Although I have stopped eating meat for Lent, I have no intention of imposing my spiritual disciplines on anyone else. In this way, I am a good little Protestant. (I don't even suggest you take on a Lenten discipline based on this blog; that should really be a decision you make in consultation with your Creator.) And, because I do most of the cooking at our house, I am really the only one inconvenienced by this spiritual journey. And although it's not a huge inconvenience, this does require some amount of planning. For example, did you know that the human animal's most direct source of protein is meat? Neither did I until a day or so before I started this fast. So going vegetarian in a household that is otherwise carnivorous, is more than just preparing meatless versions of what everyone else is having. It often involves adding other protein sources like beans or something; which often leads to an entirely different meal.
I've been on this fast for about a week and a half now and, for the most part, it's been working out fine. I am the one who does most of the cooking at our house because I'm a pretty good cook. So not only am I able to do a pretty good job of properly nourishing myself, I can make it taste pretty good too. In fact, so far there has only been one instance in which I've been jealous of what the rest of my family is eating. Hear my confession:
After church the other day, the kids and I drove down to Farmington to do some big-box shopping. As we were shopping, it occurred to me that by the time we got home, it would be time for dinner. So genius me, I decided to pick up a roasted chicken. When we got home I quickly make up some veggies and some macaroni & cheese to be their sides and as my mains. What I didn't count on is how much I apparently love roasted chicken. It surprised me, really; this hadn't happened before. Oh, there have been the fleeting memories of burgers gone by, but nothing that made me think, "Man, I want that."
The leftover chicken is still sitting in our fridge, mocking me.
My spiritual lesson came in a surprising way. I suppose I expected that there would be some sort of "resisting temptation" thing to learn, but it wasn't ultimately all that hard to resist; I wanted it, I just didn't put it in my mouth. I didn't have any grand revelation about my capacity to resist temptation, nor did I perceive a rush of God's power to help me to just say "no." Instead, I had dinner. I ate an adequate meal of macaroni & cheese and veggies (and some soybeans for more of that protein we were talking about). It tasted fine and it nourished me for the rest of the day. I felt good physically and I felt good spiritually, knowing that I had stuck with the commitment I had made.
Even without the things I crave, I am sustained by what God provides. And perhaps I'm better off.