This year, Ana decided she was going to give up something for Lent.
We’ve talked about the Easter season, about the weeks leading up to our remembrance and our observance of the resurrection, and about what it means to sacrifice something for Christ. We didn’t put any pressure on her to do anything. We didn’t even suggest it. She made the decision unprompted, on her own, and boldly said, “I’m going to give up dessert for Jesus.”
We’ve been doing our best to help her with her commitment. We don’t serve her dessert, and I’ve been careful to only offer Emma desserts that Ana doesn’t particularly enjoy.
I’ve been making it easy for her, in other words.
I made cupcakes for the girls the other day with the intention of keeping them for after school snacks. NOT dessert, y’all.
Ana finished one the other day then went into the living room to read for school. Emma stayed with me in the kitchen, where I asked her, in a quiet voice, “Do you want me to pack one of these in your lunch tomorrow for dessert?”
Before Emma could respond, we heard a great groaning and moaning from the living room. “THAT’S NOT FAAAAAAAIIIIIRRRRR!”
I really should’ve expected this.
I explained to Ana that the decision to give up dessert had been hers. And her decision was HERS, not Emma’s, and that Emma shouldn’t be held to a commitment that Ana made for herself.
“But she gets CUPCAKES!”
It was easy to give up dessert until the dessert was something that was worth having. It was easy to sacrifice until it came to something that cost her.
I’m thinking that Ana is a great study in what I’m really like, in what a lot of us are probably really like. Devotion to Christ is something easily attested to and achieved when it’s easy, when it costs us nothing, and when it doesn’t come with sacrifice.
But when it takes us out of places and routines that are comfortable, that are pleasant… well, it’s harder to follow Him.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot as we’ve been studying the last week of Jesus’ life and the road to the cross. How do I fail in my devotion to Him when things are hard? How do I miss the mark when life doesn’t go like I expected it to? What do I do when I’m called to give up a cupcake or two?
I’m willing to wager that I don’t love Him as fully as I ought and that I don’t follow Him as boldly as I profess.
I’m challenged to remember that devotion and selflessness is best tried in the worst of times and that refining doesn’t come by easy means. And loving God? Costs something.
Challenging thoughts, for sure…