Our rector spoke today about Ash Wednesday, the season of Lent, and why we celebrate by fasting and “giving up” something that we enjoy. In my previous observances of Lent, I have used this time as a method of creating reminders in my day. By choosing to do without something that I enjoy, I am faced with moments each day where I desire that thing, and in those moments I can instead turn my mind toward God and all that he has provided. And I believe that is an important part of lent. But our rector pointed out that this is not all we are doing.
Referring back to the Garden of Eden where God told Adam and Eve that they could partake of anything in the garden except the tree of life, the rector spoke of the limits that God places on our life. And how the original sin was not simply disobeying God (eating of the tree that He said not to eat of), but the sin was in trying to reach beyond the limits God had given. Trying to determine on our own what is best. Trying to be God. The mentality that I know better than God what is best for me and I want more than what He is allowing me to have. By placing limits in our life, God gives us opportunity to fast for His glory. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they broke their fast with God.
I have remained quiet on my blog for the last couple weeks because I have been struggling with being upset with God. Lessons that I had felt I had been learning and wanted to share were suddenly areas that I was once again failing terribly in. I was suddenly doubting God’s provision and love because He has imposed limits upon my life that I don’t want.
What I realized today is that God is God, I am not, and in setting limits He is not attempting to weaken me, but to strengthen and shape me toward what I am ideally suited for. I have been feeling distant from God, struggling to want to worship Him and glorify Him, not because He has failed in His promises, but because I have broken the fast. I have been reaching outside the limits He has given me because they are more constricting than I want.
For this season of Lent I have realized that what I give up is not important. He has given me everything I have to be used for His glory. Instead, gratefully accepting the limits that He has placed around my life right now and not constantly trying to contrive a means of escape but instead savoring every moment, that is my fast to God.