I always wondered how giving up sugar or beer or some other treat leads to a spiritual exercise of any kind. The two didn't really connect in my mind. I admired others for their fasts, but just couldn't decide on or commit to my own.
This year I noticed a friend was participating in this 10 day fast. I'm equally intrigued by ideas like this - to discipline your body and your eating for a period of time. I was almost ready to commit, but I knew I'd be traveling for 3 days of meetings right smack in the middle of this fast, and I knew I couldn't do it. Maybe some other time. But this is what I've said many times. Like with that 12 day herbal de-tox box of goodies that I bought about 12 years ago. It's long past its expiry date. I wanted to do it, really, I did, but the moment was never quite right for me to start it. Because life just keeps happening.
I've been pondering what to give up this Lent. I've half-heartedly given up eating meat. I say "half-heartedly" because I eat meat at about half of the meals that I usually would. Not very committed.
This Lent, I want to give up:
* doing it all. I can let things go, ask others for help, and not expect too much of myself. My mind gets bogged down by busyness of my own making sometimes. Give it up. Let it go.
* slothfulness. I can go to bed earlier, get up earlier, and exercise. I know that I need to do this for my physical, spiritual and mental health. I know I'm not a total sloth: I work hard. But I don't sleep enough. And it catches up with me - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Give it up. Get sleeping and get going.
Those seem like opposite goals, I know. Like slowing down and speeding up. But they seem to be connected in my mind. And I also see the connection between these physical actions and my spiritual health.
It strikes me that some traditional practices during Lent are associated with justice and wholistic peace: physical fasts (peace with self/body), prayer (peace with God), and giving (peace with others). Some people take away vices (like coffee) and add something that will bring them closer to God.
What is it for you? What would you give away? What would you add?
What would bring you closer to God?