Today has been called Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the period of fifty days before Easter. As we’ve been in the beginning stages of our Lent Devotional for Women, we’ve considered this ‘Pre-Lent’ period for our preparations. And by preparations, I don’t mean buying all the Lent things. I mean preparing for the quiet, the stillness, the possibility of what may be revealed in a good soul cleaning. To me, this Sunday is the reminder that I need to begin thinking about how I’m going to control my appetites–materially, physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Let’s jump right into today’s Lent Devotional for Women.
Lent Devotional for Women: Controlling our Appetites
Appetites can be defined as, “A tendency, an inclination, or direction.” Using that definition, we can apply ‘appetites’ to anything and everything in our lives: how much we eat, sleep, play, spend, talk, etc. And sometimes I think we go into Lent with a hearty, “I’m giving up coffee,” yet we have no regard for our gossip appetite or our spending money appetite or our physical appetites of comfort and satisfaction.
Let’s just be honest ok, sometimes–as hard as it actually is–it’s easier to sacrifice our appetite for the coffee, pop, chocolate, etc. Yes, I know it’s hard and I know giving up some of those can produce real physical results and withdrawal symptoms. I also know we can say, “Boy, my head hurts today from giving up coffee for Lent,” and receive an empathetic response, for the most part. How’s this Lent Devotional for Women doing so far? Making us a little uncomfortable yet?
But what if we told someone we were really struggling with giving up our appetite for gossip? First, I don’t many of us who would openly admit such a fault. Second, no one uses the word ‘appetite’ to describe gossip; gluttony…yes, lust…maybe, spending money…another no just like gossip. And third, not many people will sympathize with our discomfort at giving up such a nasty habit as gossip.
But using our definition above, ‘appetite’ can absolutely apply to gossip and spending money. Appetite can also apply to laying in bed, hitting snooze repeatedly, complaining our food is too hot–cold–dry–moist–spicy–not spicy enough–too much or too little. All of the above examples are a part of our inclination or our natural tendency. But thanks be to God we can unearth those faults and get to work on them this Lent while reading our Lent Devotional for Women.
The first thing we need to do is examine ourselves, look for our natural appetites–ask God for His help in this process, “Lord, please show me, gently, my natural inclinations that You would like for me to work on this Lent.” I always add ‘gently’ to this prayer. I know He knows, but it makes me feel better to ask for it. And then be quiet. Listen, He will answer this prayer.
And once God shows us the faulty appetite He wants us to work on, ask Him how. I ask God so many questions it’s probably not even funny. The scriptures state He directs our paths, well, I want some clear directions then. The worst He can say is, “How about you spend a little more time in prayer and quiet to figure this out Jenny.”
Let’s say God does want us to give up our morning coffee appetite or our afternoon candy bar appetite. Knowing God like we do, He’s not going to leave our complaining or gossipping appetite alone this Lent. So as we’re praying about the types of sacrifices we may be leaning towards, consider the other appetites associated with it. Be careful with this though because it can turn into the biggest rabbit hole we’ll ever find and we’ll feel so overwhelmed we’ll just quit. We’ll walk away feeling like an utter failure.
Let’s look at an example. If I’m giving up Facebook for Lent, what appetites can be associated with the reasons I feel like I need to give up Facebook? Curiosity? So I need to be on guard for my curious appetite. Maybe I’m not scrolling Facebook, but what am I doing instead to satisfy my curiosity?
Maybe I decide to give up chocolate. What is the appetite behind my chocolate addiction? It may not be as straightforward as simply liking the taste of chocolate. Is the associated appetite boredom? If it is, instead of eating chocolate I might eat potato chips instead. Well, what have I really gained? Is this making sense?
Let’s look at gossiping. Do I gossip because I want to fit in? Look like I’m in the know? To make myself feel better? Pride…Pride…Pride. If I don’t recognize pride behind gossip, I may not stand around and gossip in the school pick up line, but I’ll replace it with something else.
Spend a little time asking God how He wants our Lent to go; what He thinks we can without or need to add to our daily life. And let’s ask for a clear understanding of the root cause behind the behavior we’re giving up.