I’m so happy to share my friend, Sarah Geringer’s words with you on this #ThirdThursday. God is doing some great things through her lately and I’m thrilled to share some of what He’s teaching her on wellness during Lent…
Do you sacrifice anything for the Lenten season?
I grew up in a tradition of observing Lent as a time of sober contemplation and confession. Yet I didn’t grow up in a tradition of fasting at any time, Lent included.
This year is the first time I’ve given up something for Lent. While writing my new book, The Fruitful Life, in February, the Holy Spirit convicted me when I wrote the chapter on self-control. He showed me my all-out addiction to sweets and how it blocks my spiritual growth. He encouraged me to give sugar up this Lenten season so I could experience new blessings.
On Ash Wednesday, I began my sugar-free journey. It’s been a week now as of this writing, and here are five lessons I’ve gained by fasting for spiritual wellness.
- Fasting increases mindfulness.
I have mindlessly developed sugar habits over the years. Honey in my morning tea. A sweet thing for breakfast. Sugar after every meal. Now that I’m depriving myself of sugar, I’m more mindful of my unhealthy habits. I replace my cravings with prayer, and in doing so, I already feel closer to God since I’m conversing with him more frequently throughout the day. With God’s help, I’m learning to bear the fruit of self-control by strengthening my “No” muscle.
- Fasting exposes hidden sins.
A few days right before my fast, I put my cravings to the test. After a bowl of vegetable soup, my craving for chocolate became so intense, I greedily shoved some candy in my mouth. I felt soothed for one brief moment. Then I was shocked by my greed, selfishness, and lack of faith. Those sins were closer to the surface than I ever realized before. This fast has exposed other areas besides sugar addiction from which I need to repent.
- Fasting cleanses the palate.
During this fast I have deprived myself of obvious sweets, but not natural sugars. I’m eating more fruit, which satisfies my sweet cravings in a nutritious way. Strawberries taste sweeter now without added sugar. Apples and oranges are more appealing and nuanced than before. Bananas have layers of flavor I hadn’t previously noticed. Sugar was masking the beauty of natural sweetness. In the same way, habitual sins cover up the good life available to me through a closer walk with God.
- Fasting creates spiritual momentum.
Since I’ve given up sugar and survived, not even craving it as much as I used to, I’m trying to slowly cut back on dairy and gluten as well. I’ve gained so much freedom from sugar in one week, I’m willing to risk more to gain more freedom. I feel the same about other sins. I’m inspired to tackle my habitual sins of gossip, laziness, and negativity now that my sugar addiction has been brought under control.
- Fasting leads to greater faith.
God has many more lessons for me over the course of this Lenten season. Through this fast, He’s taught me to trust Him more, nurture a hopeful spirit, and hold an abundance mindset. He is crafting me into a more positive, peaceful Christian through this fast. I can’t wait to see what other lessons God will teach me in the weeks before Easter.
Questions for reflection:
Have you ever fasted? If so, what spiritual lessons did you learn? If not, what may you gain spiritually from trying a short-term fast?
What is God prompting you to give up for spiritual wellness this Lenten season?
Sarah Geringer is the author of three self-published books and a memoir. She blogs five days a week at sarahgeringer.com and is a recent winner in the Fear Fighting Writers Contest. Sarah lives in her beloved home state of Missouri with her husband and three children.