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Feb 2010

Reset Your Taste Buds

I haven’t had sugar since January 1.  Really just a random New’s Year resolution that came to mind when a friend asked everyone to say their resolutions at our New Year’s Eve party.  But I went home that night, ate 8 pieces of chocolate, and haven’t had any sugar since.  Not in desserts, not in bread, not in salad dressing, not in restaurant food to my knowledge (boy, that’s the toughest one.  Makes eating in restaurants really boring.)

I’m not doing this for Lent.  If I were, it would need to be much more intentional and worshipful than it has been.  But I feel like I’ve learned some things about myself that have made it a worthwhile experience.

  1. I like rules.  A lot.  Give me rules and boundaries and I feel free.  I don’t need the rest of the world to keep my rules- but I like the rules to constrain myself.
  2. Restrictions make me more creative.  When I have wanted something sweet, I have created recipes that I never would have tried without these restrictions.
  3. Even a temporary restriction needs company.  I am very thankful for the two women who have done this crazy sugar fast with me.  It’s nice to know someone else is giving it up too.
  4. The fast has changed my taste buds.  Ever tried cooking whole unsweetened cranberries in water with a cut up apple and a little bit of honey?  Man- it’s as sweet to me as you would imagine your grandma’s apple pie.

And where’s the gospel application here?  Honestly, it gets mixed up in my head.  Having a sugar fast save me is kind of like letting religion save me.  I wish eating were such an act of worship for me that I didn’t use it as a crutch for my boredom, depression, or lack of planning.  But at the same time, a temporary discipline can be useful for resetting the tastes and refreshing the palate in more ways than one.  I feel like my head is on straighter- like I can think clearer, look outside myself more, and listen for the whisper of God.

Lent can be like this too (and even better) when it’s celebrated in a spirit of worship.  Restrictions shouldn’t be rules to gain God’s approval; restrictions can clear our heads to think about and worship Jesus.  If you are following this path for the weeks leading up to Easter, let your temporary fasts make space in your soul for worship.  And be thankful- as I have been- for the fellowship of multitudes of believers who are also denying something right now while seeking to know Christ more.


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