Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Thursday

10

March 2011

16

COMMENTS

Lent is for Losing Weight

Written by , Posted in faith, life, Uncategorized

In the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, I considered what I might give up to better open my heart to God. I rolled around ideas from Lenten seasons past, and one made me smile at its memory: A few years ago, I gave up sweets for the  full 40 days. I kept my fast religiously– I even refused the small mint offered at a restaurant. And I knew that the idea of the whole thing was to turn toward God hungry, but also– and mostly– I wanted to lose a little weight.

As I thought about what I might fast from this year, I noticed that a lot of people around me were planning to give up similar pleasures: desserts,  caffeine, alcohol. And as so often happens when I am people-watching, I saw something about myself.

The year I gave up sweets, and perhaps every year before and since, I was willing to make a bargain. I would agree to not eat dessert, and in exchange I would get to check a Christian duty off my list and lose a few pounds. A bargain, but not a sacrifice.

And this year it struck me that a bargain is not enough. It can make me feel better; it cannot make me better. To become better requires a sacrifice.

To become better– to become more focused on and in love with God– I can’t just take a pass on something I like a lot. I have to relinquish that which charms me most. Whatever makes me gasp, Surely not this! –this is the earthly thing most fiercely competing for heaven’s place. It’s what steals my attention so that I miss God’s whispers, enflames my heart so that I don’t seek His.

And this charm, I imagine it offers such happiness. But the more I hold on to it, the less I am free to take hold of God, and I am weighed down heavy with false treasure.

So for Lent, I want to give up this sweet thing and turn to God hungry, but also– and mostly– I want to lose a little weight.

  • http://journeytoepiphany.wordpress.com journeytoepiphany

    Thank you for your honesty! I think many people have experienced the same motives. Create in us clean hearts, Lord…

  • okiewife

    Oh dear Lord…the thing that charms me most? I just cannot give up twitter. Would You settle for second best, facebook?

  • http://messiahmom.wordpress.com kristinherdy

    this was a convicting piece, Tamara. I have given up fast food – not to lose weight, not to be healthy, but because I promised at the beginning of the year, that I would do something for the environment, that I would spend time having more organic conversations with my children and learning to do things for myself, so, I will be cooking more – putting more effort and love into the things I do. But, I’m still wondering if it’s a bargain or a sacrifice. It’s no shocker that I’ll probably save money during this 40 days.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      I think what you’re doing is great, and becoming healthier and saving money will be positive windfall. If you don’t feel a sacrifice from it– relinquishing something and turning to God in its absence– maybe you could keep your plan as a personal challenge but then find what it is that competes for God’s place in your heart and give that as your Lenten fast.

  • http://educlaytion.wordpress.com educlaytion

    Something tells me if I try to be funny here I’ll end up sounding irreverent and I’m not into that, so I’ll just say I love what you’re saying because I can relate to giving all kind of stuff over to God that I really don’t care that much about. Meanwhile, I secretly fear He’ll allow me to lose something I keep a steely grip on. Nice post.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.wordpress.com Tamara

      “I secretly fear He’ll allow me to lose something I keep a steely grip on.” I hear you on this, friend.

  • Stephanie

    After deliberation I decided to give up FB in the hours after school until my kids are in bed as to better focus on them. I hadn’t realized how often I run to the computer or pick up the ipod to check in and see what’s going on until the past two nights! I’m also praying my rosary daily and spending more time in the word. I love when Easter lasts more than one day!

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  • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com ChadJ

    I’m a person who’s had a lifelong love affair with carbs. I mean I seriously love ’em–sweets, soda, pasta–the starchier the better. Thus it is that I’m going “Low carb for Lent.” Sure, I hope to lose weight, but more importantly I want to be around when my kids reach marriage age, and beyond.

    I plan to continue the “Lenten Lifestyle” in perpetuity.

  • http://angeladigiovanni.com/ Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud

    I love this honest piece. I’ve often called myself out in similar situations… and I have to remind myself that it’s not really a sacrifice unless it hurts.

  • http://www.newlifecalu.com Kim Wilson

    Tamara, what a great post! I gave up sweets for Lent two different years… it was the main thing I couldn’t imagine having to live without. I shed a few pounds both times, so I understand what you’re saying. For me, it helped a little in my relationship with God, but I think I had more of the bargain mentality you were talking about. The way I was taught (and what I learned from those around me, which might not have been what they were trying to teach), Christianity’s a list of do’s and don’ts. I’m trying to break free of that because that’s not what it’s all about. It’s times like Lent that I remember my propensity to “do” all the right things, with less regard for what I am becoming or who I am in Christ. You’ve got me to thinking about it all again.

  • http://robshep.com Rob

    Great post. I hate that even when I try to do something for God I make it all about me. I don’t try to, but it happens.

  • http://christiannoob.wordpress.com The Christian Noob (n00b)

    I never thought of Lent like a way to lose weight, but I love the idea. 🙂

    It’s been a week into Lent and I’m still not sure what I’m going to give up this time around. Well at least for the time being, I’m trying my best to behave. 🙂

  • http://ironicmom.wordpress.com Ironic Mom

    Wow, you write beautifully.

    It is about relinquishment, isn’t it? This is something a recovering-control-freak like me has problems with, but something that’s also coming a bit easier as I age. I love the phrase “and turn to God hungry.” Indeed.

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