I’ve been praying quite a bit about how I want to observe Lent this year – it’s been a huge part of my spiritual life for several years now, and it’s something I look forward to. We’re doing Seek God for the City from WayMakers as a church and community, but I find the physical act of giving something up to be so powerful and I want to add that component as well.
From a blog post I wrote three years ago:
It (Lent) can be a time of prayer and preparation for Easter, it can be a time of introspection and self examination and also a time of repentance…Let’s face it…these are stressful times we’re living in. Perhaps more stressful than many of us have ever known. What I learned about observing Lent last year was that it is an incredible way to refocus, to rid myself of the distractions of everyday life, to go deeper in my relationship with my Savior…to bring my life closer in-line with the life God would have for me.
The problem is…I tend to look at Lent as a time to focus on food issues as a way of self-denial, and it’s not easy when:
I can’t eat wheat.
I don’t drink alcohol.
Or much of anything but water and the occassional tea.
Sugar isn’t a part of my diet.
Neither are grains.
I’m not giving up meat. (did it. felt awful. there’s a reason I’m paleo, friends!)
I don’t watch too much TV.
And I’m already working to limit the amount of time I spend on the computer and my iPhone.
I look to Lent as a season to break areas of bondage – choosing to use the deprivation as a tool to turn me towards God in daily need. After a lot of prayer, I’m choosing this time to go strictly paleo – back to Whole 30, something that has evaded me since I finished my first one. Too much dark chocolate and too many paleo baked goods have found their way back into my regular eating. It’s an area I struggle with daily.
There are some odd similarities between a strict paleo diet and the act of denial for Lent – they’re not easy. Self-sacrifice isn’t something that comes easily, but with it comes huge rewards. Through the sacrifice on the cross that we look to through Lent, we are given the opportunity to know God intimately. Through the sacrifice I make with eating, I have a better relationship with my own body and with the world around me. I honor God in a most primal way by eating in a way that allows my life to be used in the way He wants.
I’ll be doing a Friday update each week, with my thoughts and the things God is teaching me during this season.
Are you observing Lent this year? Is God speaking to you about any distractions or idols you need to bow to Him?