Lent is a wonderful time to focus on God. And many people do so by giving something up for those 40 days. The purpose is that by fasting for 40 days, we are sacrificing something in a small tribute to Jesus as He sacrificed for us, and we are giving ourselves yet another way to meditate on the Lord. By fasting, we can remind ourselves to pray to God when we are suffering from our sacrifice. Not everyone of the Christian faith fasts during Lent. It is mainly a Catholic thing. Catholics also give up meat on Fridays during Lent. It used to be during the whole 40 days, and fasting completely on Fridays, but that all changed with the times.
I grew up Catholic, and carry some of the traditions with me. Fasting from something for 40 days is one that I hold close to my heart, and believe in. Last year I gave up meat for 40 days. It was hard at first, being an avid carnivore. But soon I found it an incredibly spiritual fast, and became pretty healthy as a result. Of course, Easter came and I was into the BBQ chicken with the rest of them. This year, I considered doing the same fast, but I didn’t feel the spiritual pull to do so. I find it is necessary to pray on such things, to ask God what it is he wanted from me during the 40 days of Lent. And to my dismay, he told me. He wants me to give up added sugar. And not just sugar, but honey and sweeteners too. And the reasoning is that by giving up that added sweetness for taste, I am experiencing a metaphoric life without God’s sweetness for 40 days.
This is going to be hard.
I am addicted to sweetness. The hardest thing to give up will be the Splenda in my coffee. And chocolate, no more raiding my mom’s chocolate box under her bed. I thought about practicing for this fasting, and as a result, I am even more addicted to sweetness from over indulgance. And it doesn’t help that the kids birthdays were this past week with lots of cake to go with it, and Valentine’s is coming up and I am salivating over anticipated chocolate. And I wonder why my pants are a little snugger…. When Lent comes, there’s no question that I will be giving it up for good for 40 days and not cheating. But for the first 10 days, I expect to be going through some pretty hefty withdrawals.
I am writing this here, first of all, for accountability. But second, to encourage anyone reading this to give up something dear to them for 40 days. Yes, it’s hard. But the rewards are worth the effort, spiritually and beyond. And not only that, it’s for Him. That’s reason enough.
Lent begins March 1st this year. Join me and millions others in fasting for 40 days.