Wednesday, March 16, 2011

lent: week one.

First off, thank you for all of your comments on Monday’s post. When it was all said and done, we wound up donating an additional $95 to the American Red Cross. It feels like not-enough, but it is something. Let’s continue to offer up the people of Japan in our prayers. Distance, I think, can too often make us feel detached from tragedy. I don’t want to be detached.

I promised weekly updates on my Lenten journey, but I don’t want this to turn into a “Look what I did for Lent” post. So, I’ll try to keep today short and to the point.

Not eating sugar is hard. I have more of a sweet tooth than I realized, not for candy, necessarily, but for cookies and Coke. I miss those things, and last Thursday and Friday — the first couple of days of Lent — were especially difficult. Otherwise, though, I’m beginning to wonder if this is how we were really meant to eat: carefully and intentionally. I do feel better throughout the day, though I suppose I could attribute that to the fact that I’m now packing my own snacks (apples and string cheese in the morning; cashews and strawberries in the afternoon) and drinking more water.

I also have discovered other, better ways of getting natural sugars into my body. I’m eating an inordinate amount of fruit, and Simply Lemonade and Welch’s grape juice both only use natural sugars, so while I still try to mostly drink water, the occasional amount of raspberry lemonade almost helps me forget about Coke. I’m eating better in the mornings. Breakfasts have included vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free raspberry scones (recipe here) and Ezekiel toast with apple slices.

After seven days, though, I’m not sure that sacrificing sugar — or any other type of food or activity — is what Lent is all about. I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the Pharisees, how they got so wrapped up in their knowledge and practice of food laws (and other Mosaic laws) that they missed out on what was really important: God in the flesh. Love. Forgiveness. I don’t want Lent to become that for me. I don’t want to get so wrapped up in what I’ve given up or in the rules that I’ve made for myself that I ignore the real meaning of Lent, this act of lessening myself to make more of Him. The daily sacrifice I’m making should point to the Savior, not to my own capabilities or my own goodness. If anything, it should be a reminder of how unworthy I am of God’s grace, but how He continues to bestow it: a constant stream of daily blessing.

Giving up sugar has been hard, though it probably shouldn’t be. I have a little bit more energy throughout the day. My face is clearer. I feel better. The benefits, I can tell, will far outweigh the difficulties. This seven-day experiment has proven, though (and maybe this is why Lent suggests sacrifice) that I am weak, barely capable of ignoring the Girl Scout cookies in my freezer. I am in desperate need of a Savior who can identify with my weaknesses and rescue me from them.

How is your journey through this season of Lent going? Any tips for me as I continue to let go of sugar? Feel free to leave a comment or include a link to your own blog post about Lent. I’d love to read what you have to say about these 40 days.


Staley Mc said...

I love reading about your Lenten journey, it really inspires me!

jenna said...

I just don't know that I am doing it right. I am definitely craving cokes, etc like crazy! And I am denying myself of them, but I don't really feel like I am following the Lenten experience very well.
Reading your perspective is definitely helpful, but I personally feel like I am being very lazy about my Lent. Hmm...

Brooke Bailey said...

all i know is this:
the picture you posted for this particular post HAS to make it harder to deny sugar. It looks so good!

danielle @ take heart said...

you have been on my heart, so excited to see what the Lord does in your life through this time.

Elizabeth Dean said...

I do not know if I consider Lent as a religious event anymore. I considered it religious when I first experimented with it a few years ago but now I see it differently.

Now when I choose to give up something for Lent I often see it as an experiment- an opportunity to try and do without in a culture of indulgence, impulsive behavior, and decadence. It allows me to have a structured system that is supported and endorsed by most Christians around the world. So it is a very supportive time to try to do without.

Good job- keep it up. I know that during spring break I ate a ton of sweets and now my face is going nuts. There is a connection.

Aunt Lisa said...

Annie, Thanks for the blog about oreo fudge brownies...or was that about not eating sugar? Oh well, the picture of the brownies made them look amazing. So good luck with the sugar thing, but as for me and my house oreo fudge brownies? Yes, please.

Mo Pie, Please said...

I'm not going through lent right now but I am trying to cut's not easy. I am so weak, and it doesnt seem to matter that my health is affected by it (at least it seems that way). I've always had a sweet tooth though, so giving it up is not going to be something that I'll take lightly. I've been trying to eat healthier all around, and when I have a craving, I try to make a smoothie using fruit, agave nectar and almond milk. Last night I made us a peanut butter banana smoothie from whole living, and our PB was of the best organic kind possible. I felt okay about it!

Good luck continuing - just keep thinking about the BENEFITS!