I am a huge fan of irony – I love observing it and get a kick from it. One of my favorite songs in high school was “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette, and I think part of the reason I enjoyed it so much was the irony that nothing in the song was actually ironic.
This morning I had that kind of experience. I got together with a friend for a long-overdue time to catch up, and while we ate delicious food, we talked about fasting. I think fasting is a beautiful practice and spiritual discipline, but one that I’ve rarely engaged in. Lutherans don’t tend to zero in on very many spiritual disciplines. I think it’s because it because too law-based at times. But engaging in something for the sake of our faith life, especially when it’s giving up something for a time, can be enormously beneficial.
Last year for Lent I gave something up for the first time in my life. I have always struggled with my smart phone and having games on it. Candy Crush is a weakness. Why do they make it so addictive? So I deleted EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. from my device. It was good to let go of that “escape” for a few weeks. I’m not sure I did a good job of connecting it to my spiritual life, which is the entire point of fasting. In fact, I think that’s part of why fasting hasn’t been much on my radar, because I don’t do well with feeling deprived/hungry/bored and turning my attention to what God is doing in my life.
This #40by40 journey continues to challenge me to change that. I’m recognizing rough areas of my life where God is working to refine me. And as I spend time with friends like I did this morning, I learn more about myself and ways I can continue to grow as a child of God. It’s not something I do to earn my salvation, but something I do because of my salvation. Each day I take a step to improve, living the life of sanctification that will not be finished until I am in heaven and sin is no more. How ironic, that I keep trying to do something all by myself that I can’t ever accomplish on my own. Thank You God for putting friends in my path to help me with this journey and remind me that You are Lord.