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I like sweets. I don’t think I’m addicted to them but I really, really like them. I have a candy dish on my desk at work which contains a variety of hard candies. I find myself sucking on a butterscotch or cinnamon candy disk a couple of times a day…probably more from habit than need. I also like my friend Ellie’s desserts. Recently she made this awesome Snickers peanut butter brownie cake that was amazing…and I’m pretty sure I ate most of it. So for Lent I’m choosing to give up white sugar (and products) and candy.  I’m not Catholic and I don’t have any affiliation with a denomination which observes fasting as part of their Lenten practices. But I am fasting for the next 40 days. But one day into my fast, I’m feeling a little bit guilty. No – I didn’t cheat. No midnight candy binges. No intense cravings for chocolate. But how much of a sacrifice am I really making? And what is the point?

Fasting for Lent

Traditionally the purpose of Lent is a time of preparation.  Through prayer, penance, repentance, alms giving, atonement and self-denial, a believer prepares himself for the observance of Holy Week and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.

There is really nothing theologically that I disagree with in regards to preparing myself for the greatest day on any Christian’s calendar. Instead of the over-indulgence of the Christmas season, the pre-Easter season of Lent concentrates on self-denial, giving up for 40 days what I may feel is important or essential to my life.

I’ve never really spent much time pondering all the ramifications but this year I felt led to “give up” something. The more I think about this, the more silly I find it. I seriously believe that white sugar and candy are essential?

Honestly, I probably chose as I did because it was very doable and not very tough.  I could have chosen coffee but egads! That would have really hurt. I could have chosen meat (like my Catholic elementary school friends had to) but, you know, I really like meat. And though I enjoy fish and eggs, 40 days is a long time without a hamburger, or spaghetti, or chicken enchiladas.

I’m so thankful Jesus was willing to sacrifice the really tough stuff – HIS LIFE – for me. Makes my choices seem pretty silly in comparison. While I turn my nose up to cupcakes, fudge, cookies and Dove chocolates, Jesus turned himself over to crowds who jeer him, guards who beat him and soldiers/politicians who nail His hands and feet to a cross and kill him. Jesus chose death so that I could choose to fast candy. I’m pathetic.

So one day into my fast I’ve made a decision. I’m going to keep my commitment but I’m also going to spend more time with the other aspects of Lent – the prayer, alms giving, and repentance parts. It’s the very least I can do.

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