When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting but only to your Father who is unseen; and your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18
I'm not Catholic but I gave up something for Lent this year; sugar and pop (Diet Pepsi is my weakness). Once I indulge in sugar I can't seem to stop. I've learned these last few weeks that sugar is addictive! The pop was easier to give up than sugar. I've been trying to tell myself, if I get sugar cravings, to take them as a signal that I need to satisfy the needs of others rather than myself.
It was hard at first!! I thought I was going crazy craving sugar! I had to do something to keep my mind off cookies and desserts those first weeks. Sitting down reading a story or playing a game with my kids helped. I admit I've only "cheated" once. I was substitute teaching at a preschool on a day one of the children was celebrating their birthday. I did eat the cupcake because I knew it may break his heart not to eat the cupcake, he was so very proud of them! It was sickeningly sweet though. Eventually the sugar cravings have subsided, they aren't gone but they have become much more manageable.
I didn't tell anyone, other than my husband, I was giving up sugar. I didn't feel the need to share, or complain, to anyone about it. Complaining to others wasn't the point of my giving up sugar. Lent and giving up something isn't about living healthier or losing weight or something, but is about sacrificing something to help get in the mindset of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice leading up to Easter. None of us can ever really understand what Jesus sacrificed and the agony he was put through.
I'm not sure that I was expecting any reward by sacrificing sugar, I haven't gotten any skinnier that's for sure, but I have learned that life isn't all about me. There are so many others needs that should take priority over my selfishness.
Dear Father, Thank You for the season of Lent as a time of reflection and mindfulness of the sacrifices of Jesus. Thank You for allowing me to reflect on my daily life and make it more pleasing to You. Thank You for centering my thoughts on the most important needs in life. Amen.