Gratitude Day 246
Mon., Apr. 8, 2019
2 Corinthians 13:7 – We pray that you will stop doing evil things. We don’t pray like this to make ourselves look good, but to get you to do right, even if we are failures.
I feel like an epic failure.
Lent has not gone well for me. Well, at least one aspect of Lent. You know those things that you “say” you are going to give up or refrain from? I haven’t done very well.
For years, I have given up sweets and dramatically decreased my sugar intake during Lent. This was the plan again for this year.
Until I failed.
A couple weeks ago, it was a rather nice day here in Wisconsin. Hubby Rick and I had exercised. It was just warm enough and we had exerted just enough that we were hungry. We stopped at McDonald’s just so Rick could get one of his favorite things this time of year: a shamrock shake. I ordered something else that did not break my no sugar rule during Lent. But the shake? It was just too appealing. Soon, I took just a few sips of the shake.
It wasn’t a big deal, was it? Just a couple swallows? No big deal, right?
Well, those couple swallows led to another time that I had a piece of candy. I still convinced myself that I had not fallen off the sugar-wagon, just yet. Then, last week, I made a cake for a small celebration. The cake turned out beautifully. It was tall, looked fancy and had all these beautiful cherries on top.
How could I not sample this cake? And so, I did.
Another failure for the sugar-wagon. An epic failure.
I worked multiple days at my part-time job last week. It’s one of those weeks when I have a lot to do in just a few days. One day, there were Nutter Butter cookies. The next day? Peanut Butter Oreos.
Just in case you don’t know, I consider peanut butter its own food group. Seriously. This is how much I love peanut butter. (FYI – I would not even consider trying to give up peanut butter for Lent …)
Yes, I had a couple cookies both days. I am the definition of an emotional eater. I didn’t want my co-workers to think that I had any stress about getting my required work done quickly, efficiently and accurately. So, I just grabbed a couple cookies instead. No apologies to my commitment to no sugar. They were way too easy to eat.
By Saturday, I realized that I had let myself become a failure when it came to not eating sweets and sugar during Lent. Actually, an epic failure. I didn’t just have a little shamrock shake and call it good. I kept going and indulged in sweets more than once. And then again.
Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a little sugar?” Yes, you are true. Yes, it’s not the end of the world because I ate some sugar.
Here’s the deal. It has more to do with being a heart-issue than a head-issue. The reason most people deny themselves something during Lent is to recognize the sacrifice Jesus made for us. If Jesus gave up his life, shouldn’t I be able to give up sugar?
Yes … but not really. Looking back, clearly, my heart wasn’t in giving up sugar. I also wanted to cut back on some other things … and this hasn’t faired very well either.
What’s the root issue? A lack of discipline? Initially, this would seem to be the answer. But I think it goes deeper than this.
Giving up something in our head is not the same as giving up something in our heart. Clearly, while my head thought I might be able to do this, it didn’t consult with my heart. My heart? Not-so-much.
Yes, I know that Lent isn’t over and I can still jump back on the no-sugar-wagon again. I’m still may. What I really want to think and pray and explore is where my heart is this Lent. Why is Lent important? What does Jesus’ life, death and resurrection mean to me? What value do I place on this in my life? What should my response be?
If you are succeeding in your Lenten discipline, I commend you. I’d love to hear how your heart has felt about this! If you feel like you are struggling, you can jump on my wagon. Even if we failed at this exercise, thank goodness I believe in a loving God that forgives me when I don’t do right. I believe in a God of second chances. I believe in a God who knows my value is more than whether or not I ate sugar today. I believe in a God who looks beyond my epic failures.
For a God who looks beyond my epic failures, I am grateful.
Holy God – I’m sorry that my heart has not been in the game this Lent. While I feel that I’ve let you down, I know that You have already moved on. Lord – help me see where my heart is right now and how I can turn it back to You. Amen.
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