Lent is upon us and you good and faithful ones are posting your Lenten observances all over Facebook.
And I love this.
I love that my friends and families are being so public with their relationship with God and the church! And I love that you allow people to walk that journey with you- and that perhaps you may be inspired by the devotion of someone you know.
But I have to wonder, how much does your Lenten devotion nourish your spiritual life? Are you really wishing for God to work something new in you, or is it the same ol’ same ol’ Lenten practice?
Or to pose it this way: Is what you are giving up or taking on actually doing anything in your life?
At St. Mary’s we are using a program out of England called 40Acts of Generosity to guide us in Lent. It gives you prompts each day to dive into generosity- in sharing with others at the expense of yourself- as a way of growing closer to God and your community. And each morning you are given three options to choose from: easy, medium and hard.
Exploring Lent through a lens of generosity and inconvenience, I am beginning to wonder if our Lenten disciplines have been set on easy for too long. Maybe it’s time for us to explore a medium or even hard route.
So for those of you giving up chocolate…maybe a way to dig in deeper would be to give chocolate to someone each day? Not just abstain yourself, but give with joy that which causes you to be tempted.
For those of you adding on giving up plastic water bottles for Lent…maybe also spend time each week picking up the littered bottles and trash that is all around us?
Ask yourself this: am I really challenging myself? Does this really stretch me? Does this practice really allow for God to change me?
Maybe giving up chocolate alone does. But if it doesn’t, I can’t encourage you enough to be open to pushing yourself into a true place of temptation and challenge.
Great post! Traditionally (I learned yesterday), the money saved from the things you abstain from during Lent is given to the needy. Just a thought for those who give up chocolate or Starbucks or whatever.
Also we must be mindful if, IF, the thing we give up and/or take on is truly bringing us closer to God as we walk with him? How does giving up chocolate accomplish that? If you can answer that question honestly, then go for it!