And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Think it through
I feel like I should tell you that it’s not like me to be all, “Look at me, I’m giving up chocolate for Lent” on a blog. Or anywhere… at least I hope not! Though I usually tell my family what I’m giving up, I try not to talk about it a lot.
Let’s say that I’m going to an acquaintance’s house for dinner and she serves a beautiful chocolate dessert. There are two ways to go about not eating it. One way is to say, “Oh, it looks so good and I’d love to have it but I can’t, I gave it up for Lent…” with a put-upon sigh. Another way is to smile and say, “Oh, no thanks,” possibly adding an “I’m just stuffed” (only if I am, which I probably would be).
Which one would be the hypocrite way—the way that I would have received my attention? The first, of course. I know this.
So, why blog about it? To encourage you to join me. To share a little bit of the journey with you. You and me, keeping the smiles going.
Whether I’m in public, or at home with our family, or even just alone with Jesus, it can be hard to keep the smile as I surrender my sweet favorite. Sometimes it’s hard and it just stinks! I want it because it’s a special treat, it’s a habit… it’s right there and I’m craving it.
When I’m tempted to complain or fuss about giving something up for Lent, you know what image instantly comes to my mind? Christ walking to toward the cross. Here I am, fussing about surrendering chocolate for Him. He resolutely surrendered His life for me.
No matter what “favorite” we give up in this season, it’s such a teeny tiny sacrifice compared to the sacrifice of Jesus.
Live it like you mean it
When it comes to surrendering one of your favorite things, are you tempted to disfigure your face with a complaint, sigh, or fuss? Do you tell others how much you’re sacrificing… or even let yourself dwell on it with self-pity?
First, decide who you’re going to tell about giving up something for Lent, and who you’re not. Then, I’d love to encourage you to devise a Thought-Shot (a little phrase of Truth to counteract negative thinking) that will keep you from mourning what you’re missing.
My personal Lenten Thought-Shot has always been, “This is nothing compared to what Christ gave up.”
What’s yours going to be?
Lift it up
Lord Jesus, thank You for what You sacrificed for me. May my small surrender during this Lenten season be a refection of my thankful heart. Please help me to keep my thoughts, and the outer expressions of them, pure and pleasing to You. I love You so. Amen
Tell Me About It
Do you have a great Lenten Thought-Shot to share?
If you’d like to read more about Thought-Shots and clearing out anxiety (spiritual clutter!) with a little organization, check out my first book, Organizing You.
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