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Lent

February 17, 2010

Mardi Gras and Lent really snuck up on me this year. I am not Catholic, but the Methodist church is one of the few protestant churches that observes lent and despite what denomination I take part of, I’ve always felt it is an important experience to participate in. Heck, even if you aren’t religious, there are benefits to reap from abstaining from some controlling habit in your life for 40 days. What is some such habit that holds power over you? Food, alcohol, cigarettes, pornography, gadget addiction, sex, coffee, shoes, bikes, clothes, housewares, friends that are poor influences, going out too much, TV, internet, work, lack of sleep, money, you name it? Did you notice the key words in this question: “Has Power over you” ? You are a smart, capable being. Things like these shouldn’t hold power over you, but rather vice versa. To me, this is the self awareness aspect of Lent that forgoing such pleasures can help you achieve even if you aren’t religious. If you are religious, Lent can be a way to take your spirituality to a whole new level.

1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him

Matthew 4: 1-11

And from Mark 1:12-13 we have this reading:

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

From the Mark passage I just can’t help but relate Jesus’ time in the wilderness to some awesome Caveman experience long before Jesus even came along. A Caveman no doubt endured such hardships without food among the beasts and terrain of the wild. As to whether he had a spiritual epiphany out of such circumstances, I cannot say. Very likely, he was just very, very hungry. I would have to optimistically believe, however, that he had great faith in his skills and the abundance of the earth to eventually find food. I digress, though.

In the past I’ve given up coffee, sodas, alcohol, and some types of food, like sweets. Having adopted the paleo lifestyle, I don’t feel like there is much to give up anymore. Plus, I’ve got a wedding to attend right smack in the middle of lent that I have no intention of turning down a few glasses of Shiner Bock at. If I dig real deep though, I can find some things to give up that will bring me closer to enlightenment. I’d like to share these with you.

I will absolutely give up alcohol until the wedding night. I will give up coffee or any caffeinated beverage until the honeymoon. For the full 40 days, I will forego ice cream and Tex-Mex, two foods I never gave up after switching to Paleo. I will try as absolutely as hard as I can to limit internet usage to work and blog posts. I will keep my house absolutely spic and span. (bet you didn’t think about giving up clutter, did you?) I will not buy one single thing for any of my bikes. If something breaks, oh well, I’ve got another bike. I will not turn on the heater at my house. I normally don’t run any kind of heat or AC anyways, but it has been a cold winter and I have enjoyed the comfort of my gas heater. No more though. I can sure as heck go without heat for 40 days at this latitude if Jesus went 40 days without food. I absolutely will not consume any food product that is derived from a grain or contains a sweetener. I was pretty disciplined about this leading up to the 12 hour race, but might eat tacos with corn tortillas, or tortilla chips, or a rare soda once in a while. No such tolerance this time. Fruit, veggies, nuts, meat, and water. That’s seriously going to be it.

If you’ve ever wondered why lent last 40 days, check out this Crossroads Initiative article… All these “forties” are a necessary and not-so-comfortable prelude for something new. I’m looking forward to my “something new” in forty days, I hope you are too.

To your success,
Caveman

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Joe permalink
    March 1, 2010 7:36 pm

    “What is some such habit that holds power over you?”
    Excellent point Greg.
    Recognizing this brings self awareness.
    Thanks for the inspiration….

    Joe Mink

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