Another Lenten season is here and despite its solemnity, it actually is a favourite time of the year for most people. For one, it is about the only time when we quietly contemplate the amazing gift of life bestowed upon us by our heavenly father in the form of his son, Jesus Christ – there is no greater gift than that of the son of God’s self sacrifice to wash away our sins and renew us……..talk about the perfect cleanser!
It is also that time when we can cut back on our excesses without any pressurefrom external forces – we can cut back on our meals, clothing, jewellery, drinking, partying and just jonesing without raised eyebrows. Really, everybody knows that this season is a solemn one so any cut back on our part, whether it is due to the season or due to the economic hardship, is perfectly natural and requires no explanation. Yep! You don’t have to keep up with the joneses…..you can just be yourself.
But there is an aspect to this wonderful time which is practised by many people though for different reasons……the aspect of fasting. Lent is the time to practise self denial and sacrifice but some people have taken it a step further – after all, almost all the motivational books teach that there is an opportunity in every situation. So, based on this wise teaching, some women target this season as an opportunity to shed some kilos from the scale – yes, they fast for two reasons……..to crave indulgences from the Almighty father and to crave indulgences from the almighty fat around their waist, hips and thighs. They starve themselves and pray that the abstinence from the things they enjoy will translate to positive wonders on two very important areas of their life – their soul and body. Talk about another take on ‘killing two birds with one stone’.
I am quite sad to admit that I am probably one of those women. But before you judge me, let me explain. I never deliberately think about fasting for any other reason than to submit my whole being totally to my maker. I love God so much and always enter this season with the prayer that I will achieve a closer relationship with HIM. Being human, however, is the big problem. At the back of my mind, despite my very strong efforts to ignore that tiny voice in my head, I still can’t help but think of the other benefits that usually come from this period of abstinence – a smaller waist and thinner thighs. It hurts me to say this but it is the honest truth and I am obliged to tell this truth, especially in this beautiful season of renewal.
But it also makes me worry and wonder – do my random, and seemingly uncontrollable, thoughts make me a bad person or simply human? I’m honestly not very certain but I hope the latter is the case. However, during this season, what I know for certain is this: it is the perfect time to renew our commitment to God through our thoughts, words and actions; it is the perfect time to openly practise our love of God and neighbour; it is the perfect time to shed the imperfect things – all those unnecessary excesses in various aspects of our lives; it is the perfect time to realise who we truly – extraordinary creatures of God.
So, for me, this season is perfect because it provides us with the perfect diet for our whole being for in renewing our spirits with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are also, rather unwittingly, renewing our minds and bodies. It can’t get any more perfect than that!