business eating?
If I had to guess I'd say 80-90%.
But it was great. I felt better, had more energy, and became aware of the fuel I was putting into my body.
As a result of 40 days last year, I hardly ever drink soda anymore, I rarely eat chips, I can't remember the last time I wanted to eat a packaged snack food, and I never, ever buy food without looking at the label.
Yes, still. If there are too many unpronouncable chemicals on the package label I won't buy it. It grosses me out just thinking about the cumulative results of decades of eating that crap on a daily basis.
Think about it.
Anyway, that's not the purpose of this post.
This post is actually meant for a bit of accountability, because I forgot to post it last week at the beginning of Lent.
I'm taking last year's campaign to the next level. In addition to being more aware of the nutrition I put into my body - as an effort to honor God's gift - I'm looking to honor God in other areas of my life as well. Three main areas, actually, all meant to help strengthen my relationship with Him.
1. Again, I will use 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 for inspiration:
19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
I'm striving to eat fresh food as much as possible, and also get a bit of daily exercise into the mix. Basically, treating my body in a way that recognizes that it is a temple of God.
2. I am also striving to honor God in my daily life.
And though I can't promise big gains on this one, today's Bible verse actually sums it up quite nicely. From Colossians 3:12:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
If you know me, then you know I'm not the most patient person. Sometimes it's also hard to be gentle and kind - especially when faced with Milwaukee drivers, for example. But I'm hoping that, with a little practice these 40 days, I can begin to start at a place of understanding and compassion when I am frustrated, angered, or annoyed. "Clothing" myself in these positive attributes in an effort to stifle the more negative instincts. Hopefully this conscience decision, chosen day after day, will soon become second nature.
I find that spending time daily with God in prayer, in devotion, and in contemplation seems to work best for me. With that in mind, rather than sleeping in that extra 30 minutes, I am waking up to greet the day with a devotion and a prayer. Reconnecting my spiritual life with my physical one in the hopes the fruits of my faith shine through.
I can't promise success for any of this. I can only promise I'll try. And with God's grace I will see improvements in my life that work to glorify Him.
That is what Lent means to me.