Today is Ash Wednesday and thereby the start of the Lent season. I feel fortunate to work for a school that blesses us with this yearly remainder, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
I constantly pray Psalms 90:12, “God, teach me to number my days so that I may apply my heart to wisdom.” Every time I feel myself becoming lax, I have to remember that time is precious and tomorrow is not promised. I do my best to apply wisdom. To obtain wisdom, I must settle myself to listen, listen inwardly to that Voice of spiritual direction and unquestionable peace. Fasting helps me incline my ear to wisdom.
So, for possibly the third year, I am observing Lent. These 40 days leading to Passover serve as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus Christ did on Calvary when he made the enormous sacrifice to give His life in exchange for mine. Fasting for 40 days seems such a light thing with that in mind. What I have asked myself this time around is, “What am I giving up or what will I let go?”
Fasting always appeared to me as a sacred time of giving up something, a vice for times of reading, prayer, and reflection. But if you give something up, it is possible to bring it back in. There have been times that I have fasted, counting down the days until I resume eating sweets or scrolling down the feed of my preferred social media platform. I lack the discipline to replace the vice with a prayer or scripture.
I most recently fasted January into February. It is natural for me to daily remind myself what I am not doing; however, because of an assigned prayer time, it became easier to replace those fleshly desires with spiritual sustenance. For example, there were days when I was not sure my sweet tooth would survive. Once I was able to eat sweets again, my urges were not as great. That is when I had my “aha!” moment: fasting should cause a shift not only in your thinking and behaviors but your appetite. When participating in a full fast, water is only allowed. The slow return to food should cause you to choose items meant for you to eat to live and not live to eat. Partial fast should do the same. It seems obvious, but I have just captured that concept and look forward to applying it during Lent 2019. There are foods I will give up. There are habits and behaviors I am letting go.
I am letting go of the mindset that has held me captive. I will also open myself to let go of foods that will cause me to regress or relapse into old rhythms of self-doubt and unbelief. I am preparing for the physical, mental and spiritual transformation. God requires much of me this season and this year, and I must prepare for all He is waiting to give me. I want to be able to obtain and sustain my blessings.
Give love. Get love.