I am reflecting this Ash Wednesday on the season of “Lent”. Today starts those 40 (or 46 if you count the Sundays) days that are so often considered a re-boot of flagging or failed attempts to kick-start new “healthy habits” (aka:
Diets Lifestyle Changes intended to garner lost weight) that were resolutely announced for New Years Resolutions.
However, rather than take this ancient season of fasting and spiritual reflection as another call to shrink your body; I’d offer up a few other suggestions. This Lenten season why not consider giving up The Fantasy of Being Thin? Make a pledge to lessen your Carbon Footprint? INCREASE the time/money/energy you commit to helping others? Feel free to share in comments alternate ideas might you have for things/actions to “give up” (or, in what I think is a more encouraging phrasing: “to give of”).
Forget making this time before Easter yet another reminder of the ways in which you consider your body to be a failure by taking on yet another calorie-restriction or food-denial or body-shrinking initiative. Talk a breath, reflect on how God created you in hir image, and find another option waiting there for you this season.
I have a distinct impression that God cares less about you pledging to refrain from eating chocolate than you’d like to think. You are free to disagree, of course, and may even now be saying “But April D! This is a season of Fasting! I’m SUPPOSED to diet!” I firmly argue that fasting, the restriction from meat and all the spirituality in the world don’t mean much if it is simply done with an eye towards a smaller body.
In a time when “46 days to Get That Bikini Body in Time for Summer” are gleefully encouraged, and that temptation to make Lent yet another kick-start of dieting habits revs up, I can’t help but think of this humble line: “Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” Genesis 3:19.
Your body is the wondrous shell in which your spirituality is contained. But that is all. No more, no less. It does not define who you are or the relationship you have with any higher beings you worship or wonder about. Don’t lose sight of that in the hustle and bustle of Lenten Dieting Initiatives.