Journal for February 22, 2012
Using the Invitation to Lenten Discipline from the Book of Common Prayer or BCP, I reflected upon what it is that it really meant to me and how I receive it. I always thought of Lent as a giving up of something like chocolate or caffeine or even television more than a time to take up something in the name of God. This reflection really began a year ago when I used this invitation to begin the Lenten journey at the church I was serving. Having had it reintroduced to me and been asked to really meditate on it, I believe I know what it is calling me to do.
I have struggled with my weight so much in my life. From late elementary on, I have always been overweight. Recently, however, my weight has become a bigger hindrance than I had previously thought. This love affair with food has begun to sneak its way into my spiritual life. When mealtime is important enough to skip events at church or chapel at seminary, it has really become a problem. I saw this problem toward the end of last year and I thought long and hard over Christmas break how exactly I was going to proceed – how I was going to change my thought process from “living to eat” to “eating to live.” In essence, food had become my object of devotion and was leaving less room for God and the work to which I have been called. When I reflected on the text from the BCP, I thought about the following line: “It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness and restored to the fellowship of the Church.” One might not consider food indulgence being a sin, but it is. To me, sin is something that either separates us from God or causes us to not live into God’s will for our lives. Bearing that in mind, my addiction to food had really become a thing that was, is, and in the future will cause me to not live into God’s will for my life. I wholeheartedly believe that I am called into ordained ministry. I believe that God’s will for my life is to fulfill that call. If I continue to eat the way I have always eaten, I might be able to live into that will, but not for long or possibly, not at all. I decided that I needed to really think about how I was going to begin to fight the battle against my weight. I knew with God on my side, I could absolutely conquer this sin.
I decided that I needed to get started on something, be it exercise or diet. Mentally, I wasn’t prepared for a diet, so I decided to get back to the gym – after all, we had been paying for a membership for over a year and never went! Finally, I knew that Lent would be a great time to begin the new eating plan – not a diet. The words from the text that rang out in my mind as I began to contemplate what it was that I was going to do for lent were, “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” Throughout Lent, I will be praying – a lot, I will be fasting in a way because I am not taking in nearly as much food as I have been and I will be eating vegetables and fruit – something I had not previously done, and by self-denial of fried, greasy foods. I will be meditating on one passage of scripture throughout the entire season of Lent and that is Psalm 139 where it talks about the inescapable God who knows our inmost being more than we could imagine. My prayer for the season is a simple one, but very impactful: Loving and Gracious God, give me enough life for the work to which you have called me. Amen.