So, it just happens in this second week of Lent (or third, if you look at it that way), I've had Numbers and Deuteronomy on the iPod. And in the course of listening, I've heard a lot of how seriously the Lord takes vow-making. And when you talk about the Creator of the universe taking something seriously, that's about as serious as you can get.
How timely that I should hear the Lord's view on vow-taking a week after I made a couple of hurried Lenten resolutions. And what a sharp contrast to my own view of "resolutions": If someone takes us out to dinner or invites us to a birthday party, those are acceptable exceptions to a Lenten fast. Or, having a large mug of caffeinated tea, with milk, the day of a half-marathon. And perhaps a celebratory frozen custard afterwards. (Okay, I won't really do that, because I'll be too tired and really not into eating anything that rich.) But God says, A vow is a vow and if you choose to bind yourself, you're bound by your words!
So, I'm working on it. I want to be more intent and less haphazard. If I'm going to continue my practise of Lent (and I do intend to do so!), I want to spend more time planning, more time praying and more seriousness of purpose before Ash Wednesday. For this year, I am considering myself bound by what I've determined to do, even though the next four weeks seem long indeed as I think of all the Cadbury eggs and chicken sandwiches I could be eating. (Not at the same time, mind you.) Even my middle school self knew this was but a small sacrifice, and my adult self is doing her best to follow Jesus in all ways.
And when I think of all that Jesus sacrificed, from the moment he put on flesh, through the sleepless nights and the demanding crowds, facing all manner of hostility, doubt and pride in his followers as well as his enemies, up to the moment when he laid his life down-- suddenly it is easy to forgo a few luxuries in an attempt to follow him more closely.
Because I willingly bound myself to following him.
Help! What is going on here?
I don't know what's going on, either. But as soon as I either develop some time management skills or finish my semester, the cheek will return.