The Weight of the Cross

We might be considered a bunch of masochists for confessing to favouring the season of Lent above all others, but for many of us Lent comes at precisely the right time. Knowing that I need a selfless Lent, I would like to say that I embrace this annual spiritual detox but I’m basically just a big wimp about it actually.

Though it is indeed one of my favourite seasons, I don’t embrace it so much as resign myself to it.

Or rather, let me clarify.

The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

Now I know that Lent isn’t all about fasting and that in turn fasting doesn’t have to be primarily about fasting from foodstuffs. But for me certainly some part of my Lenten journey really SHOULD be about fasting, and yes, particularly from food.

Having had a long term abusive relationship with food, trying to reign in my compulsion to overeat is a gargantuam task because as horrid as this is for me to admit, overeating is a passtime that I have indulged in for the last 25 years of my life (even when I have been underweight) …food delights and disgusts me all at once. I can’t recall ever having a normal relationship with it. I know that this confession may repulse you. I repulse me too. That’s a part of the problem I suppose.

You’d think that someone with some semblence of brain activity could figure out how to rid herself of something that has cursed her life for so long, but as yet, I have not been able to rid myself of the burden of my disordered state.

I am aware that my compulsion to eat disguises, rather unsuccessfully as it happens, underlying problems and areas of weakness and yet still I allow it to sabotage so much that is good in my life.

As with any addiction, a part of the addict is afraid of not being able to cope without the source of it’s addiction. With most addicitons one can remove the source of temptation, but I can not remove food altogether, I have to continue to eat to live, and therefore I have to alter the way in which I think about food in order that I may continue to live.This crutch on which I lean, this legal, though immoral and reprehensible addiction, this sin that is gluttony..has been a reliable enemy and aly for a quarter of a century. It’s a relationship of sorts and I don’t do break-ups very well. So yes I’m scared about making a committment. It’s easier to go and stuff my face and forget I ever thought of facing the daunting task of ‘change’.

Perhaps I’m being too ambitious and it is just too big a lenten deal for me to wrestle with but my challenge will be to live Lent sticking to a daily calorie controlled food intake.

It may not sound like much of a big deal to a non-food addict, but I tell you, like me, this is huge. Considering I don’t do ‘normal’ in any aspect of my life, I expect that eating a normal intake of food each day is going to be quite the right weight of cross I’m in need of carrying.

To this end then, I’ve done a little research online and I’ve found various resources that would would assist me in minimising what I consume via my keeping some kind of record of food consumption and thereby reinforcing the accountablity element that I have found can work for me in the past (for an albeit too fleeting time some years back) but the problem with most sites I have come across is that they charge a lot of money to use them and that would eat further into my overdraft if I were to use them.

I’d all but given up finding a way to start this, but then I found somewhere online that can assist me in this endeavour and I don’t have to pay a penny for the service. It’s a full feature service too so I have no hesisation in recommending them.

This journey to Easter and beyond isn’t so much about weight loss for me, though at my weight that will most certainly be a bonus. This is more about my sacrificing the safety-net of my addiction and letting Jesus be my safety-net instead.

I feel hurt and vulnerable right now and I have turned away from the Lord in many ways. I feel like I’ve been wandering in the desert for the past 6 weeks and it isn’t even Ash Wednesday yet. My soul should hunger for God not for more and more food to placate my troubled soul, but instead of filling the gaping holes of my life with the source of all good, I fill the gaping hole of my mouth with food. It’s time of me to try a little self sacrifice. I’ve been avoiding it for half a century after all.

If you want to know more about how I’m doing along the way you can read my posts here – sporadic though they may be.

Thanks for reading.

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4 Responses to The Weight of the Cross

  1. Owen says:

    I have given up so much in the past nine years and especially since August of 05 that I am not much in the mood to give up anything more. I told that to my Confessor today. I don’t see it as sinful or bad in any way. I am weary inside. I can’t see how giving up this or that is going to do much for me or for the Communion of Saints this year. No. So, if Lent is about healing, and wholeness, getting ones house back in order (sacrifice being one means to those ends) then what I am going to do is add not subtract.

    Yes. I am going to add one journal to my next 40 days, a gratitude journal. Every day I will write and I will also write at least one note of gratitude.

    Yes. I am going to be engaged in some kind of art making each day for the next 40 days. It doesn’t have to be much but it must be something.

    I am hungry for God. I believe some of that hunger is the source of my weariness though that is not all that makes me weary. Sacrifice is all I’ve done, one way or another, for the past eight years. It’s time to feed my hunger for God in feeding the gifts that he has given me, in no neglecting them.

    I will be away from the blogosphere but to look in on five friends. You are one of them.

    P.S. I seriously thought about posting my Lent-art but have decided against it because I would easily surcome to performing for others and by extension seeking their approval or attention. While at some later time the art made during this period may will be shown to others, if this is really going to be about my spiritual health and my love for Christ then the art needs to be for an audience for one.

    P.P.S. Forgive me for using your combox as a place to think out loud.

    P.P.P.S. Don’t know what you did about the private blog to discuss the other matter but I hope it ultimately goes well for you and do know my best thoughts are with you in all of that.

  2. Alexa says:

    Oh Deb. You are so NOT alone with the food issue.

    I usually go overboard for Lent. This year I’ve just decided to cut out sweets/desserts and eat simply. I already cleared it with my husband – he’s agreed to have simple soups and bread. We aren’t going to travel and/or eat out during Lent. Anywhere. We tried that last year and wasn’t all that successful with it – but we are determined this year.

    I want to try to keep my eyes open for opportunities for acts of charity too.

    And teaching my son about Lent. He’s going to be making his First Holy Communion this year – so this is his first serious Lent. He’s giving up chocolate and cookies.

    Love is a sacrifice I think. And to Love oneself means to sacrifice just as much as sacrificing for someone else we love.

    I believe by sacrificing what your usual food intake/day is for something less is an act of loving yourself. In that, I think you will draw not only closer to God – but have an inner understanding more of Where His Love comes from by Easter.

    God bless you dearie.

  3. ukok says:

    Owen, you are a much valued friend, and you know that I always embrace your sharing with me as i would the sharings of my own brother.

    I can appreciate the adding to and not subtracting. Making use of the gifts that the Lord has blessed you with, using them is a thanksgiving to God…I need to swallow that pill myself. For what he has given us he has given us not to lay dormant or to squander. How can our gifts bear fruit if we do not nurture them as a gardener feeds and waters his fruits and flowers, so must we if they are to become what they have the potential to be, whether for our own wellbeing, or for the wellbeing and enjoyment of others.

    Please know that you and yours are in my prayers.

    (((sisterly hug)))


    I didn’t think it would be Roc’s First Holy Communion this year, he seems so young (hark at me, I’ve never even met him!) I just feel that when we share this journey of our families llives, we all become so familiar to oneanother don’t we?

    Good for you for opting to not eat out throughout Lent, and giving up the desserts. I knew you would understand about my foody issues and thanks for your great insight about how my sacrifice will be an act of loving myself. That’s quite true and I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Thank you for your support my friend.


  4. im_confuse says:

    Lent is here again and same question is lingering in my mind about this church calendar. Why is it lent start in the months of March or April? Did Jesus really died on Friday afternoon? If it was, how come His birth is always December 25, no matter what day it is? I cant see the logic between his birth and his death.

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