Wednesday 9 March 2011

Doing it for Jesus! Lent has Begun...

Well, today Lent has begun but I started my abstinence on Monday as that felt easier to get into the right mind set when I was feeling motivated and able.  I do not think God minds if I give an extra couple of days!

This year I have decided to give up all excess food, particularly anything that I turn to for comfort or release from anything I am feeling.  If you have read my blog for a while you will know that I have a real problem with food. I consider myself to be an addict and I have the disease of compulsive overeating.  Normal eaters can have a treat and then stop, people like me have no idea when to stop, the reflex just does not seem to be there and we keep going and going....  it is very sad really.

At the moment each time I feel any kind of emotion that steps away from the norm I want to eat:  happy and excited means it is time to treat myself, sad or angry then it is time to console myself. You get the picture?  When I feel these kinds of feelings what I should be doing it turning to God and praying.  Food is not the answer for me.  In the same way that drugs or drink are not the answer to many people.  I just cannot handle the excess food, it sends me into a spiral of feeling and looking fat, being unhealthy, getting down as I look bad and my clothes hardly fit and then eating to comfort and make myself feel better for a very short time before looking in the mirror or at a photo makes my unhappy again. It is a very dangerous downward spiral.

I have had this realisation for near on 2 years now that I have a problem.  I have been attending a weekly fellowship, 12 step meeting to try and get the help I need.  I have had periods of abstinence from eating compulsively but nothing sustained.  I keep focusing on the weight I have lost, which is a lovely thing to happen but the fat is just a symptom of my problems, not the actual problem itself.  It is only when I put the overeating to bed and eat to live in a healthy and moderate fashion that I will have the clarity of mind to discover what my real issues are..... and then to do something about them.  The weight loss is actually just a nice side-benefit.

So why is this time of abstinence any different to the others I have experienced over the last couple of years?  Firstly, my commitment to what foods I will stay away from this time is far wider than it ever has been before.  I have been scared before to say I will not have chocolate or such at all. I start to project and wonder how I will live my life without this drug but today I realise I just have to do this one day at a  time.  It is important to stay in the moment and not to project my worries and sabotage my own good efforts.

Secondly, this time I am not doing it for me (like I have with every past diet) or doing it for my kids (which is what the last 2 years have been about), I am doing it for Jesus.  My Saviour and the One I aspire to be like. I am very much human and being human means I am completely imperfect but I know that Jesus just wishes for me to try my very best and to pick myself up and keep on walking, one foot in front of the other.

I consider myself to be a baby Christian, I committed myself to walk with Christ back in 2002 and in many ways I have grown enormously and in others I know nothing but life is a journey and it is fun to learn and grow.  Last year was the first time I did anything for Lent and really started to understand the significance of what this time is about.  When I gave up blogging for the Lent period last year it was like my bindings had been undone, I felt so free and enjoyed the time.  It was hard at first as I my blog had become my confidant and close friend but it did not feel anywhere near as hard as this year's forsaking of comfort food will feel. Blogging was a habit of 1 year that I conquered, overeating is a habit of at least 27 years that I need to hand over to God and pray to get a handle on.

Whilst I know the next 46 days will be hard for me, there is nothing wrong with that.  Hard work is good for the soul and is nothing I am scared of. I pray this Lent will be my most faithful time yet where I reflect, ponder, pray, repent of my ill-doing, give up my comfort foods as a measure towards fasting (one day I may feel I can actually do this), take time to be with God and activley try to follow Jesus example set in the wilderness.

Wish me luck....  and if you are a person of faith, I would love a prayer!

...and what about you?  Are you doing anything for Lent?