Without thinking about it you reach for the jar of chunky bars, carefully unwrap the foil and take a bite. About half way through, you remember you’ve given up chocolate for the season of Lent. It was a way of pacifying your anxious moments. Years ago it served as a mere break. In fact you never even finished the entire bar. These days it has become a crutch for every moment you wish would simply go away but never seems to dissipate. Particularly on bad days, chunky bars don’t stand a chance.
The first time we seriously engage in a Lent, we don’t know if we are going to make it. We recognize that whatever it is that we have decided to sacrifice is something that has the potential to be abused by us. We not only want to let go of the cycle; we need to let go of the cycle. It’s so easy in life to hold on to some things far too tightly and convince our selves that they are necessary to survive. Yet, for fear of “missing out,” we forget that we can always walk away from the jar full of chunky bars, the fantastic shoe sale, or the ever popular collectible item that calls our name. The desire to let go indicates that something else is calling our name. A first sign of God’s grace is when we begin to replace the thought of “missing out”, with praise and thanksgiving for God’s strength to resist the temptation. The more time we give to praise, leaves less room for regret of missing out, as we build up the strength to let go of the things we don’t need.
So too in our spiritual journey, the tighter we hold on to feelings of regret, guilt and trespass; the harder it is to let go. Let us remind ourselves to let go of those past frustrations in the same way we let go of that chunky bar. Perhaps at first we won’t be successful but as we learn to hold to those things less tightly, we can take courage and realize that in spite of the setbacks, we survived! Give praise and thanksgiving and know that God has already forgiven us. As we grow, no longer will we desire or need to listen to the “chunky bars” in life, because we are listening for the higher calling and we are free to continue to live into his eternal grace.