Ash Wednesday

In some ways today can seem a little like the new year. “What are you giving up for Lent?” can be a question not unlike, “What is your New Year’s resolution?”

It is easy to fall into the trap of, “this year I’m gonna get this spiritual stuff right!” and set our will power toward perfecting ourselves. I think self-perfection is on the minds of many of my colleagues in ministry. A friend from seminary blogged today in a concise and beautiful way about the trap of self-discipline becoming vanity. Another pastor blogged about her desire to give up perfectionism for Lent

If you’re wondering why we give up things at all Pastor Kester wrote a great (and thorough) post today.

As for me, I plan to observe Lent this year through our “Give Up and Give Back” campaign. I’ve given up chocolate and Chik-fil-a for Lent. Two of my greatest weaknesses! By not spending money to procure either chocolate or delicious chicken strips with Chick-fil-a sauce, I anticipate I’ll save at least $50 over the next 46 days. (Lent is 40 days, plus Sundays which are “feast days” and aren’t counted as part of Lent…so it is really 46 days that I’ll go without Chik-fil-a since they’re closed on Sundays!) I’ll bring whatever money I save to church to donate to Africa University and World Service. This will be a way to increase my giving beyond my tithe and support important ministries that might otherwise go unfunded!

Also, I’ve unplugged my T.V. Over the course of my life I’ve given up TV, facebook, radio in the car, caffeine, meat, and fasted from food on Fridays, among other things. Some years it was simply an act of willpower and not one of spiritual growth. Other years it was a means of grace that took me deeper into God’s love. I’m anticipating that this year I’ll experience some freedom by not letting myself mindlessly turn on the news and keep the TV on for hours. By being more intentional about how I spend my time I expect to draw closer to God and to others. After all, when there isn’t TV to distract me I’ll have more time to invest in what matters, loving God and others!

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2 Responses to Ash Wednesday

  1. Amy says:

    I think I might give up reading non-fiction for Lent. Think that’s too much fun for Lent? I’ve been reading so much theology and church stuff, that I think I need a more creative season in my life, so maybe I’ll fast from non-fiction for a while. Love this post, btw!!!

  2. christie says:

    I have found that longer I leave the tv off, the happier I become. Over the past few years, God has removed from me many desires, television included. I can sit and watch a show or a ball game with my husband (and usually enjoy it) but I don’t care one bit if the television is on or off. My children are hopefully developing a habit of mindfulness by not being surrounded by noises all day ~ they select a video to watch versus turning on the television and flipping channels. When it is ended, it is on to something else.
    I really like the idea of fasting from something to give to another as well ~

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