Whether you collected beads at Mardi Gras or don't know what a King Cake is, .... Fat Tuesday has come and gone.. and today is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent. Regardless of your religious persuasion, I think Lent has become somewhat of a cultural event that many people of all faiths adopt or observe, while not necessarily attaching religious meaning to it. I think in this context, Lent is intended to rid our lives of the distractions or vices that keep us from being able to accomplish healthy goals or be effective. (Of course, in a different context, Lent is a time set aside for quiet reflection and contemplation to reflect on the Passion of the Christ- and in order to do so, we rid ourselves of the things that get in the way of us being able to do that. For more on this, check out an amazing post by Sharon Hodde Miller, a former roommate of mine here.) Anyways, some people give up facebook for Lent. Others give up coffee, others give up television. There are also those who give up certain foods. Some people give up meat, some people give up chocolate.
Please hear me when I say that if you choose to give up some kind of food for Lent, that is okay!!! I am not judging you:) But let me also throw something out there for consideration-- it is important to be aware of your motives! Is Lent just an easy way to mask a 40 day diet? When you give up a particular food because it is your 'vice', aren't you essentially saying its bad? I ask this question because I have heard much diet talk surrounding sacrifices for Lent- this year and in years past. I have had a few conversations with some high schoolers this week who have struggled with their peers giving up whole food groups, or fast food for Lent... and are hoping to lose weight as a result. If what you are doing seems more like a diet than an intentional time set aside to contemplate and reflect/work towards accomplishing goals in an undistracted, healthy way, then perhaps you might consider an alternative... Because you know the truth about diets... And if you don't, read this.