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confessions | I've come a long way

I didn't grow up in a church that celebrated Lent. The only knowledge I had of the practice was seeing my Catholic friends with ashes on their heads or hearing people say they couldn't eat ____ or watch ____ for forty days. I'd always yearned for traditions like those of the Jewish community or those from different Christian denominations. So in college when my pastor spoke on Lent I was all ears.

Finally someone had extended the right to me to do something that mattered and to give something of myself for my faith. I started small, no sweet tea, but even through that small submission God was able to do big things in my heart.

At the time I worked at a restaurant and we had these little cone shaped cups so we could take shots of water, soda, or tea during our shift. For me saying no to sweet tea wasn't a few times a day with meals thing but rather a few times an hour during a shift thing. Sometimes I forgot and I would spit the tea out so quickly you would've thought it was poison. Those were the easy times.

The hard times were when my coworkers would bring me cones in an attempt to be nice. I didn't know how to explain the why so I discreetly threw them away. Eventually people noticed and I had to give an answer. Talking openly to my coworkers about my faith caused me to reexamine my life. I knew I couldn't say I believed one thing and not live it out.

The decision to give up something as small as sweet tea made a tiny bit more room for God in my heart. That was all He needed to open my eyes to areas in my life that were not pleasing to Him. Maybe you're like I was and no one has ever extended the invitation to you to give of yourself in order to get more of Jesus. This is your invitation.

Maybe you're burnt out on tradition and have been fasting so many years you've forgotten why. Remember back to the time in your life when it was an honor to be included. That's what this season is about. Understanding the undeserved honor we've been given by being welcomed into the Family, as equals, through Christ's sacrifice and resurrection. That's no small thing.