“I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ and be found in him.” -Philippians 3:8
Barbara Brown Taylor writes, “In a culture of plenty I am impressed with anyone who decides to make it without anesthesia for a while–to give up whatever appliances or habits or substances they use to keep themselves from feeling what it really feels like to live the kind of lives they are living.” So what are you giving up for Lent? I heard a radio d.j. say he’s giving up Clausen pickles. Some of my family members are giving up various forms of sweets. I do a social media fast. Giving up something for Lent helps us to not be beholden to our wants. As in, “I want a pickle! I want ice cream! I want Facebook!” When we have chosen not to have something that usually fills our stomachs, or time, or attention, a void happens. And I can find myself thinking, “I am going to scream if I can’t have my _______!” When this happens, I know that I am where I can grow.
The void is not to be avoided. Oh it’s uncomfortable alright! And very good. At that moment I can turn to God and say, “Dear Jesus, here’s another spot that I’ve filled with something instead of with you. I’m drinking in you, filling myself with you, wanting to be closer to you.” It doesn’t mean my craving goes away. But the “void” moment is teaching me that I don’t have to act on what I want in the moment.
We are surrounded by the encouragement to fill ourselves with many, many things. Yet as an ancient church leader said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” Rest, friends. Rest!