Growing up, I never observed Lent. I was raised in the church of Christ and we certainly don't observe it as a whole body like, I believe, Catholics do. I have not found Lent commanded in the bible anywhere and I know some people may believe observing something like this could be "adding to the Word" (Revelation 22:18) and is wrong. But I don't think there is anything wrong with it.
I have, however, read a lot in the Bible about fasting. Jesus himself fasted in the beginning of Matthew 4. And He talked about how we should fast in Matthew 6:16-18. The point of lent is to fast from something so that it brings you closer to God. That looks a little different for everybody. For me, it means I give something up and every time I think about that thing, I pray instead. It also means I have more time in my day to focus on God and His Word when I'm not wasting time away on the pointless activities I'm fasting from.
So I've thought long and hard about what I'm going to give up for Lent and I've come across a few issues.
I'm already eating healthy and I've cut out all junk food, regular soda, and everything else bad for me thanks to the 21 Day Fix (I talked about that in my February goals post). And I'm already planning on continuing this healthy lifestyle after the 21 Day Fix is over so giving this sort of stuff up for Lent wouldn't mean anything. I suppose I could give up coffee but that would just make my 21 Day Fix challenge even harder. And since it's allowed in the 21 Day Fix, it can't be that bad for me anyway, right?
The next biggest thing that people give up for Lent and that takes a lot of my time is technology and social media. Well, I'm a blogger. And sure I could give all that up and just take a break from blogging for Lent but I've already committed to hosting the #LoveBlog challenge for all of February on Instagram and for several more days in February on my blog. I'm not going to leave Brita hanging. Besides, I really want to continue to work on my blog right now. I'm in a good place and loving it.
Then I found this article which is technically ideas for teens, but a lot of them were very applicable to myself. But as I read through the article, I kept dismissing each idea with phrases like "I can't do that" or "That's too hard." Then I realized I was missing the point.
So I've decided I am going to give up...
Netflix.Now notice I'm not giving up TV in general. Or Hulu. Pearson and I will continue to watch our weekly shows, but I'm giving up binge watching shows just to fill up time. I am currently binge watching Gilmore Girls, New Girl, and The Mindy Project (which is technically on Hulu, not Netflix). I would watch them while I try to blog or just to veg out in the evenings when Pearson wasn't home and it was just wasting time. I can work so much better when I'm not watching anything. And when I have nothing else to do, I would rather read than binge watch TV shows anyway.
*I will, however, make an exception for Fuller House which comes to Netflix on February 26th. I've been looking forward to this for months since it was announced but in a way you could definitely say I've been looking forward to it my whole life. It's only one season so it really won't take up that much time. I'll set aside a day (like Saturday the 27th) and probably watch the whole thing that day.
Music.No I'm not giving up music completely. I would go crazy. I am giving up all music outside of the Christian genre. I need to stop filling my mind with junk just like I needed to stop filling my body with junk. And when I listen to Christian music, especially a cappella worship music, I always feel so renewed and fresh. I want that all the time. I will also allow myself to listen to non-lyric music when I work. Classical and other instrumental music always helps me concentrate.
The Snooze Button.I already failed on this one today. But I will say, I only slept about 30 minutes past the first time my alarm went off. Sometimes it's like an hour. What will help me avoid hitting the snooze button in the morning is being in bed by 11:00 every night. 10:30 if I want to read.
My Phone.No, I'm not completely giving up my phone. I talked about why I don't want to do that at the beginning of this post. But I am going to leave it in the other room during work hours. I'll allow myself to check it and maybe post on social media on my lunch break. But other than that, it's not near me at all from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
So tell me, do you think I'm giving up too much?
I don't think so. I think all this is very manageable and I will have more time and energy to focus on things that are better for me. This Lent season I will focus on God, getting my work done (instead of procrastinating and being distracted), and starting my days off refreshed and ready (instead of starting late and being rushed all day).
Are you giving anything up for Lent? What is it and how will it bring you closer to God?
Thanks for reading!