Wednesday, March 5, 2014

No Excuses for Lent

I don't know about you, but I didn't grow up observing Lent.

Lent was for the Catholics and all I knew was they had fish on Fridays. 

We celebrated Easter. The death and resurrection of Christ. Sure, we dyed our hard-boiled eggs with Grandma on Good Friday and then hunted for those same eggs hidden all over Grandpa's yard along with receiving Easter baskets on Sunday but I always knew what Easter meant.

But fast forward a bunch of years and I'm now just scratching the surface of Lent and what it is and how it is meant to prepare our hearts to celebrate even more the eternal life giving gift of Christ's sacrifice.

Celebrate. That is one of my words this year. To celebrate. 

Let me be honest. 

I don't feel like I can say yes to one more thing. I'm already failing at a lot. Menu planning the last couple of weeks- down the drain. Connecting with real live people- hmm, not so good. Guard your yeses and your no's will take care of themselves. Except that is the worst thing in the whole wide world. Why would I say no to having a closer relationship to Jesus? 

I also have a giant defiant streak, so part of me is all "Well, I don't have to." (I've pulled this one a lot and I think I've missed out on the richness of simple devotion.)

And being real, real honest? I can find an excuse for anything. (see above and below) "It's not good for me to fast with all the running I'm doing." Actually, that's true. Physically, it wouldn't be healthy for me to make dramatic cuts in my calorie consumption so skipping any meal is a no-go for me. (Oh my word! Just being honest, friends.)

I'm not sure where I'm going to land on this whole thing. There are other ways to fast. And even though it is Ash Wednesday, which I don't know what that means, and I had to google "when does Lent start" and it said today, I don't think its too late for me. 

In my well-honed tendency, I have taken something as simple as the idea of 'less of me, more of Him' and turned it into a big complicated task. GAH! 

I could really use this, don't you think?

So here is where I'm going to start. Reading this devotional and spending time in prayer. It's a really good place to start. 

I want to set aside the skepticism, the stubbornness, the whatever and just do this. I got here not in an abrupt manner but rather He has been leading me to this point. This is a matter of setting aside all the above because I can and I should (I've got probs and I want to love Him more). It's not an obligation. However, if I can discipline myself to run 5 days a week for 16 weeks for two races(that's one third of the year), I think I ought to give myself over to this much more important matter for forty days. 

Here are the places I've visited in the last week trying to wrap my head around this. 
Cornerstone's blog- A Glad Surrender (which I will be following their devotional)
This guide to fasting and prayer as suggested by my church
Life In Grace's post about Lent. 
A Holy Experience's Lent suggestions. It's the same every year but this year I just might make a Jesus tree. Maybe.

What about for you? What is your experience with Lent? What resources do you use? What  are you thoughts? (And if you feel like brave, what are your excuses?) 


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