Tonight I am going to post a blog that is not necessarily about weight loss or exercise. I want to talk about the season of Lent. I hope everyone will bare with me I stray off the usual topic.
I have no intention of delivering any kind of sermon or telling anyone how to follow what ever religion they chose to serve. This is however a blog about the changes in my life and it is my belief that for a person to be truly healthy they have to focus on more than just their physical health. They have to also give the time and effort to their mental and spiritual health as well. As I have been going through the physical transformation in my life I have also been embarking on some pretty awesome spiritual adventures as well.
As a small bit of background. I grew up a Protestant Christian. Mostly from a Southern Baptist background. I was born again when i was a child but like so many I sort of put my religion in it's little box and lived my life believing in God, but not always acting like it. Growing up I was honestly very ignorant about other religions and even other Christian denominations. I regret that i did not have the intellectual curiosity to dig deeper.
I knew a few Catholics in College who observed Lent and it seemed a little strange to me, but this was again due to my ignorance. I am still not a Catholic and Until this year I still have never observed or truly understood Lent.
I believe fully that God is taking me on a journey and beginning a very big work in my life. I don't know what that work is yet, but I am seeing a lot priorities in my life change and I am feeling the desire more than ever to humbly seek God's presence each and every day. This year for the first time ever after a lot of prayer and questioning I felt the urge to observe a version of lent. I did discuss this with my pastor and he did offer some insights and a lot of encouragement
I say a version of Lent because from my understanding there are some very strict rules that can be followed but the basic tenets of lent are fasting, giving, & praying. I know there are some people reading this who will surely be able to correct or add to a lot of what I am going to say, however keeping my ignorance in mind here is what I have felt led to in those 3 areas for the 40 day season.
Fasting in the purest sense means giving up food. I know a lot of people instead of giving up the meal in the middle of the day will instead give up a vice or something they are very fond of. The idea is to do without something for 40 days in order to focus more on our relationship with God. My family has decided to give up eating out for Lent. This is a pretty significant thing for us to give up as we tend to eat out several times per week and not only is usually costly, but it is also not always healthy. This also poses another challenge for us as it does require us to actually plan our meals ahead to make sure we have proper provisions. We did agree before Ash Wednesday to make 2 exceptions. We knew we would have to travel to Atlanta for my Brother's wedding and we knew we would have to eat out some through our travels. We actually did pretty well only eating out 2 small times on our trip. The other exception we agreed to make was that once per month my wife and I have a date night. This is a practice we feel is vital to our marriage. it gives us a night away from the kids to enjoy each other's company. Quite Frankly I love her and I look forward to the date nights very very much. Because of how important we feel these are to us we did allow one exception for date night.
On a personal level i really enjoy beer. Now don't get me wrong I don't by a 12 pack of Bud on my way home on Friday and they are all gone by Saturday; that's not me. I am the guy who loves craft beer. I like to try new beer and I like to savor these beers. It may take me 2 weeks to drink a 6 pack, but I thoroughly enjoy it. For Lent I have decided to give up this pleasure. I don't give this up because I feel convicted drinking is wrong; that is a debate for another time. I am giving up beer, because I want to focus the passion and enjoyment I have been taking from the malted hops nand focus instead on prayer and supplication. This has been harder than I might have thought. Not because I feel any addictive pull toward the bottle but instead because I have had several social situations that would have been Ideal to savor a cold one, but I have refrained. For example usually on each trip to Atlanta I will carry a six pack of Abita or Lazy Magnolia (2 great local brews) to my brother and he will pick up a six pack of brew there that I can't get here and we will spend some time tasting and comparing. This time I did not take a 6 pack nor did I ask him to pick one up.
Instead of these things we are giving up I am trying to devote some extra time each day in prayer. I have so much to be thankful for and I have so much to be forgiven for. I am also on the look out for some way to serve others during this time. One thing we will be doing in this regard is spending a night in a box to raise money and awareness for the homeless. This is an event our church is sponsoring and that Molly and I are glad to be participating in. Here is a link to more information on the event if you would like to join us or sponsor us.
I do not share any of this with you guys because I want you to think I am doing something good and I am certainly not attempting to brag. I have always used this space in an honest manner and I just wanted to share something that was going on in my life.
What am I hoping to gain from this season of Lent? first i hope to have a closer walk with God. Secondly I hope that through this journey God will continue to reveal the work he wants to do in my life.
Thanks for your endurance I have strayed so far from the usual topic, but I hope you will take this opportunity to continue to do what you have always done and keep me accountable. Just like with Diet and exercise our spiritual walk requires accountability as well.
As always thanks to anyone who may be following along...
If you wish to learn more about lent there are some very good resources on line Here is one. For a more detailed discussion of lent I would recommend contacting the leader of your church. If you don't attend a church regularly and have questions I can refer you to my pastor I am sure he won't mind.... send me a message I will forward you his info..