I think a lot of things come to mind when we hear the word Lent.
I Googled “What does Lent mean to you?” and found a wide spectrum of answers.
Like many other spiritual things, people tend to have extreme opinions. There’s not a whole lot of middle ground. It’s usually a love or hate type of thing.
I actually fall in the middle on this one. I don’t feel that I have to participate in Lent.
I’m not Catholic and while my church does somewhat encourage participation, it’s totally optional.
It’s something I’ve chosen to do. I want to give something up for a period of time as a form of extended fasting.
Great meaning can be found in participating in a ritual that generations upon generations have practiced for thousands of years before you.
Significant change and growth can come from fasting and praying.
Extended displays of self-control certainly lead to a more disciplined lifestyle.
And you know I’m all about discipline in 2012.
This year for Lent I’ve decided to give up alcohol and sugar.
That may seem pretty tame to some people and maybe even easier than last year’s fast of dairy, grain and sugar, but this one is definitely a sacrifice for me.
I love me some beer, wine and dessert.
At the end of a long work week, it’s so relaxing to mellow out with a great bottle of wine and a delicious dinner. At the end of a long workday, it’s nice knowing that a delicious cupcake is waiting for me.
|This is a chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake and it was ah-ma-zing!
I’m going to be reminded of my “sacrifice” often in the next 40 days. It’s gonna hurt, but it’s gonna be good.
I’m going to pray again this year that God gives me His heart for the people around me. I’m going to ask that He draws me closer to Him and makes me more like His Son
My friend Kari posted a great blog article on Facebook the other day. It’s from Life In Grace and was a good read. One part in particular stuck out to me:
Lent is not a time to focus on ourselves and our own particular abundance or lack of self-discipline.
Lent is a time of self-forgetfulness, where we learn to live more in union with Christ and less from our own capabilities
Our Lenten discipline does not make us more holy. We have the very righteousness of Christ and His holiness already.
Our Lenten failures do not make us more wretched but serve to remind us that our wretchedness has cost our Savior His life and that He has gone to every length to secure our ransom
We take this journey with Him to learn from Him what it means to be His child. To remember what it’s like to be loved by Our Father.
I don’t want my Lenten fast to be about my own “particular abundance or lack of self-discipline”. So often I test myself to prove that I have discipline or self-control, but this is not about that. It’s about learning what it’s like to be a child of God and remembering what it’s like to be loved by my Heavenly Father.
Every time my sweet tooth aches or I’m itching for a glass of wine, I’m going to reach out in prayer and open myself to what God may be trying to say to me.
Have you decided to participate in Lent this year? If so, what have you given up?