So, what is lent? Lent is the 40 days before Easter (not including Sunday’s) that symbolize the 40 days Jesus spent preparing for his first public sermon. There, alone in the wilderness, He entered a period of fasting and prayer. Many Christians use this time for prayer and self-denial as a means to bring us closer to God.
I grew up in a very Baptist household, and attended Catholic school from K-12th grade. I am what I like to call, bi-religious. Both Baptist and Catholic traditions are held in high regard, and are very important to me. Lent has always been observed in our home and as it gets closer, we work really hard to focus our sacrifice and talk about why it matters.
However, over the last few years I’ve noticed that I have been using Lent as an opportunity to get my bad food habits under control. While surely a sacrifice, it hasn’t lent itself (pun intended) to the true purpose of the season. Like many, my focus has sometimes been used to continue with waning New Year’s resolutions and lofty weight loss goals. There was the season that I gave up bread. Why did I do that??? It was a joyous time when I gave up chocolate. No. No it was not. And then there was the year I gave up coffee, wine AND chips. Y’all, I was not fun to be around! It’s still referred to as ‘That Year’. No kidding, my hair stylist still shakes her head when she recalls it.
This year, I wanted to get back to the purpose of the season, and focus on the true sentiment of Lent. While giving up desserts (because things have gotten out of hand), I am also giving up my time. This year I’m volunteering weekly at non-profit organizations in our community. Thoughts and prayers can only go so far. Charitable giving is self-sacrificing, but also makes a notable difference right now. Following His lead of taking care of each other, is always a focus in my life. But, this season, I’m making it a focus for my family too. You know what they say, a family that Lent’s together….
What are you giving up for Lent?