Monday, March 10, 2014

Lenten fasts and resolutions

I've made some pretty strange Lenten sacrifices in the past: there was the year that I vowed to only go the speed limit, which only lasted until I was late for work, two days in.  Another year, I gave up baked goods, except for special occasions without realizing the only time one typically has baked goods is on special occasions.  Then there was the year that I gave up listening to music in the car or on my own.  I spent a lot of time listening to Jim Scott in the morning and my own thoughts in the afternoon.  Everyone thought that one was strange, but that was the year of self-discovery for me, so it was a really crucial time and I needed a lot of alone time with myself and God.  Another year I gave up talking about my plight of loneliness and singleness.  That was a true test, but I thought all my friends really needed a break from me getting weepy on them every time I'd had a few sips of wine.  Last year, I decided to be more patient, which I kept failing at, but decided that it needs to be a daily goal to practice, not just during Lent, so this year I'm going back to giving something up.

As a kid, we are encouraged to give up something, to sacrifice, but as I got older, I really tried to get more creative.  I already have a lot of issues with Lent, like the fact that I love fish, especially if it is raw and wrapped in rice and seaweed and dunked in soy sauce and wasabi, or battered and deep fried.  So, other than remembering that its Friday, not eating meat on Friday is actually a treat, not a burden.  There were also those years that I tried to cut stuff out of my diet, or to eat less for Lent, but I have to question my motivation for that.  Was I really sacrificing for Jesus, or was I just trying to lose weight for selfish reasons in a time when I was supposed to be focusing on the Lord and preparing myself for Easter?

This year, I'm actually going the old-fashioned route and giving up cake, cookies and chocolate.  I have been craving these three things like a fiend and the urge to whip up a cake or bake a batch of cookies is so hard to fight.  I went an entire month where I had at least one home-baked brownie every day.  Then there's the chocolate that I keep stashed in my desk drawer that I surreptitiously grab out and go down the hall to what is essentially a closet to greedily eat in between classes.  This is going to be hard for me, and I will waver and want to give in, and I might nibble on some stale cookie crumbs in the corner of the drawer or a few chocolate shavings on the counter, but I'll have ice cream to comfort me and I'll be okay.

Why ice cream, you ask?  Well, spring is coming, I hate winter, and ice cream of the soft-serve variety is the promise of all that is good, warm and bright and if I don't have some outlet there aren't enough miles in Cincinnati for me to run to remain cool, calm and collected.  Plus, I've already cut down my weekly beer consumption significantly, so I don't feel like Lent is a good time to increase that!  Also, I don't crave ice cream like I crave those delicious concoctions of flour, sugar and butter.  I'm doing okay so far and even managed to make a chocolate dessert for my sister-in-law without eating any, although I did have to taste test the chocolate-fudge sauce and a good thing too, because it definitely needed a pinch of salt!

I'm already planning out what baked goods I'm going to make, come Easter, but for now,  I'll try to stay out of the flour and sugar and leave the unsalted butter buried in the back of the fridge. 

Why wouldn't you crave something as delicious as this every second of every day??!!??

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