Wednesday, March 9, 2011

40 Day Challenge and My Thoughts on the Lenten Season.

I was raised Baptist.  Baptists, as a denomination, do not observe Lent.   I had no idea what Lent was or what it meant until I went to college.   Then, I thought it was an interesting Spiritual discipline, but at the same time, I was thankful that it wasn't something I felt compelled to do.    Plus, I really disliked it when people would announce what they were "giving up for Lent", and then I'd have to hear them moan and groan and complain about it, and count down the days until they could have whatever it was back again. 

Really?   If you're going to complain about it for 40 days - are you really learning the lessons that are supposed to be significant to Lent?   Are you really understanding the sacrifice of our Savior, and the fact that He loved us so much that He was willing to give everything for us?  Are you meditating on that in the midst of your bellyaching?   At the end of the 40 days, are you more intent on grabbing hold of what it is you've given up, or are you contemplative and thoughtful about how the 40 days has changed you?

Okay...stepping slowly off my soapbox.  Sorry for the mini-rant!

Back to my story.   Over the years, there have been times when I have participated in the Season of Lent.   But it hasn't been something I've done with regularity.  Because even though I no longer attend a Baptist church, I still am not affiliated with a church that practices Lent, so I'm on my own with this...and sometimes (more often than not) I forget about it.

However, this year, I've been thinking about it a lot.  I've been thinking about sacrifice, and what it means, and how sacrifice in our lives can actually build strength, and character...including Christ-like character.   I was ready for the Lenten Season this year, but I wasn't sure what I could sacrifice.  Then, I received an email with a post from a blog that I read -    and I knew THIS is what I wanted to do.  

So - for the next 40 Days, I will be eating NO grains.  Not just glutened grains, but also no rice, or oats, or millet....none of the grains I've used as a substitute for wheat.   No pasta.  (that's the hardest part!)    BUT - you won't hear me complaining!   I'm looking forward to this time of sacrifice,  reflection, and contemplation, and listening for what God wants to teach me during this time.   I'm looking forward to the challenge of it also.    If you read through the Challenge Post by The Wellness Mama, you'll notice that her challenge is Grain & Sugar Free, but I've already done the sugar-free, so that's not a challenge really for me, and certainly no longer a sacrifice. Grain-Free is something I said I'd never do.  So - here I am.  Doing it.

Of course, I'll be posting my grain-free recipes, and my grain-free meals.   My next post will be my Grain-Free Grocery List, and what I've shopped for this week in preparation of going Grain Free for 40 Days!

This is the verse that keeps running through my mind as I start this 40 day journey.

I Samuel 15:22 (The Message)
Then Samuel said,
    Do you think all God wants are sacrifices—
      empty rituals just for show?
   He wants you to listen to him!
   Plain listening is the thing,
      not staging a lavish religious production.


  1. What a nice post, Becky. I am giving up peanut butter which I know sounds like a strange thing to give up. But, I am supposed to be giving up sugar for health reasons yet I've been letting myself have peanut butter. Essentially, I'm cheating because I just buy "natural" Skippy which has sugar in it. In our society and in much of the western world, we think we should be able to have what we want when we want it. We don't truly understand sacrifice or deprivation. Most of the time we don't even see why we should deprive ourselves or sacrifice our wants. I'm not going to complain about not having peanut butter or sugar. I'm not the most reflective person, but I will try to be more reflective.

  2. Jill - you are doing fantastic! I am proud of you for the changes you've made for you and your family. You're right = we don't understand sacrifice...I'm not even sure that this Lenten season really conveys real sacrifice, as we know it's just for a season...but it's definitely a start!

  3. I don't know if you'll get this or not since I'm reading your article a year after you wrote it. But i thought I'd chime in on some of your thoughts! I am a Catholic so Lent has always been a part of my life. I went through a phase where I gave up 'petty' things and then complained (as your article states). Then I went through a phase of, "Why don't I do something good instead of giving things up?" So, I volunteered more and read more scriptures and prayed more. But I finally realized that as humans, the 'flesh' really does become a huge road-block to our spiritual life. It's why the Lenten season is about 'Prayer, fasting and almsgiving' ... all three! Fasting (or giving something up) is supposed to free us from the worldly addictions that we have so that our focus can become more God-centered. I look forward to Lent each year. Each year one of my sacrifices is on sugar and I rarely can say that I get through the whole Lenten season without falling on occasion. (I am SO human.) The fact that people like you can give it up forever is really encouraging to me. I have been gluten free for a couple of years now ... but not sugar free. sigh.