Welcome to Imperfect Prose on Thursdays! This week’s prompt is FOOD.

Recently, an editor asked me to compile all of my stats: numbers from Facebook and Twitter and blog, etcetera.

Numbers undo me. I’m an eating disorder survivor. For seven years of my life, numbers ruled me. I was defined by them. Now, I try hard to not look at them, because I serve a God who, as Brennan Manning puts it, doesn’t keep score.

So, for the sake of the editor, I faced the stats. I sent them in, and then I crashed. Crying over everything, worried I would never measure up, and a friend wrote me and asked if I was okay. She said she’d been praying for me, and that the Lord had a word for me: “I don’t want your sacrifices.”

I looked it up in Scripture, found it referenced in both the Old and New Testament, followed by God’s desire for us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly. 

I try everyday to live that way. I know my Lord knows that.

But with all of the posts and sermons geared towards giving things up, like food and drink, for Lent, I felt guilty. I felt I should find something to sacrifice.

So for three days I gave up coffee and alcohol.

Then my husband asked me why I was doing it, and I realized I wasn’t doing it for God. I was doing it because I felt I wouldn’t measure up as a Christian if I didn’t.

But God doesn’t keep score.

He doesn’t want us to give UP things so much as he wants to give TOWARDS people.

This isn’t to say we can’t sacrifice in order to bless someone. The 40 Days Of Water project is a good example of this.

The underlying thing to remember is: Lent, like Christianity, is not about us. It’s not even about us getting closer to Jesus. It’s about Jesus, and how he wants to live in us more fully.

God doesn’t desire sacrifice. He desires mercy. He doesn’t want things. He wants hearts. He wants compassion and justice and an outflow of Easter, year-round, as my friend Emily Maynard said.

And not only towards others but towards ourselves. He wants us to show mercy towards ourselves. To know our weaknesses, and to treat ourselves tenderly, gently.

Now, if anything has a stronghold on you, that’s a different story. You may NEED to give something up in order to act mercifully towards yourself. You may need to give up food or drink or TV or sweets or the Internet, but not because of the action of giving it up, but because of the heart of giving towards yourself, and others.

We don’t serve things. We don’t serve theology or doctrine or religion. We serve a divine human being who partied with sinners.

So, fellow sinners, raise your glasses and your forks with me, to our humanity, and to the only sacrifice that will ever matter-our Lord’s.

every thursday, we gather together to celebrate redemption. here are the details:  

1. link up a post (old or new) that relates to this week’s prompt (or to a similar theme)
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog) 
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!
 so won’t you join us, as we “walk each other home”? (ram dass)

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