In the process we discover we can live without vices because God is all we need.
Many Christians choose to give up something food related, like snacks or desserts. How often do we turn to these indulgences to find comfort?
While we may feel satiated in the short term, the emptiness soon returns with a vengeance, and we have gained nothing but a few pounds.
Focusing on God when our sweet tooth calls out is the way to lasting peace and joy.
Since the turn of the 21st Century, giving up social media is another popular sacrifice. It is fascinating how we are constantly connected to the outside world, and yet feel so isolated.
We choose to check FaceBook and Twitter throughout dinner, but ignore friends and family sitting at the same table. We determine our personal value by the number likes on an InstaGram post.
Sacrificing social media not only reconnects us to those relationships we care about most, but it also helps us rediscover our true worth in God’s eyes.
As I was debating my Lenten sacrifice, I considered both these options. However in my morning devotions on Ash Wednesday I felt the Lord telling me to give up self-doubt.
“But wait,” I argued, “self-doubt?! Isn’t that a useful tool? Doesn’t it prevent me from thinking more of myself than I ought?”
And in God’s gentle way he responded, “My child, doubt and faith cannot coexist. If you trust me and trust my guidance, then there is no reason to doubt.”
“But God,” I interrupted, “you don’t understand. I don’t doubt you. I know you are in control of my life and your ways are best. It is me I doubt. I’m not sure I hear you correctly, and I fear I might wander down the wrong path.”
I could practically see God smile as I tried to reason with Him using flimsy, illogical arguments.
“But Molly, you say you trust me, yet you don’t believe I can clearly communicate with you. You say you have faith, yet you fear wandering. You say I am sovereign, yet you have not released control.”
Could it be that all these years I thought self-doubt was a godly virtue when in fact it prevented me from following God’s will?
What if I gave up self-doubt? What if I believed God’s word rather than assume I didn’t hear correctly? How would life be different?
God says I am enough. He says I cannot make Him love me any more by the works I accomplish … OR love me any less by the mistakes I make. I am loved unconditionally.
God says He has equipped me to accomplish my life’s purpose. No one has the same unique combination of talent, gifts and personality. For that reason, no one else can accomplish what He has destined me to do. I have value.
God says we are to live a life of power and love, not fear and timidity. He is always with us, ready to help in any circumstance. I should not worry what others think of me; God is on my side.
So this Lent I gave up self-doubt. I have not become too proud or boastful, as was my fear. Rather, I have learned to trust God and accept His unfailing love, mercy and grace.
©2016 Molly Totoro for GateWay of Hope
Molly Totoro is a writer who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share.” Molly helps others write their stories to impact future generations. Follow Molly’s new blog series, “How to Journal” at Revising Life after 50.