A Pastoral Word
As I write this, I am counting the days...the days until I can have an ice cold Coke again! You see, for Lent, I decided to give up soft drinks, ALL soft drinks.
Years ago, I decided to limit my “Coca-cola” habit to just one a day, at lunchtime. And then I realized that when I would go out to lunch, my one Coke would grow with each refill that the waitress gave me. I may have still had the one glass, but it was refilled a couple of times. And then I realized that I would have Sprite for dinner, thinking, “Well, this isn’t a Coke, so it is okay for me to have it.”
And I would hear the report of how soft drinks were not good for you...yada, yada,yada...That was the point that I would tune out because I would reason “Well, that is my only guilty pleasure. So really, how bad can they be? It is just one...”, conveniently forgetting, that my just one was for Cokes and didn’t apply to the other soft drinks that I might intake during the day.
So needless to say, when I told Mike what I was giving up for Lent this year, he needed some clarification. “Are you giving up just Coke or are you giving up ALL soft drinks? I think he was just trying to find out how he was going to live through the next 40 days.
For the first few days, I would catch myself reaching for the red can beckoning to me from the fridge. There is just nothing like an ice cold COKE when you are thirsty!! I had to stop and remind myself, Heather, just forty days. You can do this!!
As the days have gone by, I find myself reaching for the bottles of water in my fridge, and completely ignoring the neglected red can. I find that the caffeine headaches have disappeared. I find myself feeling more energized naturally without the extra boost of caffeine. I am discovering how much I relied on that red can in the past to give me the energy to make it through the day. And I am discovering the money that we are saving!! We can get 35 16 oz. bottled water for about the same price as 12 16oz. Cans.
As we continue our Lenten journey, we are given the opportunity to let go of the things that are holding us back or are simply not good for us. Our Lenten journey is a good time to do some spring cleaning for our souls. Are we keeping things in our “spiritual closet” that we have out grown and will never need again? Are we holding on to garments that we will never wear again all because we think that one day, we might need them again.
The lesson of our Lenten journey is that God is constantly doing a new thing. God is constantly clothing us with new garments of spiritual growth and discovery.
We can let go of the bell-bottoms and 80’s fluorescent shirts that are taking up room in our closets and make room for God’s grace, love and peace.
May your Lenten journey be full-filling and spirit-filled!