Goodbye cupcakes. Adieu chocolate. Farewell sugar. Adios corn syrup. So long, sucrose, dextrose, fructose and glucose. You tantalize my tastebuds. You are a counselor, friend, even my drug of choice and parting is such sweet sorrow.
Hello plain old water. I wish you were as seductive as cheesecake but you are so….. tasteless. Nevertheless let’s get better acquainted over the next 6 weeks.
And so unfolds, Part 2 of our Lenten season equation involving subtraction and addition.
Together, Robyn and I will take away:
- sweetened drinks
- desserts: cake, pie, brownies, cookies
- ice cream
- donuts, sweet breads, muffins, coffee cake
And we will add a daily regimen of 8 cups of H20.
While this might be a piece of cake for you, it’s genuine self-denial for me. They say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. That would describe Robyn. She and chocolate are already best buds so practicing self restraint now, early in the game, can stunt germination of that apple seed.
The roots of my love affair with sugar run deep. They were planted in the formative soil of my childhood. I learned to cope with emotions hand to mouth, immediate gratification. Lonely? Ride my bike to the ice cream store. Sad? Chocolate makes me happy. Angry? Steal some cookies from the cookie jar. Disappointed? Eat a donut. Even now, I daydream about sweets. I’ve actually driven through a red light while imagining eating my favorite dessert from the Cheesecake Factory. I’m ashamed to admit it but sweets are my “go to” instead of God or in addition to God when He’s just not enough. And that, my friends, is idolatry.
I’ve made this 40 day commitment before–many times- which is probably why I dread it so much. It expresses a sincere desire of my heart to love God, but serves as a constant reminder of what I actually do love—sugar. And that’s what I hate about lent. It forces me to live on the battlefield of temptation facing my greatest opponent—myself. During these weeks, my idolatry is exposed. I stare it down and cry out to a holy God for mercy and grace. I deny myself and take up my cross. I practice restraint. Purging isn’t pretty and it’s painfully hard but it is cathartic, as is drinking 8 cups of water each day. So, body and soul, I engage the war and God comes along side me and fights with me and for me. He takes the space that sugar lives in and makes it His dwelling. And that is what I love about lent.