What did I learn this Lent? God called me to some bodily mortification and asked me to eat only one meal each day during Lent this year. As I reflected, I realized what He was teaching me. I learned tangible and practical ways to live His will in my daily life.
At the beginning of Lent, I knew it would be a challenge because of the amount of travel and speaking engagements I had booked. Every day I relied on God to figure out when I should eat. Should it be at the airport, the hotel or at the event? I prayed my way through my hunger pangs. I found myself calling on Him incessantly all day. I offered up my hunger and united it to Him on the Cross. I slowly began to like the feeling of hunger and emptiness in my formerly perpetually full stomach. I found my reliance on Him grow deeper every day through this sacrifice. I was able to pray my way through moments of temptation. I was walking hand in hand with God.
I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me (Phillipians 4:13).
Then came the quarantine and everything was cancelled. I was going deep in prayer and enjoying the change for a little while. I joined the world in seclusion and united myself in prayer with others in Mass online. I hungered for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that I took for granted each day. Praise be to God that I was able to continue with my weekly confession, as it turned out, I was going to need it.
The week before Holy Week, I began to fall – a lot. I was having difficulty praying and focusing on God. I was starving for the Eucharist and daily Mass. I found myself aimless and struggling to keep awake both spiritually and physically. I succumbed to my urges without pause and before I knew it, I devoured an entire row of Oreos in one sitting. The battle ensued and after I allowed these urges to dominate me, I felt guilt and shame. I poured my heart out in confession that week. Thank you, Jesus, for Your grace and love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
What Did I Learn?
without me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
God was always there, He never left me. Through my reflection, God showed me that I was the one who decided to live on my own. When those urges came, I gave into them instantly, I did not stop and turn to Him in my weakness. I did not cry out and use the power of Jesus Christ to renounce evil spirits taunting and distracting me away from God and prayer. I did not use every weapon He has given me in my daily spiritual battle. I was relying on myself and my own willpower. I was my own God.
the Lord alone guided them; no foreign God was with them (Deuteronomy: 32:12).
Sometimes I am a slow learner. Thank you, God, for being patient with me. I prayed my deliverance prayers and ran to God every moment an urge came my way. I fought my daily battle with every weapon and finished strong during Holy week. I am so grateful for your love and how you continue to teach me Your truth.
I need to be nothing. I need to wallow in my nothingness. God can do great things with nothing. Look at what He created out of nothing- the entire universe and me, His lowly creature.
I pray every morning for Him to strip me of my pride, my attachments, and my will. I pray that I get out of His way and to allow His work to be done in me.
What Else is God Teaching Me?
the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phillipians 1:6).
This Easter Season, God is starting a new lesson. He is telling me to master my body in a different way. He put this on my heart in prayer, “I not only want you to master your body with food and drink but also with exercise.”
This will be a hard lesson. Exercise and I are not the best of friends. I have looked at exercise as a punishment my entire life because it was always associated with losing weight. My lifelong battle of the bulge. Diet and exercise were self-imposed punishments and torture for the sole reason for me to look like what the culture said I should look like. I must be thin and attractive to others.
God is teaching me a new way – the right way. A spiritual way to look at my body that has nothing to do with how I look to the world. He is showing me how He sees my body as a gift He gave to His beloved child.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19).
My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I want Him to possess me and I need to create the best place for Him to rest. St. Paul tells us that we are not our own. We were paid for at a great price and I owe it to God to take care of what He has given me. He is teaching me that exercise will be fruitful. He will transform exercise from punishment to love of Him if I allow it. I see the lesson already, maybe I am not such a slow learner after all.
Lord, you have taught me well, that I can do anything with You and in my weakness … and laziness … Your strength will empower me. I will be a healthier witness to Your truth and I will overflow with Your joy and zeal. I surrender, Lord- Your will be done.
to Him be dominion forever. Amen (1 Peter 5:11).
What is God calling you to this Easter Season? It is a season of renewal. Take some time to reflect, with God, and listen closely to where He is leading you next. We are all called to a renewed spirit, mind, body and soul. We can do anything with God. Have a blessed and inspired day!