Why would a girl, who grew up Baptist, be writing about or participating in Lent? Well, here is my explanation. I became interested in it a few days ago and began thinking about it and researching it. This is what I found:
"During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence. Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by the Devil. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent for Roman Catholics and most mainline Reformed and Protestant traditions. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial."
So, taking some time to think about it, I decided that I was going to participate. I had my doubts but I think that my decision is based on the heart. You see, Lent is basically the practice of giving up something to focus on Christ; His sacrifice and what He did for us. When it becomes a strict rule, or legalistic, then you have missed the point. It isn't about successfully completing 40 Days without something. It is about giving something up that takes away focus from Jesus.
I do not like being vulnerable or super honest about my struggles and life (pride issues)… but, I am using this blog to share and show what I will be giving up for a few reasons. The first reason is because sin in the darkness cannot receive healing. It must be brought out into the light for restoration and sanctification to occur. Also, we are called to confess our sins. Some sins seem worse than others-- I am sure once I share what I struggle with that many people will think… that isn't THAT bad. But a sin is a sin is a sin… and when anything takes my eyes off of Jesus and onto it… then it is serious. And lastly, because we are called to walk beside others and live life in community. I am unsure about this next 40 Days and will need constant accountability, encouragement and prayer. However, I am sure of and thankful for two things… grace and Jesus. He is better. So if giving something up for Lent wasn't a struggle then I would say that you should probably reconsider your choice in what to give up. Because, what I see Lent as, is when we give something up…. because we want more of Jesus and see Him as being more satisfying.
So…. after much deliberation, I have decided to give up sweets (desserts/snacks) for Lent. My reasoning? No, it isn't because I want to lose weight. No, it isn't because bathing suit weather is right around the corner. I have chosen this because embarrassingly enough I have noticed that I turn to food (especially sweets) when times get tough. I listen to the lies of the enemy and run to eat my feelings instead of dealing with them and laying them before the Father. So when I hear, "You aren't good enough.", "No one will love you!", "You have nothing and will be alone forever… you might as well eat."… I will go before my Beloved and receive the truths He has promised!! It will be hard. I will want to cheat. I may even fail… but I think this is a beautiful picture of how our relationship with the Lord is. We may fail… but there is grace. We may turn to things other than our Father in times of struggle and weakness… but there is forgiveness. Some of you may feel charged to join me in this season of Lent and refocus your eyes on Jesus. Some of you may not feel that this is the time for that or that it doesn't need to be in that time setting. All of that is great… because above achieving a successful Lent, tearing away from destructive addictive behavior and looking "good and put together"… having Jesus is more important. So fast for a week… fast for a day… fast for the next hour…. but see Jesus as good and precious and BETTER!! That is what we are called to do!
"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You." -Psalm 63:3