I am doing a more intense dietary fast than I have ever done before during Lent. I am 33 this year so the journey to the cross feels a little bit closer to home and I wanted to do something which required a little more of me.
As my wife and I have had all of these dietary restrictions, we have had to become creative with what we eat every week. What we have discovered, is even within these restrictions we can eat some truly amazing things.
We even found bacon that was approved for our fast. Game changer.
And Sundays….. oh, Sundays.
Sundays we celebrate. We typically eat at the same place every Sunday but during Lent it tastes so much better. The first bite of cheese on a Sunday morning is the most glorious cheese I have tasted.
At first I felt a little bit guilty about finding good find within our fast. But as I reflected on it, I thought: Maybe that is the point.
So today, here are a few lessons I think we should keep in mind as we head towards the end Lent:
1. Lent teaches us to find joy in unexpected places. I assumed most of Lent would be eating things I didn’t want to, but I have found so many really good things to eat during my time. Sometimes removing something – even good things – in our lives helps us to find deeper joy. Lent is also a time where we simulate darkness. So Lent teaches us that there is joy even in the darkness, if we have eyes to see.
2. We can do with less. We get in our minds that life ought to go a certain way. When it doesn’t, we tend to fall apart. What I am realizing is that when life does not go my way, when things are taken from me, I will be just fine. In fact, maybe some of the things or the patterns of living that I assume are the way life ought to go are keeping me from the real joy God has to offer.
3. We need to celebrate more. When we try to have it all and do it all, celebration loses a bit of meaning. When we aren’t trying to indulge ourselves at every turn, true celebrations mean a great deal more. God wants us to celebrate! And we have the ability to turn what may seem mundane (burgers with your family) into a celebration. Perhaps there are even some “mundane” things which need more attention and need to be celebrated more often.
I tend to find these next few weeks to be the hardest to stick with in Lent. I get tired of the inconvenience. I want things to return to normal.
But as I continue in fasting in discipline I am reminded where the real joys in life come from. I find that I have many reasons to celebrate, and I learn that God is always near and present, even when things are difficult.