During the season of Lent, many people will give up things (chocolate, meat, caffeine, television, sarcasm, etc.) Others will try new things during the Lenten journey…like exercising, volunteering at a mission or shelter, or praying.
The thing about Lent is that it’s a great time to consider how we live. Are there things we need to let go of? Are there things that we should really put into practice?
Generally, I do not give things up during Lent. I’ve found that when I consider what I will give up for Lent, I do so in more of a selfish way than from a perspective of fasting that will help me consider the suffering of Christ. I tend to look at fasting for Lent as something that might benefit me…not so much spiritually…but physically. If I give up sugar, I’ll drop some of those unwanted pounds. One year, I gave up eating meat…only to have someone point out one evening that I was eating noodles that were cooked in beef broth and that the beef broth contained meat/meat bi-products. I refer to that person as the Lent Nazi (harsh? yes!). And, my motivation should have been questioned. First, I really do not consume that much meat to begin with…so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice. And, in the back of my mind, I was thinking about the health benefits of avoiding greasy cheeseburgers.
So, this year, instead of giving up Cadbury Eggs (seriously, that would be a sacrifice…as I believe I could consume about 12 every single day), I am going to be taking on some new practices.
I tend to pray and read the Bible on a daily basis. However, it’s never in a structured setting…outside of reading a Psalm and saying a brief prayer before I begin my work each day. I’m more of a “pray on the fly” and “read when it’s convenient” kind of guy.
So, during the season of Lent, I will be setting aside 2-hours each day for Bible reading and prayer. I have some resources (some of which I may share on this blog) that I’ll be using to help me throughout the journey.
I’m sure it will be difficult at first. It’s hard for me to focus on something for more than a few minutes. But, I’m hoping that this will develop into a habit that goes beyond Lent.
So, what are you giving up or taking on for Lent?