As I walked into Ash Wednesday service, I thought I already knew what I would sacrifice for Lent. I had decided I would wake up 20 minutes early and do a Bible reading every day. I felt making that commitment each day would be a worthy sacrifice and would definitely help me prepare my heart and mind to get closer to God and get ready for Easter and Jesus’s resurrection. However, about mid-way through the service, Pastor Chris started saying how important it is to give up your “fleshy” desires to get aligned with God’s plan for your life.
What are your fleshy desires? According to Galatians 5:17, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
All of a sudden as I was sitting there, it started weighing on me… I felt I needed to change my sacrifice for one of my fleshly desires. God put it on my heart that I needed to give up drinking for 40 days instead. In my head, I was like, “No way can I do this; I don’t want to do this!” However, God was speaking to me even louder telling me I needed to stop drinking for 40 days.
I don’t necessarily have a problem with drinking, but I do indulge 1- 2 times per week and it definitely clouds my judgement and emotions somewhat. I’m also tired and not as clear the day after. I thought, “Ok God, if this is what you want, I’m in.”
It’s been a week since Ash Wednesday when I changed my sacrifice for Lent, and I have to say, I already have had a TON of clarity in various areas of my life. I feel like I’m stronger and more assertive in telling people no. I also feel that certain areas I’ve been struggling in for a while are starting to work out.
Before, I used to struggle when my ex-boyfriend would call me when he was lonely and wanted to hang out. Now I’m finally saying no and putting up boundaries! My mom has made some terrible choices, despite her loving nature, and recently I’ve been able to speak with her and give her a healthy reality check. I also hosted a “Women Makers Panel Discussion” at work and was featured on Cherry Bombe’s social media, the largest publication of women in the food industry. Then I was thanked by one of my bosses on a global call for my work on a project I did.
It’s only been a week, but I feel so much more aligned with God’s plan for my life. Simply making the decision to follow God into what He was asking me to do has given me strength and discernment to follow Him in so many other areas.
Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
During this season of Lent, I encourage you to also use this time to get closer to God and seek His plan for your life. God wants the best for our lives and for us to seek His will especially as we prepare of our hearts for Easter. It may not be easy to give up your “fleshy” desires but in the long run it will pay off.
Roman 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”.