It is almost that time of year. Signs of spring are starting to show (even though it is below freezing tonight!). With the coming of Spring also comes one of the most significant times of year for followers of Christ. In the coming weeks, we will observe and celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, symbolizing the believers' triumph over death as Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross.
In preparation for this most Holy and sacred of observances, I have chosen to observe the 40 days prior to Easter known as Lent. Here is a link to some information about Lent. http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatislent.htm
While Lent is a Christian observance, it is most closely associated with Catholicism. It is typically a 40 day period whereby we fast, pray, repent, and observe deeper spiritual discipline. Over the past few years, I have adopted the practice of observing Lent for the purpose of "giving up" things that are either distracting, time consuming and not beneficial, or would be some sort of "sacrifice" on my part.
This year, in preparation for the start of Lent on Wednesday, I thought I would share with you the things I will be giving up this year and why. Here we go:
1) Facebook: I know. This is going to be extremely difficult. But I spend probably an average of two or more hours a day on Facebook or playing those cute little games associated with Facebook. This takes time away from my husband. It takes time away from some things that I need to do at work, and it is time that I could use to journal, pray, read the Bible, meditate and further seek the face of God. I love keeping up with everyone and seeing what is going on, but from Wednesday until the Monday following Easter, I will take a Facebook and Facebook app hiatus, spending that time with my family, praying and in the word of God.
2) Soda/Soft Drinks: I don't have a problem with caffeine. I can go days without caffeine and be just fine. I drink plenty of water and don't drink more than one or two caffeinated beverages a day, including coffee. But I love Diet Sunkist, Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper, Coke Zero, Cherry Coke Zero, you get the picture. So during this season of depriving myself of something that is not a necessity, I'm going 40 days with no soda.
3) Sweets/Candy/Cookies/Junk Food/Chocolate: If you know me well at all, you know I love all forms of dessert and treats. Even though I try to limit my intake to only a few times a week, I am a sucker for most anything sweet. You have my permission to check my temperature or ask if I'm feeling ok if I ever turn down birthday cake. But during this 40 day period, I am challenging myself to partake of NONE. Not one bite. Only meals, fruit, yogurt and healthy snacks. You might want to pray for and with me on this one. I'm sure Jason would appreciate it! ;-)
4) No computers/electronic devices after 8 pm: Jason and I are slightly addicted to our electronic gadgets. We both have iPhones, I have an iPad, Jason has a Nook, we both have laptops, and we are constantly on one or more of these devices. I am challenging my household to shut these connections to the outside world and focus on spending our evenings together with each other and spending time in prayer and Bible study. This will be tough, as we often need to address something for work, but I am challenging us to give it our all and see how we do.
5) Look for ways to serve: During this 40 day period, I am going to pray for and look for ways to serve God by serving others. Most of the time, with my work schedule and other commitments, I fall extremely short in giving my time to others. Be in prayer for me as I seek ways each week to be a blessing to others through an act of service.
These things are probably fairly typical for this day and age and not something that would shock anyone. But I don't think that the act is as important as the sacrifice that it represents. My intention is to pray through my cravings, utilize my time spent on social media and the like in prayer and meditation, and spend a little more time than normal in Bible study and meditation. I also hope that this plan will allow Jason and me to spend a little more time each day in prayer together and reflecting on the directions that God is leading our marriage, as well as individuals. I plan to blog again after Easter to let you all know how I did.
What are your plans for Lent? Do you observe some form of Lent? Why or why not?
I'd love to hear what this season means to each of you and how you observe it.