Wednesday, March 30, 2011

lent: week three.

These pictures really have nothing to do with Lent. They just make me happy. 

First, I wanted to say thank you for all of your comments on last week's Lenten post. Your thoughtful words meant a lot, especially to a girl kind of stumbling through this season on her own.

This week has been particularly difficult, mostly because of the faces I get when I have to pass on cookies and brownies, soda and fast food. It's tough to feel like the odd one out, like the silly girl who's trying to complete some kind of odd social experiment.

I find myself craving desserts like never before. I want cookies after every meal. I pass through the freezer section at Publix and drool over Ben and Jerry's. Last Friday, I dragged Jordan to a local yogurt shop, thinking they'd have a sugar-free option. Having to leave empty-handed was perhaps the biggest disappointment of my week.

At the same time, though, I feel like I am actively doing something to demonstrate to God the desires of my heart. On Monday night, as I prepared cupcakes and brownies for the girls in my book club, I literally ached at not being able to lick the icing off my fingers or scrape the bottom of the pan. But I had this moment where looked up and whispered: "This is for you." I remembered that I wasn't just doing this sugar thing out of some crazy plan to lose weight, or even as a health experiment. My reasons, though I sometimes forget, are deeper than that. And I could resist the little temptation those cupcakes offered because I knew that somewhere, God was smiling, grateful for my small attempt at sacrificial living.

I know that tomorrow, if I peeked into my pantry and sneakily ate a Girl Scout cookie, it wouldn't be a sin. I don't believe our God works that way. But there is a satisfaction that comes when I feel my soul actively turning down something -- even something as small and inconsequential as sugar --  for the Lord of my life.

Lent, I think, could easily become something in which I took pride, or in which I might feel "better" about my "spiritual status." Look at me, I'm giving up cookies for Jesus! But over and over again, Scripture reminds us that our Lord is far more concerned with the state of ours hearts than the state of our stomachs. This Lenten sacrifice means nothing if the state of my heart is less than pure. And each day of this season, I think I'm learning that lesson. That it's less about sugar and more about my soul.


"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." 
 - Hosea 6:6


Marli and Memory said...

wow, i'm actually the first to comment! so i love those cute pictures of y'all at the beach! looks like y'all were having a great time! and i love these words from you.... it's a great reminder.

Jessica said...

i'd say baking cupcakes and brownies for your book club while not being able to enjoy them for yourself is an awesome example of giving something up and still giving something to others. that's like the textbook example of self-control. kudos to you.

Jennifer said...

Sometimes we need to sacrifice "innocent" and "good" things. It normally doesn't hurt out walk with God! This is a beautiful espression of your heart!

Lori said...

I love this! I love finding inspirational blogs like yours :) Thank you for sharing...

jenna said...

God really spoke to me in some specific ways through this post yesterday. Thank you for being such a powerful instrument of His. :)