Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Today is Day One

I look forward to observing Lent every year. Many would think it very weird to get excited about self denial. I spend the weeks prior to Lent prayerfully considering anything I crave. Those cravings drive me to the point that if I do not fulfill those cravings I feel hollow and incomplete. Some of these unfulfilled cravings cause me bodily discomfort.

The first year I considered follow Lent I gave up all soda. It wasn’t that hard but I did come to realize that I drank a lot of soda. At every restaurant I was had to make a conscious decision to not order soda. Breaking this habit had long term affects, today I rarely drink soda.

One year I decided to give up coffee for the Lenten Season. Mistake! I had the biggest caffeine headache ever, and I think they lasted the entire season. Easter Sunday I was bathing in coffee!

Another year I decided to give up TV for Lent. Sounded noble! I love TV. I cannot read a book, write a paper, prepare a sermon, or have a conversation with my wife without the TV being on. I felt this would be an easy thing to accomplish and best yet: I wouldn’t get a headache. But I have a DVR. Everything I missed during Lent I recorded. Easter Sunday I was watching 40 days worth of TV!

This year I looked at my spending habits and discovered that I spend a lot of money at Starbucks. I would be embarrassed to confess the amount. I also spend too much money eating out. We make fewer and fewer meals at home. So for Lent this year I have decided to limit my overspending.

Yesterday I went to Starbucks and was greeted by all the employees there by name. I guess if you spend that much money at one location you are bound to get known. After I got my mocha and sausage sandwich I informed the crew that I would not be back until after Easter. Thankfully they sighed and didn’t applaud my decision.

As far as going out, we will be limiting our dining out experience. Thursdays will remain Date Night and we will enjoy a quiet dinner out together. But for those other nights we will refrain from taking the easy way out and getting Fast Food. Instead we will spend the extra time required to prepare something a bit more nutritious. It is cheaper.

So as I forgo these bad habits I look for the reminders that the reason I am avoiding my bad habits is to help me draw closer to Jesus. When I crave Starbucks I am reminded that the only thing I should crave is a fuller relationship with the Savior who denied everything for us. And when I desire to take the easy way out for dinner, I must remember that Jesus avoided the easy fix and suffered and endured much for us.

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