Chocolate and Other Habits
Remember the wonderful works God has done: the miracles, the judgments uttered, the word commanded, the covenant kept. – Psalm 105:5, 8
Two weeks into Lent, how are you doing? How are those Lenten practices that you planned to observe faithfully? The chocolate and sugars you swore off, the alcohol you decided to abstain from, the meditative silence you intended to observe for twenty minutes each morning, the handwritten thank-you notes you were going to write each day to foster a spirit of gratitude. Still going strong?
No shame if they’re not.
But also, no kudos if they are.
Of course, it’s fabulous if your Lenten spiritual discipline has revealed deep meaning and has taken hold in life-giving habitual ways. Seriously, I don’t “give up” for Lent for the same reason that I don’t make resolutions for the New Year—it doesn’t ignite my soul with anything but guilt—so I’m delighted if your Lenten discipline is feeding your spirit.
But no kudos and gold stars for you.
Because it’s not about your work in Lent.
It’s about God’s work in Lent. God’s miracles. God’s judgments. God’s promises. God’s breath and flesh on earth. God’s mystery and majesty in the heavens.
No matter if you’re experiencing stunning spiritual growth or if the no-chocolate thing has already flopped phenomenally, you can still focus your Lenten journey on the work that matters: God’s grace.
God, I’m already eating the chocolate eggs that I bought for Easter. Remind me that calories are not the measure of this Lenten journey.
Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and Denial Is My Spiritual Practice, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.