So, I set out with a strategic plan, that’s right people. My spontaneous, right brained self was in a giving mood-it was time for the dormant logical, mathematical left brain (in which my husband uses every minute of the day) to have a turn in the driver’s seat. Although this activity felt strange, I pushed through. And I did have to verbally process it with someone or I am pretty sure my brain would explode. And I digress. All this to say, I came up with a Lenten season plan-No sugar or carbs (oh the joys of fasting-or as I call it, Getting rid of the thing which, if someone asked you to not incorporate this in your day or week, you get a little eye twitch because it doesn’t feel real fun or even possible.) Ouch. Since pretty much most of what I eat involves one of these (not really, but you get the point).
But in all seriousness, fasting is a spiritual discipline which only benefits us as it draws us closer to looking more like Jesus-submitting to the Father’s will and way and not our own in our day to day (and this ultimately is true life and freedom). I want to eat healthier, I want to “go to” my God for direction and comfort in the day and not have a looming donut dancing in my mind’s thoughts.
And now we get to today. Today, some celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. 6 weeks of preparation/a season of grief in remembering Christ’s death on the cross in anticipation of the end-the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter. I have to admit, having not grown up in a church which partook in the Lenten season, or held an Ash Wednesday service for that matter, I was not quite sure what this day entailed. So, I got pulled out all the spiritual stops and googled it (sorry to the Lenten scholars out there who are cringing and finding some flaws in my below summary) and here’s what I found:
The distinctive activity of Ash Wednesday services is the “imposition of ashes.” Ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on people’s foreheads as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness. The primary purpose of Ash Wednesday entails the biblical roots involving creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation. It is also centered around the scriptures, “weep with those who weep” and “confess your sins to one another.”
Pastor Mark D. Roberts says:
What I value most about Ash Wednesday is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are.
So, in light of Pastor Roberts words, I confess to you my imperfections, on this Ash Wednesday: Because in spite of all my left brained efforts of carefully strategizing my no sugar/carbs fasting plan beginning today, I am drinking a Pumpkin Spice latte as I write this post.
You got it, a sugary sugar drink with extra sugar is what I ordered this morning at my favorite local coffee shop. What a way to kick off the Lenten season as I forgot and failed right from day. 1. Wow. Pretty sure this 6 weeks is going. to. be. long. But I tell you this because our God is not up in heaven shaking His finger at me at this moment, because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, He is extending grace, grace and more grace mixed with some of His crazy love.
And so I encourage you to join me for the next 6 weeks and prayerfully consider something you could “let go of” in order to focus more on what God has for you in this season/year. And if you aren’t perfect or you forget or you fail or fall to temptation, will you remember my “failure from day 1”? You are not alone and His promises of “His grace is sufficient for you” and “His mercies are new every morning” and “His love never fails” are for you, as they are for me today.
And no matter whether you choose to incorporate a strategized fasting plan or not this Lenten season, will you promise me one thing? Bask in the grace of our loving Father God and listen to this song by Hawk Nelson and “live like you’re loved” today- Because we have life in His death. No shame, no guilt, we are only more than enough as we walk in the freedom and love and identity as a child of God.
© 2012 Standing on Peace