The course is designed to be retreat-like from the comfort of our homes and in the midst of our busy schedules. We are provided with weekly recipes, educational whole food posts, and little bits of inspiration throughout our days. We are encouraged to focus on listening to our bodies and they have to tell us about ourselves - mind, body, and spirit. As I strip away some of the excess in my life, I am focusing on the ways I hear God speaking and being aware of my food, my body, and how those effect me in mind, body, and spirit.
While I have remained 100% vegan (well except that time I accidentally licked a crumb of cheese off my finger while cooking for the family and proceeded to quickly spit it out when I realized what I'd done), it's not been a perfect eight days. I haven't carved out the time for daily prayer as consistently as I'd like. I haven't created the peace-filled home I'd like for my family. It's been overwhelming and crazy most days as my pastor husband moves into the busy and stressful season of Lent, as I learn new ways of cooking and eating, and as we continue to recover from the chaos that ensued when I was knock-down-drag-out sick for a week. The list could go on, but that's not the point.
First off, it's all been a lot of 'two steps forward, one step back', and it's easy to focus on the one step back if you don't consciously look at where you are now. There are a lot of steps forward even when you consider all the steps back. I've been eating vegan and almost completely whole nourishing food, save for a few tortilla chips and that vegan chocolate cake I made. (And there's nothing wrong with a few tortilla chips or vegan chocolate cake, but it's noteworthy for me to realize that everything else I have eaten has been simple, real, nourishing foods.) I've spent more time in prayer in the past eight days than I have in months. There is an intention in everything I'm doing trying to bring about that peace for my home and my family.
But second of all, I'm not perfect. I'm not going to be perfect. And that's okay because it's not about being perfect. I could never do it all. I am broken. I am a sinner. I am human. I can't achieve peace, happiness, salvation, or anything without Christ. A Lenten discipline is not about becoming perfect, ending bad habits, or making yourself worthy for what happened to Jesus on the cross. In our Lenten disciplines, we are stripped down, brought to our knees, the very place where God met us, and reminded of our complete and total dependence on God and God's amazing grace. It's because of this that on those days where I am struggling to not just steal one bite of my son's toast with butter or when I gaze lustfully at the cheesy-ooey-gooey lasagna I'm making my family for dinner, that I don't reach for some processed substitute, some fake cheese or chemical-filled butter imposter, because that's not going to fill my body. It might temporarily stop a craving, but it's not going to help me crave God.
So I continue on this journey, eating real food that nourishes my mind, body, and soul, praising God for this opportunity to grow in my faith, and looking forward to the events of Holy Week full of sorrow, repentance, grace, love, and joy.