Giving up or fasting during the season of Lent is a tradition in the Christian church which many today still subscribe to. This is a noble discipline, one which I also participate in. However, I pray that we fail our fasts.
Fasting seems to be understood by many people less as a spiritual discipline and more as a personal betterment practice. Many who fast from certain food types are doing so for weight loss. Many who fast from technology do so to avoid the toxicity of twitter. There is nothing wrong with these sorts of fasts at all! However, fasting in this way feeds the myth (myth is a unifying narrative not something that is always factually true) that through our thoughts, actions, and will power, we can become a better version of ourselves.
I pray that we all fail our Lenten fasts so that when we do we are faced with the reality that the myth of self betterment is a hallow myth. It is a myth that leads to guilt, shame and even fatalism.
The myth that I hope to live my life around is that of the Gospel of Christ. Jesus Christ reminds us that no amount of will power or determination will bring you to a better self. In fact Christianity points out that there is not a better self to obtain. That in fact the real journey is to embrace who we are, warts and all, and be able to discover the joy in it. When we fail, we come face to face with the reality that we are not god or perfect. We face the truth that we are in need of a grace. We encounter the reality that we are unable to transform ourselves, that we are in need. We need that which is beyond us and that which is outside of us.
May you fail your Lenten fast and experience the grace of forgiveness and pick the fast up the next day.