Sugar and Repentance

I am not Catholic. I have never been to an Ash Wednesday service nor had an ash placed on my forehead. I have never given up any thing for Lent, nor given it much thought. I have sometimes gone to a Good Friday service to remember His suffering and death. I have always participated whole-heartedly in Easter with celebration at the Resurrection of Jesus. This year is different. It began when my son brought me a song by THIRD DAY called I Can’t Take the Pain (Number 8 on the TIME CD) The song has to do with Peter’s betrayal of Jesus and how truly remorseful he was that he had denied Jesus in his hour of need. It is a powerful song describing the brokenness of Peter and the forgiveness that Jesus offered Him. As I began to reflect upon the suffering of Jesus, I saw an article in the paper called “Lent is time of penance, introspection”. I felt drawn to explore the observance of Lent and how I should participate. As I thought about the pain that Jesus suffered, I reflected upon the pain in my life, the pain that I medicate with food, particularly sugar.

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Reflect on how
FOOD is your COVER-UP
for PAIN and SUFFERING

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We talked last month about breaking the addiction cycle by learning to tolerate pain and walking through it instead of desperately trying to make it go away. How did Jesus, our example deal with pain? He embraced it. He didn’t run from it although He could have. He probably told Himself the truth about the necessity of His suffering. He trusted God to help Him through it. He gathered all His inner resources to help Him. He knew that there would be an end to His suffering. He knew that God would be glorified through His pain. I again reflected upon my life, how I want to share in the benefits of knowing Jesus, but I do NOT want to share in His sufferings. (II Cor. 1:5) In the same way, I want the benefits of being right-weighted, but I don’t want to do what it takes to get there! Ugh, my heart sank at the realization of my sinfulness and self-indulgence. Amy Grant’s song “Fat little Baby’ came to mind. It didn’t feel condemning, it felt convicting. Was God speaking to me about my “soft spirituality”? Was He asking me to identify with the suffering of Jesus by sacrificing something for Lent? If so, what? I knew instantly that sugar was the thing that I was to give up. I felt alternately excited and terrified. Can I really do it? Can I give up that which was near and dear to my heart? How will I remember? What if the cravings are too powerful to resist? What if I fail?

I made the decision to press on despite my fears. I put my WWJD? Bracelet on as a reminder of my commitment. I touch it when I am tempted to break my commitment and as a reminder of how Jesus suffered for me. My temporary “suffering” is the least that I can do for Him.

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Continue the Journey:
to tolerate the pain,
walking through it
not making it go away!

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I am seven days into my fast from sugar. I feel humbled and grateful to participate in this Lenten discipline. I know that somehow I am “walking in His steps” and purging my body from a harmful substance at the same time. My prayer is that you too will embrace the pain and suffering of this life as you lay aside the food that doesn’t satisfy.

Since we are His children, we will share his treasurers
for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too.
But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing
compared to the glory He will give us later
.
(Romans 8:17, 18)
 

This article is by Jennifer Cecil, M.Ed.,LPC