Coincident with the Lenten season, I began an exercise in low carb eating. Along with this new diet, I also began exercising. If you knew me “in real life,” you would know that exercise is on my list of “least favorite things to do.” It’s perhaps number one with a bullet. As in I would rather go tet-a-tet with a bullet than exercise (ok, not really, but darn near). I digress.
I say “coincident” above, because it was just that: a coincidence that I began a new lifestyle as Lent was beginning. I know this is so, because I’ve never observed Lent; in fact, I would hazard to say that in all of the Evangelical church bodies I’ve attended over the years, there’s been a subtle (at times, overt) distrust of anything that smacks of such more orthodox observances. I didn’t keep these holidays because my churches didn’t keep them.
This felt entirely natural to me, because I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. So even after coming to faith, I didn’t know that there were any particular seasons, or holidays, to observe. Again, I digress.
Without intending to, it seems that this year, I kept at least a portion of one the Lenten ideals: self-sacrifice. By going “low carb for Lent”–albeit coincidentally–I gave up: bread, pasta, potatoes, pizza, sweets, soda, beer (which I love, and which no less an authority than Benjamin Franklin pronounced as proof of God’s love for man), and embarked on an entirely new, more intentional, way of eating.
Interestingly, once started, none of that felt like a sacrifice. With a specific goal in mind (weight loss), I took that as the price of admission. The good must be sacrificed on the altar of the better.
That said, what felt like an actual sacrifice to me was (is) the exercise. Doing it day-in-and-day-out. Just mustering the self-discipline to go out there and do it was painful. Indeed, if I learned anything this past Lent, it was this: self-discipline. Applying my will to do something I didn’t really want to do (when I’d much rather being something–anything–else).
Although it being accidental, and all, I’m not sure it actually “counts” for Lent. Oh, well. I’ll do better next year.
What did you do, or not, for Lent this year?