We all have vices. That go to thing that we indulge in to get through a hard point in our day, week, life. Some times we use that vice to numb our emotions and check out from the world, because let’s be real, it doesn’t matter who you are life is hard. Sometime you need to have that little bit of something to boost you through the rest of your day or that something that allows you to check out for a brief time. There is nothing wrong with any of this until it starts interfering with your quality of life.
I have been discussing core beliefs and values a lot recently in my world. One thing that has come to light through research and discussions is that our core beliefs that we say we have most often don’t line up with what our true core beliefs are.
I know one of my core beliefs is my faith and relationship with Christ. I also know that I often put my faith on the back burner and pick it up when it is convenient for me. It is always on my mind and I profess that I am a Christian but I often struggle to live in my faith. But I am always looking for ways to build my relationship with Christ.
Forty-six days ago, I was listening to a Christian radio station, it was Ash Wednesday and they were talking about Lent and the purpose of Lent. The DJ talked about giving up something for Lent as a sacrifice for your relationship with Christ. He talked about using it as a time to prepare for Holy Week and for the Good Friday when Christ was crucified on the Cross for our sins. As I listened, I decided I wanted to give up something for Lent and decided to give up soda and alcohol. I didn’t realize at the time but when you are fasting for Lent Sunday’s aren’t included or can be optional, so the actual fasting time for Lent is 46 days.
I didn’t realize when I decided to participate in Lent and give up soda and alcohol, we were on the verge of a pandemic and we would be quarantined to our homes, have shelter in place orders, and be highly encouraged to practice social distancing.
Although these haven’t been the hardest 46 days of my life, I defiantly have noticed I haven’t had my caffeine pick me up to get me through the afternoon, or my mind-numbing drink when it has been an exceptionally rough day at work. I have learned a lot about my self during this time and gained insight into my core beliefs and my Christian walk.
One of the first things I learned is how there can be pride and arrogance tied with even things we think are positive and healthy in our lives. I started out focused on only drinking 1 cup of coffee and then drinking only water. After about a week I had to take a step back a reflect on what my whole purpose of participating in Lent was. Was it to be prideful and show that I could stick to it and complete what I said I would do? Or was it so I could grow in my relationship with Christ. After that reflection I decided to allow myself to drink lemonade and flavored water.
There were many times throughout the past 46 days I have really wanted a pick me up in the middle of the afternoon, or a nice relaxing drink with my dinner. As I have gone through this time when I have had the thought or desire for a Dr. Pepper or a drink, I have stopped and had a conversation with God instead. I realized that my help in times of struggle through out my day was coming from my caffeine fix or from that drink at the end of the day. I have other vices, my phone, Facebook, shopping, games, tv.
Lent has made me more aware of the things that I do to escape my world and the stressors around me, they are my first go to. In reality Christ should be my first go to. When I am tired in my day, I should say a quick prayer to God and ask for strength. When I have had a rough day, I should be laying my burdens at his feet in prayer.
I will be honest in my human and sinful nature I am looking forward to enjoying a Dr. Pepper and having an alcohol beverage again. I think there is a time and place for the mind-numbing vices in our lives as long as they aren’t negatively affecting our quality of life and our relationships.
The biggest thing I have learned from the past 46 days is my help needs to come first from my Savior. If I call on Him, I have a sense of peace and calmness that I didn’t have before. It doesn’t mean my problems are solved or all the pieces fall into place, but I know I am not facing the struggles in my life alone. I have the Creator of the Universe on my side and if He is with me, then I can conquer anything.
I’m Just a Small-Town Girl…Living in a world where God is my helper.