As y’all should know, yesterday was Ash Wednesday, or the official beginning of the season of Lent. I always grew up believing that it was only a catholic thing, and that if you did participate you just gave up soda or sweets or something equally benign. As I grew older, I realized that protestants participated too, but I never felt super inclined to participate. Last year, I gave up sweets but was incredibly vague and ate a lot of chocolate chip waffles and dried fruit. (Total cop-out.)To be honest, I never really got what it was about.
This season has biblical beginnings, which makes sense. It is a way of remembering the forty days that Jesus spent praying in the desert (see Luke 4). If you read the chapter, you learn that Jesus went to the desert to pray. In addition to that, he fasted the entire forty days (I can’t imagine fasting for more than a day… love me some food). During that time, Jesus was challenged and tested by Satan. Every time Satan challenged him, Jesus threw the word of His Father back into Satan’s face, and ultimately won. Now, it doesn’t say this in scripture, but I’d be willing to bet that the reason that Jesus was able to do this was (obviously because he is the Son of God) but also because he was so in tune with His Father, that he knew the right things to say to ruin Satan’s case.
What I have come to realize, through Luke 4 and discussions with spiritual mentors, is most people participate in Lent for all the wrong reasons, including me. Lent is a time to grow close to God and learn about him. It’s a time to give up something that wastes a lot of your precious time, time that could be better spent getting to know your Savior. We all have idols in our life other than God and Lent is a time to give one up to get closer to him. So giving up something that doesn’t have a lot of sway over how you live your life or isn’t taking up a lot of your time is counter intuitive to the purpose of Lent. If your spiritual life is staying the same, go on eating the candy, because it doesn’t really matter. ( I totally have issues with this too).
This past week, as Lent was approaching, I thought a lot about what I would do. I didn’t want to let it pass by without participating, but I knew giving up something silly like chocolate or Sprite wouldn’t cut it. It kept popping up in my head that Twitter would be something big I should hit up. I debated giving up Facebook, but I really don’t spend as much time on it. But when it came down to it, I really, really didn’t want to give up Twitter. I love posting witty things and getting favorites and making sarcastic jabs at people’s tweets. When Wednesday came around, I was still feeling really called to give it up. By that point I pretty much had a pros and cons list. Luckily my better instincts won out. I dropped one more semi-funny tweet on my followers (Goodbye Twitter! #thatLentlife) and then deleted the app from my phone. While this was an awesome step in the right direction, it wasn’t enough. I decided to give the first fifteen minutes of my morning to God. That means giving up fifteen minutes of sleep to pray and be in the Word. The combination of these two things will hopefully bring me closer to my creator in the coming days.
So what’s the take away? If you have given something up for Lent, analyze how it will help you to grow closer to God. If you aren’t giving something up, why not start now? While the voices in your head may say “but Twitter is so fun, and you’ll miss out on so much,” think of how much you could miss out in regards to the amazing things the Creator has planned for you.With that in mind, stay strong all!
P.S. I know I promised a post about CPAC for this week but due to travel issues I didn’t get there until all the festivities for the day were over. I think I might do a second post tomorrow or Saturday about it. Stay tuned 🙂