Recently, I received news from my primary care physician that my Hemoglobin A1C was elevated again, meaning more attention to diet and exercise, and so forth. Like many, I have Type 2 Diabetes, which can be controlled with medication, combined with exercise and paying closer attention to foods that can spike glucose levels. Accordingly, I am spending a seemingly inordinate amount of time counting carbs and adjusting my diet, which has worked before and should help get the job done now.
During this Lenten season, what we think about the most, what captivates our time and attention the most should receive heightened attention and scrutiny. Sure, matters of personal health and reasonable care and concern for our loved ones should get a fair amount of our focus. Beyond that, what do we dwell on? Do we spend at least a little time each day in prayer, contemplating God’s will being made manifest in our lives, and seeking His direction? How about our ambitions, ego maintenance, getting ahead and having more worldly possessions to show for it? Are we too often counting our money? Do we spend more time than we’d like to admit entertaining and even acting upon sinful thoughts and desires? Are we losing our sense of sin as we rationalize our behaviors, which has become easier in our judgment-free culture? By the way, have we confessed our sins recently?
If we’re not careful, we can leap over an honest self-assessment of our spiritual health, and instead cling to the old Lenten maxims related to giving up stuff, like desserts, watching less television, losing weight, etc. to prepare for Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. Does this even begin to cover it?
Remember that Jesus told one of the many crowds who followed Him that if they did not renounce all that they had, they could not be His disciples. (See Luke 14:33) For us, this means having enough integrity to admit if we are not truly seeking first, God’s kingdom. What Jesus was getting at was that we should not be possessed by anything or anyone except the love of Christ which sustain us.
Yes, that’s hard to do until we begin simplifying our lives, pushing away from our mindless pursuits and guarding more carefully our thoughts and speech. Praying “Lord, do with me as you will” might be a better way to start the day, unconditionally submitting our desires and plans to the will of God, trusting that He has our best interests at heart. Otherwise, let’s clean up our act, starting on the inside.
If you want to give up ice cream for Lent, that okay too!
Have a Blessed Week!