What in the world was I thinking? Ok, giving up desserts for one week was a good way to ease into Lent, but did I really tell the blogging world I would deny myself coffee for an entire week? Did I forget I have a baby? What about the fact that this baby wakes up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30 EACH AND EVERY MORNING?
So, if you wondered why I didn’t update from my first challenge it is because I was in a zombie-like state of caring for a TEETHING baby the same week I cut coffee (an all other drink besides water) cold turkey. But, this morning as I sip my of warm, amazing cup of Joe, I can reflect upon the first two weeks of Lent and what I’ve learned.
Week 1: Dessert and Desert
I’m not going to lie…Week 1 was easy peasy. The only temptation I faced was the dessert menu on our Valentine’s Day dinner, but Jess and I were resolute. I was actually a little bummed at first because I wanted to be pulled close to God through my dessert fasting, but after hearing my pastor’s sermon on Sunday, I realized I don’t need a gimmick to grow closer to God, I just need to draw near to Him. How do I draw near to the heart of God? I open my Bible.
My pastor’s focus was on Jesus as Human, demonstrated by His time in the wilderness, ending with Satan’s three temptations. I’ve read this scripture before and thought, “Of course He didn’t give in to Satan, He is Jesus”, but I tend to forget that He is 100% God AND 100% human. Satan appealed to his physical needs, the allure of power, and attempted to pick apart His trust in God. Jesus, weakened by hunger, relied on His strong foundation in the Word to undermine Satan at each pass. He had a strong, faith-filled upbringing and was baptized in the Jordan River, which filled Him with the Holy Spirit, BEFORE He entered the desert. We have access to this same Holy Spirit and the Living Word to learn about our Father.
While I may be able to resist a dessert temptation I give into temptation daily. I’m tempted to be self-seeking. I am tempted to put idols before God. I’m tempted to judge while acting self-righteous. Thankfully I have amazing accountability in my friends and family and I LOVE learning about Jesus, which have helped build a strong foundation in my faith, so even if I give into temptation I feel that gentle tug. The tug that lets me know I’ve strayed a little too far and need to turn back. I also have an awesome example in Jesus in how it looks to focus on God’s will, which far surpasses my own.
Week 2: Lord, Jesus, I need you more than coffee, which says ALOT
Water Only week started out just fine. On Wednesday morning I passed by the Keurig and thought, “You don’t have power over me today, ha!” I proudly filled up my water bottle and went about my day thinking I should have picked more difficult challenges.
Thursday reared it’s ugly head at 5:10 am with a very much awake baby who let me know her second tooth was coming in by screaming through her “delight” to see me. “Its ok”, I thought, “I’ll catch up by taking a nap when she naps.” Sadly, her first nap only lasted 35 minutes. But I soldiered on sans coffee, looking forward to date night with Jess and handing over our sweet baby to the unsuspecting teenage babysitter who would have to soothe her for bed time.
The temptations continued upon being seated at dinner that night when we were informed of a FREE WINE TASTING. What?? The Lord was really testing me. We stared at our water glasses in angst. I’m sure Jess instantly regretted his decision to take on my Lenten challenges. Thankfully, I married a man who is strong and happens to be my best friend and we were able to make it through dinner with a smile…and a chocolate s’more dessert.
Friday morning was rough. Amelia was still teething and I still couldn’t have coffee, or sleep. I started to doubt the reason anyone gives anything up for Lent, and then I read my She Reads Truth lesson. Ok, God, I see you; It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.
“Too often, we fail to realize our need for Him, and instead assume He needs us and our sacrifices. Like, Israel, we put on a formulaic fasting show, expecting our god to dance in response…But we don’t fast to make things work for us. We fast to avail ourselves to Him. The fast God calls us to is nothing short of hungering for another world–a world of perfect peace, provision, and satisfaction.”
By practicing fasting I am choosing God’s authority over my own. I am saying I need Jesus more than I need coffee or wine, which is positively true, but sometimes I act like it’s not. This week has reminded me that a posture of humility and dependence brings me closer to God, and that Jesus isn’t waiting for me to impress Him, but to love and follow Him and the example He set for me. I’m not saying my water only week got ANY easier, but at least I could look at it with a fresh perspective.
Onward we go
What’s my next challenge? Letter writing! I will chose one person a day to write an actual letter to and send it via snail mail. This task is all about taking time to slow down and to be intentional with others, just as Jesus is intentional with us. Check back next week for a reflection of my experience.
If you want to read about my Six Part Lenten Challenge click here.