Yes, Lent. Never observed it before in my life. (And, actually, I’ve always kind-of regarded it with a bit of a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude as if to say, “Don’t you know giving up soda doesn’t get you anywhere with God?” Confession #1 of the evening right there.)
Anyway. I am, in fact, giving something up for Lent this year.
Six days a week.
I realize that giving up sweets/dessert entirely would have been so much more, well, climactic, but it would also be setting myself up for almost immediate failure. Setting realistic goals is a no-brainer, and this three-times-a-day sweets girl going cold-turkey would have disastrous ramifications. And I also realize that for some of you out there, giving up dessert 6 days a week is nothing. (My husband included.)
But let’s get to the heart of the matter. (Because that’s really where it all starts.)
I’m halfway through week three in my Made to Crave devotional, and have been sensing that I need a change. I’ve been so dedicated to waking up early, putting my devotional time first, yet the scale isn’t going in the right direction. I realize it isn’t about the number on the scale, but it is an outward reflection of my inner obedience to God. High scale numbers = mindless munching and emotional eating I’m not supposed to be doing.
So, when I realized that Ash Wednesday was a matter of days away, I figured sacrificing something I hold near and dear (and have always been so hesitant to give up, right Emily!?) like dessert was just what this girl’s heart needed. I’ve been indulging in too many sweets all over the place, and it needed to stop. However, the thought of giving up EVERYT SWEET THING FOR SIX WEEKS terrified me. Like, seriously. It wasn’t until my friend, Regina, and I discussed over coffee (and, OK, some treats) and came up with our plan:
-Limit dessert (TRUE dessert) to ONCE a week–this turns dessert into what it should be: an occasional indulgence, not an every-night-because-I-want-it thing. And it will give me something to look forward to each week, perhaps even a dessert date with Andrew
-Bring back the measuring cups! Regina said her mom always told her to introduce something new while giving something up during Lent. We’re getting back to portion control as a way to be obedient to God in our eating habits. It’s hard to mindlessly munch if you have to measure it all out ahead of time.
-Stick to structured meals and snacks. This isn’t exactly something we put on paper, but it’s a good rule of thumb: If it isn’t part of a regular meal or pre-planned snack, avoid it. It’s fine (good, even) to snack on an apple and cheese stick on the way home from school, but really, Holly, do you need the extra Wheat Thins while prepping dinner, too?
So, that’s the plan. Six weeks of putting God first over our cravings for sweets, comfort foods and boredom eating.
What do I hope to gain?
-A deeper relationship with my God, who I’ve been seeking half-heartedly for awhile now. Despite my diligence with Made to Crave, I feel like it’s going in one ear and out the other. These ‘checks’ are a way for me to demonstrate his power in my life.
-Control over my diet. I talk a big talk about healthy eating, but I have some deep-seated eating issues I need to deal with before it’s ever going to be under control. If I want to one day help others be healthy, I need to be healthy, too–and that includes my head and heart.
-Perhaps I’d like to LOSE a few things, too…. I’d be lying if I didn’t hope this six-week sacrifice also helped me lighten up a little. Again, the number on the scale is a reflection of how much I’ve let God fill me and not food; shedding a few pounds is an indication that I’ve sacrificed. KEEPING THEM OFF IS AN INDICATION I’VE CHANGED.
I appreciate your prayers (and I’m sure Regina would, too!) as I embark on a journey that could truly be difficult for me. I’ll keep you posted every once in awhile