For a few Lents I have deactivated my Facebook account. This is very easy and very, very effective. That is time you can tangibly retrieve and put to prayer or Bible reading. For another few Lents I have tried to deactivate my gorging on junk food to get me through the next chunk of the day. This has never been successful! I suppose endeavouring to put a spiritual slant on the fact that your clothes don't fit anymore is just not the right motivation.
I wish it was though. Those of us born into first world places and kind families push through into our earthly life with all good things on our side. And what do I end up doing? Bemoaning the first world problem that too much food in my belly means that none of the many clothes hanging in my wardrobe hang on me quite as roomily as they did two years ago. Clearly the fact that I now drive everywhere around my five square miles existence burning significantly more fossil fuels than I do bodily energy is not helping.
Before I went back to working five days I walked to and from their school with the boys, and cycled or walked to my evening library job. I did a little bit of housework everyday instead of collapsing onto the sofa at any given opportunity. I did spend some mornings praying and Bible reading too. I used to say that I didn't believe in exercise, but in an active lifestyle. It all seems very halcyon now!
I clearly need to practise some self-discipline. It makes me think of the verse in Hebrews, which I'd only ever considered as a rebuke to children or wrong-doers:
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
I think that the way I'm living now is a form of wrong-doing. I am not respecting the body God has given me; I am not respecting the privileged position I am in with first world abundance of food and fuel. I think that if I lived more gratitude and generosity I certainly wouldn't eat my way through the biscuit tin every afternoon after school, and I would get us out of the car a bit more.
I just think that I'd manage that if I was more worried about the world, than about my girth. And I'm not sure I'd deserve any righteousness and peace that came out of dropping a dress size!