Tough day at work? You get home, eat a big delicious dinner and then grab the ice cream out of the freezer because..well it was a tough day and you deserve it. You turn on the TV and still feel wound up so you mix yourself a cocktail, again, it was a tough day and you need to unwind…
You feel a little better, until the next morning…when you wake up to another tough day but this time with a headache and a few more pounds…
All the while Jesus waits for you to bring these difficulties to Him…
It is easy to seek the “feeling” of Jesus in other coping methods (food, drink, drugs, parties, etc), but this is not how we are meant to live! Jesus wants us to be free! And this freedom lies only with Him and not these false substitutes.
For some of us these coping methods may be addictions or diseases. At which point professional help may be needed (reach out if you need help plugging in with one!).
But for all of us, we can take one step closer by removing just one of these coping methods and choose to face our difficulties head on.
It will feel uncomfortable, perhaps even painful. But through the pain and discomfort we approach the excellence Christ has planned for us!
A practical tip for this type of fasting/abstinence is to have a plan or a list of things that help keep you on track. For example, giving up drinking during the week seems noble but Wednesday night you find yourself craving a beer. Instead, reach for a cup of tea or flavored water, or perhaps call a friend and catch up. Having a written list that you can quickly reference will help you stick to your commitments.
And one last tip is to have accountability. Get a buddy or someone you can verbalize what is going on in your heart and someone to check in with once a week to stay on track.
What is the “one thing” you will purge from your life this Lent?
Come up with a list of things that will help you stick to this commitment.
Remember, the focus is towards God, not ourselves.