Lent begins tomorrow: a good time for reflection, humility, and commitment. I want to admit my pride. I haven't considered myself prideful because I haven't had much to be proud about over the last number of years. And yet, I'm realizing that much of my paralysis in living healthfully, much of my failures and seemingly endless re-commitments, have to do with my ego. My past identity as the athlete, student, and homecoming king (physical appearance and success); and as the nonprofit servant and leader (having the respect and admiration of other people) became idols, the Counterfeit Gods of Tim Keller's book. They may not have even become my idols until I began to lose them through depression and weight gain and drinking. But my nonacceptance and disdain for being unrespectable and overweight have kept me in this prolonged struggle. I did not experience sorrow for where I was or things that had happened... I experienced despair. And that comes from having an unhealthy relationship with what I had lost. I valued those things so much that without them my pride would not let me live in peace where I was. My despair caused me to not be available to God or to truly living.
So now, at the beginning of Lent, I commit not to losing weight, or having success, or gaining the respect of others, or even to being healthy. All these things can become counterfeit gods. I do choose to be at peace because of who God is and what He thinks of me. And I know that as I make myself available to Him, life will be abundant.
Today I did that by catching up with some work responsibilities, exercising at the gym, making time for reading and reflection, eating healthfully, and being in community with my men's group.