I’ve been thinking sincerely about what to give up for Lent. Lent, obviously, is not a diet, but a time to prepare your soul for when we celebrate the Resurrection. Easter Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday the week after are true gifts to us and I want to celebrate the former as best I can with a journey of coming closer to God.
I thirst. I thirst for his presence at the moment. I want to enter with Jesus into the desert and draw close to him.
I made the point that it isn’t a diet because so many people ‘do’ Lent now just as that. That’s not a bad thing. Surprising my saying that it isn’t? They thirst too. They’re r thirsting will be hidden behind wanting to be thin perhaps; why? So they will be attractive, so they can find love? It may be a subverted desire, but the root of the desire itself rests in their want for God. But not recognising it their ignorance leads them to other things.
I know this because I’ve been there. About a decade ago now I thirsted and my thirst led me to lent and conversion. However in my time in the wilderness, like the Israelites lost for their 40 years, I developed some bad practises. One of those bad practises was my relationship with food. I use it when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I want to celebrate, when I’m worried, bored….and I don’t turn to God. It has become an idol.
When I get too fat as, inevitably, this way of acting leads, I diet. When the diet is working, even before I’ve made significant weight losses, I become vain. It becomes a form of self abuse, seeking me away from the happiness within my marriage to an illusory want of attention elsewhere. It’s only in my mind, I don’t go out flirting or anything. But as Jesus says, I commit an act of adultery doing this. As I say in my last post, Jesus is clear on this.
This is why I’m discerning. I want to draw close to God. I want to dstroy food as an idol with God’s help once and for all. In all honesty I want to be attractive, but in a holy way, turning this desire towards my husband (not a bad thing). So how do I do this?
I had been praying about this this afternoon when I looked at my twitter feed and someone had helpfully posted a link to their blog and a worksheet for Lenten preparation.
Firstly is a voluntary amendment of life. I overeat and I eat for all the reasons above. One of the suggestions that chimed with me is the idea of only eating at mealtimes. This, as the title suggests, is something I need to think of as being a lifelong change to bring my eating under control. With God’s help I hope to develop resilience and the practise of drawing close to God rather than to draw close to food by making it not as constantly available.
Secondly is an act of penance; mine will be giving up sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits for the duration of Lent. I use these things as comfort food, relief from boredom…you name it. Time to destroy this golden calf.
The third is a spiritual work. I’ve already thought about doing the Rosary for lent and, as there is one that starts on Ash Wednesday, I’m offering mine up with those who are praying theirs as part of 40 Days For Life. I’m doing mine in the format of a Rosary Workout.
If you want to join me I’d love to here from you. If not and you want to share what your Lenten commitments are I’d love to hear; through Christ we are stronger together.
I pray that God be with you; and please pray He’s with me too.