giving up food during Lent.
For most of my life, up until about 7 years ago, Lent was a time to eliminate a food to allow me to continue idolizing and pursing a body size I wasn’t made to have. The typical eliminated food was sugar, desserts, sodas, carbs (aka the foods vilianized by our culture). As we head into the Lenten season, instead of viewing this season as an opportunity to pursue one’s weight loss longings or use it as a socially acceptable means to continue one’s eating disorder, better questions to ponder are: what is corrosive to my soul? What do I need to go without to grow closer to Him?
For me, I need silence. I need solitude. Which translates less into sitting by myself at a spa and more to intentional time away from my phone. How can I expect to hear the small whisper of Christ if every waking hour is filled with the distraction of reaching for my phone and scrolling or googling something? More and more I realize how social media allows demands to be made of me that aren’t in line with what Christ has called me to. Starting Ash Wednesday and until Easter I want to be intentional about creating a space to connect with God more and that can’t happen if I’m connecting to the vastness of social media and the internet. For me, this will look like being off my phone from 7pm to 7am, which is huge for me because most nights I’m a scroll-on-my-phone-until-I-dose-off kinda person. The next step to more silence would likely look like me listening to fewer podcasts during the day, but baby steps. Silence is hard.
An article I read recently put the difficulty of silence like this: ” ‘We can only survive solitude,” warns Dallas Willard, “if we cling to Christ there”. Solitude and silence bring to the surface inner conflicts, distress, and longings. This can be upsetting or painful, but it is much needed purification! Whatever issues come up for us can then be brought to the Lord in prayer or shared with a friend later.”
Some sacrifices can build up an idol. For those with an eating disorder past or present, restriction of food (physical or mental) is likely corrosive to your soul. For those who are years into eating disorder recovery, fasting from certain foods may possibly draw you into a deeper connection with Christ, but this is a very personal decision that needs to be well thought through. If you find fasting from food leads you into more preoccupation with food + your body size and misplaced praise and worship (i.e. worship of pants fitting less snug instead of worshipping Christ), it’s likely that food fasting isn’t healthy or helpful for you at this time. As we head into this Lenten season, I encourage you to take some time to consider what is corrosive to your soul based on your life experience and purse a season without that thing.