On this Shrove (Fat) Tuesday, many people are preparing for Lent.
That may look like picking up your favorite pastry, a Paczki. Or attending a pancake supper, or enjoying some other delicious food, because that is what you do the day before Ash Wednesday. (Or if you are in New Orleans, you have been partying all week!)
I am already seeing various posts online about what to give up. Some people will say “Sayonara” to Facebook for 40 days; some will give up sweets or coffee. And many people will eat fish on Fridays.
What happens when we give up our favorite candy or dessert? Do we eat something else to make up for it, or do we have to work harder to not be tempted? Do we spend less time on our phones because we have given up Facebook?
All conversation and actions are of value, and I am not belittling any of this, but when this time of year comes around, I am always challenged to really understand what this season is all about. Is it about what I give up, or is it about who I turn to in the giving up?
The whole purpose of giving things up, is to more fully rely on God and meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus. Many times you will see these three words associated with Lent: Pray, Fast, Give. Jesus spent forty days in the desert, fasting, which is where this idea comes from. He prayed to His Father for all that he needed.
I heard a sermon in chapel in college, more than a few years ago, that challenged me to add something during Lent that helped me to focus on the teachings of Christ and what He did for me.
I have done this before and always been challenged to keep at it for the 40 days without making it a legalistic task.
This post is coming in my “How to Slow Down” series because of the challenge I have given myself to be in His Word everyday day, FIRST thing in the morning.
I’ve tried doing it when I first get to work, before I turn on my computer (and something always seems to come up).
I’ve tried before bed, and that’s a really bad idea, as I always fall asleep.
But every time that I have committed to sitting down with Scripture when I first wake up, I have always been thankful for that time. And when done first thing in the morning, my day starts slow and steady and with purpose, which includes perspective from God.
Starting tomorrow, I have chosen this book to be my devotional resource:
Throughout this season, I will be blogging reflections of what I am reading and meditating on in an effort to keep me accountable and also to truly digest and honor what Jesus has done for me.
My prayer for myself and for you in this Lenten journey, is that whether you choose to give something up or not; that you will turn to God and more fully focus on His love for you.