In case you missed all of the facebook status updates, Lent starts today. I’m not exactly religious, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I understand about the concept of Lent, it isn’t supposed to be about dieting. Yes, I understand that Jesus went without food for 40 days, so I see where the connection between giving up a food and becoming closer to God could be made. However, I don’t feel like anyone that I know actually sees it this way. Just from listening to people around me, I have ALWAYS associated Lent with giving up candy or soda or chocolate or something that society has labeled as a “bad” food. I understand that you’re supposed to give up something that you like, and that most people like dessert. But I legitimately enjoy broccoli, and I have never, ever heard of anyone giving up broccoli for Lent. I’m just saying.
It just is interesting to me that every single person seems to cut out foods that would be cut out of your diet if you were dieting. Like the ulterior motive is to become closer to God, BUT to lose five pounds while doing so. I just don’t feel like anyone actually thinks of Lent as being about God except for like the first few days.
I’ve seen so many status updates today about how people are “giving up junk food” for 40 days and will be “going to the gym.” Is that how Lent works? Because maybe I don’t understand this correctly, but unless you spend your gym time praying, you’re probably not a whole lot closer to God.
I had a great conversation with a friend this morning and she told me that instead of giving something up for Lent, she tries to do something to help others. I think that’s such a great idea. Or maybe instead of giving up cookies, give up some of your free time and spend an extra 15 minutes every day devoting your time to God. Again, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong because I could be misinterpreting the entire thing. But I went to a Christian school for a good while, so I don’t exactly think I’m being completely ridiculous. I could be wrong though. And I’m absolutely not telling people that they are “wrong” about their religion. I love freedom of religion. Do what you want as long as you aren’t hurting others. I just feel like the point is being missed a little bit.
And I’m not bashing on religious fasting. People do that, and that is totally their business. And I understand the purpose that it is meant to serve. But religious fasting should probably not also serve as a weight loss tool. If it’s doubling as both, I’m not going to take you seriously about your devotion to your religion. This need to diet is so engrained in our brains that it is interrupting something that people consider as important as religion.
*also, I’m just going to throw this out there because I’ve had several people mention to me that they’d love to leave comments. You can leave a comment on here even if you don’t have a blog! All you should need is your email address.