Giving it up

I don’t remember ever practicing Lent. Growing up Baptist it wasn’t something that we “did”. Not that there is anything wrong with Lent. In fact, I like the idea of giving up something that controls a person in order to focus on her relationship with Jesus. My desire is to do that constantly, whenever I feel the Holy Spirit tugging on my conscience, letting me know something’s off kilter.

Also, I’ve seen so many people say they’re “giving up” something for Lent almost like an extended challenge from their New Year’s resolutions. A will power challenge to see if they were determined enough to get through the 40 days. Or it’sΒ just a “religious” maneuver they either had to do because of their religion or a habit that was a hold over from childhood (when they were forced to do it). There is no actual faith behind the decision.

Allison from The Displaced Texan gives an outstanding explanation about what exactly is Lent. What does it mean? What are the implications of practicing Lent? Is it more than just a holiday to give up sugar?

After reading her post I’ve been inspired to indeed practice Lent this year. I constantly strive to seek a deeper relationship with Christ. Sometimes I’m good about it, mostly I’m woefully lacking. Taking time to seek a deeper connection to God should always be welcome to me. Why shouldn’t this specific 40 days, no matter what other people use the time for?

Allison makes a great point about the actual goal of Lent (emphasis mine):

If you choose to give up something for Lent, but in doing so you find that it does not help you in growing in your relationship with Christ, then you shouldn’t really bother. In fact, I have found that giving up chocolate or candy or something like that doesn’t really help me grow closer to God. Instead of giving something up, I usually try to do something extra like set aside time to do a Bible study each day or visit the chapel for prayer. I find this to be more productive in improving my walk with Christ! But everyone is different, so the bottom line is that you should do whatever it is that brings you closer to Him!
*this year, I plan to give up Facebook, and replace my Facebook time with prayer or Bible time instead*

God has been working on me lately about speaking and acting (and typing) in love. It would be great for me to spend extra time in His word and talking with Him to help me improve myself. I do not plan to fast from food for Lent. I do fast any time during the year if I feel God calling me to do that. I, like Allison, am going to give up Facebook and Twitter. I usually try to keep up with both while I’m schooling Reagan, while I’m out running errands or at night after crawling into bed. Whenever I feel the urge to get on either I’m going to use that moment to pray instead. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. I’m praying that this will remind me more constantly to be in prayer.

My goal also is not to indulge in social media to drunken excess today either. The tradition that has become Mardi Gras is completely debase and slaps in the face of drawing closer to Christ. It’s one more example of how current culture has taken something somewhat sacred* and made it profane.

*I would argue that the tradition of mardi gras can’t really be considered sacred or righteous. I could see how, in bygone years, it was a time when people might be thinking ahead about their fasting and either wanted to finish what rich and fatty foods they had in the house (so as not to let them go to waste) or wanted to get one last good taste before they would go without for over a month. The latter reason’s sacredness would be suspect to me as the people probably would not be focused on the beneficial sacrifice of the next 40 days. It would be more of an attitude of, “well, we’re not getting this tasty food for a month, better get it while we can!”

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22 thoughts on “Giving it up

  1. Amanda says:

    Hey Vicki,

    I never grew up with lent either, it’s something that I started doing when i married rich and started trying to be catholic. The way lent was described to me, is that lent is a time to sacrifice something for God the way he sacrificed his son for us. So, giving up meat on fridays or soda for some is a huge deal. Everytime they want that soda they know they can’t, because they are sacrificing for God and through his help you can do it. I don’t know if that helps the relationship or not, but it does make you think of God more often! lol It’s not ment to be torture, or be anything detrimental, just a way to show god appriciation for his sacrifice. Anyways…i don’t know if that is the real reason for lent or not, that’s just the tradition for the people teaching me. I just thought i would share…

    • Vicki says:

      You’re right, it is a mirroring of His sacrifice for us. It is also meant to draw us closer to Him to be more like Him, one of His main goals for us. I agree it’s not meant to be torture (although Jesus did go through that for us, so even if it is “torturous” for us we can count that as gain, right), but I think some people don’t treat it as the relationship building experience it is meant to be. If every time they reach for a soda and realize they can’t have that, if every time that happens they determine to pray to God then or try to be more Christlike that would be awesome. For me, giving up Coke or chocolate would not be as big as giving up social media as I partake in social media throughout the day, so I will definitely be thinking about God and focusing on Him more than once or twice in a day!

      So, what are you giving up for Lent? πŸ™‚

      • Amanda says:

        I didn’t take it as bad! Just hoping to show a different view on it. I’m going to give up trashy romance novels! Then after Elsy goes to bed instead of reading that, maybe i can read the bible or the catholic literature i need to read or learn the rosary by heart.
        On another note thanks for posting this, it has given me a bit more enthusiasm for lent this year, not just a thing to do. we can all use reminders of why we do things every now and then…

      • Vicki says:

        Maybe we can be each other’s accountability partners. I’ll need some encouragement and motivation too. I read Allison’s post this morning and then decided that I’d participate this year. Great things will happen!

    • Vicki says:

      And I’m not trying to specifically implicate Catholics here. I hope you didn’t get that! Throughout my life actually most of the people I’ve known who have talked about Lent haven’t been Catholic…I think.

  2. Great post πŸ™‚ I hope your Facebook/Twitter fast is fruitful for you! It’s going to be a tough one for me – I am on Facebook at LEAST 15 times a day…but to replace that time with prayer or Bible reading should definitely help my relationship with God!!

  3. Oh, and I totally agree about Mardi Gras…it has become completely out of control and NOTHING like the original “Shrove Tuesday” or “Fat Tuesday” where people would cook large meals and use up all their meat, eggs, fat and sugar ( all the things they would soon be giving up for the next forty days) so as to not waste food.

  4. Mary says:

    Wow… hadn’t thought about this one…. a good one for me to give up too. MMMM …need to think on this one. Darn it… now you’ve gone and convicted me… and I am not even on it that much- I think. Still, I bet I could find 10 more minutes to read the gospels each day as I planned while giving up facebook.

  5. Grandma Dee says:

    Good grief,,,for the first time in my life, I’m being forced to give something up for Lent; I will miss you Vicki : ( Facebook is my daily touch of you, my hearing and seeing what you, Du and the girls are doing; my daily dose of humor. I truly hope you will be drawn closer to Him during the 40 days and each day after, but,,,but,,,ummm, I hope Du isn’t jumping onboard (not that he or we all don’t need more time with the Lord) that would be too much torture for me. When does this start?

    • Well, today’s Mardi Gras so I’m guessing it starts tomorrow since Mardi Gras is the big indulgence before it’s all taken away πŸ˜‰ We always have the phone! Are you on Skype? That would be even better!

      Vicki on the phone

  6. Jennifer Lipke says:

    Will miss seeing you on FB, but think that you are doing a great thing! πŸ™‚ If I post a good verse or good devo, I will send you it to ya in email! πŸ™‚ See ya in April!

  7. Explains why I haven’t gotten any of your tweets via text today or yesterday! I’ve never given anything up for Lent, but I have at times given up things (TV, Internet, Dr Pepper) for seasons. It’s a great way to re-set priorities!

    • Vicki says:

      I am missing not only updates from my friends but from local organizations as well. I was staying in tune with the metro DC area with the “people” I’m following on Twitter (and Facebook). I know I won’t miss out on anything drastic, but I’m feeling out of the loop πŸ™‚

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