Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Today is such a special day to me...it is Ash Wednesday!
As a Christian, the sort-of-natural thing to say to people is that my faith is a big part of who I am. But that's not really true. My faith in Jesus Christ MAKES me who I am. He defines me. My faith in and relationship with Him are the sources and catalysts of every action, word, and thought of my life...albeit imperfectly to my shame. I guess that's why Ash Wednesday means so very much to me.
You see, Ash Wednesday is about returning to what is most basic. Evaluation. Repentance. Reaffirmation. Renewal.
As Christians, we take this sacred opportunity to remember that old, yet powerful phrase which challenges you - requires you to pause and acknowledge who you are exactly - "From ashes you came, and to ashes you shall return." This life is temporary. Transient. We would like to convince ourselves otherwise. Nothing bad can happen to me. Life will always continue on. There's always tomorrow. I have plenty of time. It will all work out in the end....
The reality is, life is fragile, fleeting and precious. Our lives are a gift from God. To be cherished and appreciated - every day, with our words, thoughts...and our actions. Every aspect of our life. Our pastor reminded us tonight after marking the image of the cross in ashes on our foreheads and saying aloud, "Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust." - he whispered in each ear, "But eternal life is in Jesus Christ."
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. A time of preparation, fasting, and denying ourselves as we wait to observe the greatest and most important event in all of human history...the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The event that changed everything.
Our family always chooses one thing to "give up" during Lent. We try to make it one thing that we know could permanently leave our lives and we would be all the better for its absence. This season is particularly special to me. It's been a difficult year on many levels. But just like the promise of Spring after a harsh and weary Winter, hope is alive within me and I am excited about the possibilities of the next forty days!
In many ways, my weight-loss journey is very much tied to my journey as a Christian. Both have challenges, struggles, uncertainty and doubt. My thoughts and actions have significant impact on the outcomes. While victory is completely attainable - it is there for the taking; failure also looms close by...waiting to remind me of past mistakes and renew old insecurities. For lack of a better word, "success" is waiting, but I alone determine whether I will arrive there or not.
Will I live out the remainder of my time of earth as an overweight, unhealthy person? A person who falls short of the best that God wants for her life? Or will I discipline myself and reach the full potential that God Himself sees in me? I hope you're not misunderstanding me. God loves me just as I am. But honestly, the weight is only a symptom. A diet is a band-aid. Real healing takes work, every day. It is a journey. A lifestyle. And this life - this precious God-given life is worth giving it all that I have. Precious Jesus...please help me to do just that.
Love and Peace in Christ everyone! Sandie