Updated: Feb 29, 2020
I have never really participated in Lent, but after speaking to a Catholic Priest recently, Father Dominic, who talked a little about Lent in way I hadn’t considered it before, it completely changed my view on it. He asked me what I thought Lent was about and I said ‘giving something up for 40 days, it’s about sacrifice’ and he told me he didn’t see it like that. He explained it was about recognising the false-joys in your life and removing them to allow for the real joys. He explained this helps with achieving moderation in the future too. The idea being thinking of it as not giving up the false-joys but facilitating your commitment to the real joy you want.
I reflected on this for a couple days and thought it was a fascinating way to look at it and really interesting life question to ask myself, ‘what are my false-joys that get in the way of my bigger, real joys?’ Coincidentally, the night before I spoke with Father Dominic I had went shopping to Tesco with my wife and two children. On the way round Tesco I ate three Krispy Kreme doughnuts, then another two in the car on the way home and a sixth as soon as I got in. Now I felt great while I was eating the doughnuts, they were absolutely delicious and made me feel happy (sugar high). After around an hour of eating them I started to feel a bit sick, a bit lethargic and I told myself, like I usually would, ‘ah well, it was worth it’, knowing that I didn’t actually believe that and had kind of a guilty feeling about eating them all. Last year in work I split five pairs of pants while I was trying to lose weight and was told by more than one health professional I was high risk of diabetes with the way I binge eat sugary food. What I genuinely care more about is maintaining my healthy weight and of course, not getting diabetes. This is the real joy I want, not the sugary short-term false-joys I am having nearly every day at the moment.
So I’m going to try this for Lent, stopping eating sugary foods, my false-joy, for the real joy of feeling better in myself about myself. I know I shouldn’t be binge eating sugary foods anyway but I think this is a really nice and motivating way of looking at, especially if it helps with my long-term sweet-tooth moderation. As I embark on Day 1 of 40, I thought it was something worth sharing...
What false-joys do you have and are they getting in the way of your real joys?