Other than maybe January 1st of a new year, I am not sure that we ever think as much about what we consume as we do at the beginning of Lent. We start to examine our habits and narrow in on something that we believe that we can abstain from for 40 days and end up a better person for it.

It is a challenge we take on with the best of intentions:  walking with the Savior through the wilderness.  A resolution, but with Jesus as an accountability partner.

A quick audit of my life reveals many things I could stand to get a better handle on. I definitely consume more coffee than I should on any given day, I never drink enough water, and this time of year right after Valentine’s Day when the stores are full of those amazing marshmallow eggs and hollow bunnies the struggle is REAL…

Its a long list, to be honest!  But is my low-key caffeine addiction truly the biggest obstacle to my best life? What about chocolate? Is dairy keeping me from a closer walk with God?

Or is it just a lot easier to face what it is that we consume than what it is that consumes us.

It is surely difficult to change what we eat and drink; harder still to address why we do the things that deplete us – the habits and behaviors that use us up and wipe us out.

But what about those things that exhaust our soul that are impossible to change? Most of us can’t make a 40-day change to our job, our children or our relationships without life altering consequences.  What about the relentless emotional expense of simply being human in a world that seems to expect so much more?

Maybe you haven’t even figured out what to give up and you already feel like you are in the wilderness. And even though today is only the beginning of Lent,  you may feel like you have been here for ages.

In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 Paul says this: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

It may feel like the world is trying to break us but take heart: It tried to break Jesus, too.

The world tempts you to believe that there is an easier way to do all of this, and that everyone else has it all figured out. To be so consumed with jealousy and shame that you will consume anything to help you hold it together on the surface.

Maybe this year, that is something we could consider giving up. Instead of being consumed by the cost of constant perfection, let the cracks show for a season; let the light of God shine through what you were certain was a great flaw in your life.  Refill what the world has consumed with confident hope in Christ Jesus.

You were molded by the hands of the potter into the exact jar of clay that you are for that very purpose.

In these numbered days you are meant to be the vessel, not the ashes.  Choose to consume, and to be consumed by, Love.