I have been thinking about Lent today. As a Protestant, Lent is not something that is common for me. Last year I tried to fast for Lent… Like a no-food fast. That was a big, flaming mess. On the sixth day, I was about to go insane – that is if my family would not have killed me first (I get grumpy when I don’t eat).
I used to think that was the only way to fast. No food! However, I’m seeing a trend in myself I don’t like – chemical dependance. Sure, I joke about Diet Dew being “the nectar of the gods” and my source of power, but this really isn’t funny – I have went from having a couple of Diet Mountain Dews a day to having enough aspartame to kill a lab rat every day. I have also noticed the effects it has on me… It seems to make me hungry. Yeah, Diet Dew makes me hungry. Not good for the diet.
So, this year (I guess to make it official, I have to say) “for Lent” I am going to go cold turkey off of (soda) pop.
I’m hoping this is a permanent thing, but it will do me good to walk away from my most prominent source of caffeine for any length of time. I will go back to only drinking water, tea and lemonade. (Although I may need a good stiff drink after a couple of days.) The whole thing I never got (as a non-Catholic) was how giving up pop, chocolate, meat or (as our pastor sometimes jokes) wearing black socks would strengthen my relationship with God…
I get it now. I have done a lot of research on fasting and how it is more about mind over matter (or often spirit over mind) than trying to show God how devoted you are to whatever cause one might be fasting for. (He can’t be persuaded by such things.) It is more about finding something that you might be putting before Him in your life and getting it out of the way. In my case I will be relying on Him to give me rest and fill me with peace as I go on this potentially turbulent journey.
I’m still not sold on the practice of Lent as a ritual – I hate anything done completely for the sake of it being a ritual – but I do get the concept and understand the why of it for me, and that is more important, I think, than doing it because everyone else is doing it or because you are expected to.
PS: I am not giving up meat. I love meat. I hate fish.