Tuesday, March 4, 2014

the one thing you could NEVER do

I love bagels.
And pasta.
And fresh-baked bread with butter melting on it...is your mouth watering yet?
This time last year I had several friends who had gone over to the dark side...you know what I'm talking about...gluten-free {gasp!}.

On more than one occasion I said to myself - I could NEVER do that.

I was eating bagels almost every morning.
I was cooking pasta at least a couple of times a week.  
My trips to the bakery were frequent and deliciously wonderful. 

Then in October 2013 our 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with not one, but TWO, auto-immune disorders.  As I began searching for ways to heal her little immune system one thing was recommended over and over again - changing to a gluten-free diet...
...and so we did.

All of a sudden the one thing I thought I could NEVER do...I was doing.
It was hard.  
I'm not gonna lie...at first I felt some cravings so strong they led to grief over not being able to slather cream cheese on that thick toasted piece of goodness.  And it was a challenge to re-order our lives without some of the food that had been central to our diet.  I had to learn new recipes and try different things.

But do you know what?  I learned something really important in our shift to a gluten-free diet.
Bagels are not as important as I thought they were.

What's the one thing that you think you could NEVER do?
The one thing that would be too hard to give up?
The one thing that you can't imagine making it through the week without?

What if you did?

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.
As the redeemed people of Christ it is the day that marks the beginning of our slow, deliberate walk to the cross and the resurrection alongside our Savior.
In 41 days we will celebrate Easter not because chocolate bunnies are tasty or because it will be socially acceptable to wear white again in the South...no...
We will celebrate because it is the day we remember that our God did something many thought could NEVER be done...He conquered death to give us everlasting life.

If you have never practiced the spiritual discipline of fasting maybe this is a good time to give it a try.
Not because it is required of you.
Not because it is evidence that you are strong.
Not because it will earn you extra points with God.
Not because everybody's doing it.

Instead maybe, just maybe, your heart and mind will be transformed by the truth that the one thing you thought you could NEVER do is actually possible.  
And maybe, just maybe, you will find that in your weakness the Spirit of God in you is made stronger.
And maybe, just maybe, you will watch as right before your very eyes that one thing becomes less important and the One who gave his very life that you might live becomes more important.

In light of His sacrifice, what might we sacrifice?
In hopes of drawing closer to Him, what might we walk farther away from?

Whatever you choose - 
chocolate, t.v., social media, Starbucks, shopping, your favorite coffee creamer that you just can't imagine life without...
whatever it is...
It's not about that one thing and what you are doing or not doing about it.
It's about what God will do in it's absence.
Happy Lent friends!

{Fasting is the #NCCfaithchallenge we are focusing on as a community at New Charlotte Church this month.  Will you join us as we continue to take steps to grow our faith?  Would you choose one thing to sacrifice these 40 days?}

2 comments:

Sabra Penley said...

You know that email sitting in your inbox...the one you want to read but haven't had time? The one that you know will have a message for you from God? THIS blog post was that email for me! I finally read this today--March 7th. And wow! What perfect timing! (Why do I expect any less from God!) I don't know exactly what God wants me to give up (but I have a good idea). I am going to pray this through this weekend. And, I am going to take the time to listen to your message at your church (which I started before, but didn't finish). I was reading Jeremiah 7-11 this morning. Much about choosing my own desires--idols. God is convicting me. He has used your words this morning, Elizabeth, to encourage me to move beyond hearing the Word and into doing the Word. Thank you!

elizabeth said...

oh sabra...I just love it when he does that...such tenderness. thank you for sharing! praying your time of sacrifice will give you so much more than you are giving up. I hope you'll link up for first Friday finds to share what you are learning in Gods word...I always love hearing from you!