In 2010 I weighed 315 pounds. I was on blood pressure medicine and was headed straight for a diagnosis of Diabetes. And when the Lenten season started in 2011, I decided to give up something that I often sacrificed that time of year – sweets. But this time I would make a point to pray with every urge, every craving, every sugary thought, and I would ask God to take the temptation from me.
After the first few weeks I noticed how much easier it was to not feel deprived and how grateful I was to God for helping me, so I would pray to thank Him. Before Easter that year I ended up joining a gym, changing ALL of my eating habits, and within the first year I had lost almost 100 pounds. Even though I haven’t reached my goal yet, I have kept it off for almost 3 years. But the key to my progress wasn’t me, it was God and me. My desires for chocolate renewed my relationship with Him and made it easier to actually give things to Him without me constantly pulling it back. He placed people, events, situations … in my path to help me succeed and instead of laughing it off; I picked up whatever opportunities he gave me and went with it.
Lent is meaningful to me because in those 40 days you have the opportunity to gain something more promising and profound than anything on earth. Weight may not be your issue and you may be in perfect health, but there is something in your life that can be improved by nurturing your relationship with God. Maybe it’s acceptance for things you cannot change, or the desire to forgive someone after years of separation, it could simply be happiness in your life that you haven’t thanked Him for yet. Anything you are struggling with, He can help you, He knows you and how you operate and if there is a lull in your communication with Him it can always be resolved with you starting up the next conversation. Now I always think long and hard about what I can sacrifice so that through the sacrifice I gain momentum in my relationship with God. Of course, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and there will be service at Primrose (beginning at 6:30) to prepare our hearts and minds for the season, so I encourage you to think about what in your life is the trigger that can bring you to your knees.