I heard His whisper as clear as day on that Sunday morning.
“Jessica, I want you to give up carbs for Lent.”
I knew it was Him, and I knew I wasn’t fancy to His opinion. And so I did exactly what every “good girl sitting in a pew” would do…I ignored Him.
Nope. Nada. Ain’t doin’ it.
I won’t sugarcoat it, and I won’t re-frame it. Sister heard what sister didn’t want to hear, so sister moved on.
And though I moved on from His whisper that morning and afternoon (refusing to even acknowledge His Spirit at work), I apparently felt I needed to engage God in a one-sided conversation where I took full liberties to air and share all my unspoken reasons for my “Absolutely not. God. Absolutely not.”
I refuse to be the person who appears like she’s cutting out a food group in order to simultaneously love God and lose pounds. Nope. Ain’t doin’ it, God.
As a therapist, I have treated souls with Eating Disorders, and I never, EVER champion or condone obsessive, all-or-nothing thinking about food. No food group is bad; no food group has to be avoided; and I won’t act like it is. Nope. Ain’t doin’ it, God.
Everyone gets rid of food for Lent. Nope. Ain’t doin’ it, God.
And as I listened to the litany of reasons for why I couldn’t and wouldn’t obey the whisper of God (many of which were centered around my pride), I also recognized a creeping thought that continued to nag my heart like a child begging for fruit snacks.
I like food. I like carbs. And I don’t want to go without the food I like.
And though you would have thought that maybe I caved when I finally acknowledged this painfully true realization, I didn’t.
Nope. Sister and the Sabbath moved on.
But God, in all of His relentless pursuit of arrogant and avoidant souls like mine, decided to chase me down at 7:40 PM while I sat at the kitchen table finishing my Joshua Bible Study.
I was slated to Skype with my dear friend at 8PM that night and very unlike me (I am usually done with the study several days in advance), I hadn’t finished the last two questions.
Let me share that second-to-last question with you.
After years of being fed by heavenly means, the people now begin to be fed in a new way. What was the significance of this change? Read Deuteronomy 8:2-10 to help with your answer.
And as I flipped to the passage and read, big and convicted tears welled in my eyes.
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3
HE USED THE WORD BREAD. BREAD, people. BREAD! Pretty much, He yelled “CARBS!” in the middle of Deuteronomy.
Simultaneously, I was feeling both humbled and amazed by the humor of God and His persistent love for me.
I was feeling proud about what I could and couldn’t give up for Lent.
“He humbled you…”
I was fearing hunger from the absence of a food I love.
“…causing you to hunger…”
I was thinking there were others ways God could and should teach me during the Lent season.
“…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
Finally, at 7:57 PM, I relented my pride, and I acknowledged the idol.
Yes, I said idol. Because if the truth is told and transparency lived, this Barbie Carbie loves her some “bread and friends.”
Carbs give me joy. Carbs give me comfort. Carbs make me happy when the road is hard and the load is heavy. I get excited when I eat them, and I feel better when I consume them.
For me, carbs can literally and figuratively be a “filler.”
They are a quick, go-to when the emotions are high. They are a superficial way to numb the frustrations. They are a pleasant way to pass the time. They are an easy thing to grab and eat when I haven’t taken the time to prepare my food. And though it pains me to type it, they are a source of joy (for me).
Hopers, I like vegetables, but they don’t bring me joy. I like fruit, but it doesn’t bring me comfort. So when Paula Deen devotes entire cookbooks to “Comfort Food,” she doesn’t lie and neither do her recipes; carbs make the spoon-holder happy.
And if that wasn’t enough to get my attention, God sealed the note when I talked with my “Lent Accountability Partner” on the first day of Lent (Is that even a thing? I dunno, but I have one.).
As we leaned against the walls of the church, I lamented about the whisper(S) I received from God and shared of my “giving up and laying down” of carbs. Immediately, her eyes lit up as her croissant-loving soul excitedly exclaimed, “Me too!”
Lord, have mercy, you have got to be kidding me! Signed, sealed, delivered… I’m yours, Lord.
I have no clue what the Lord desires to teach me through this hunger over the next 40 days, but I can be assured of the following:
The Lord is committed to tearing down every idol our souls set up, even the ones shaped like a loaf of bread and fashioned like a bag of chips. Why? Because He loves us; He’s committed to our holiness; and He wants all of us to want and need all of Him. ONLY.
Oh, Lord, let us feast on you… our Manna, our Daily Bread… the Bread of Life who satisfies all of our hungry places.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”