Decades later, though, when I began looking into what Scripture really said, I made it through one Lenten season, faithfully abstaining from two pleasures. At the end of those forty days, abstinence taught me more than I bargained for. I became a Christian and with Christ, I had the courage to face my addiction to alcohol.
I learned that Scripture commends fasting – but in a better way than the one to which I was originally introduced. Fasting isn’t about just giving up, but it means taking on – becoming active in opposing evil and producing good. (Isaiah 58:1-14) So, a different slant on Lent might be seeing it as a continuing time of learning, changing, doing – not simply as a time of going cold turkey off simple pleasures. Forty days of no chocolate isn’t enough time to make me a life-giving garden in the 21st century deserts of our world. And it isn’t enough time to learn contentment with who and where I am. (1 Timothy 6:6)
Paul gave up and took on many things and at the end of his life could say, "I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11)
These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man . . . Paul says, “I have learned . . . to be content;” . . . Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. (C. H. Spurgeon)
Learning contentment is key to recovery – and it is key to growing up in Christ, daily.
. . . Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; . . . (From the Serenity Prayer)