Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Break

Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter started yesterday, Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance. I grew up in a church that didn't really place a whole lot of emphasis on this days. Palm Sunday and Easter-that was celebrating the season. I think I missed out on something. A lot of denominations focus on a Lenten fast, where you give something up for the entire season of Lent. Fasting has mostly been associated with food. Going without a meal to "fast and pray". A good number of people give up caffeine, sugar or chocolate during Lent. I have never been good with food fasts-I tend to be more distracted by my hunger and perceived weakness than I am able to focus on prayer.

My husband works late hours- 11:30 PM is his usual come home time. I wait up for him every night. My kids wind down and are in bed by 7-7:30 (they read and listen to Adventures in Odyssey before falling asleep an hour later). That makes for a lot of hours alone. I have fallen into the habit of eating, exercising, devotions after the kids go to bed. All this (excluding devotions) done in front of my computer while I'm watching some video online. Sometimes I watch great documentaries but lately have been falling into the trap of watching network TV online. We do watch videos but have given up watching "TV" about 10 years ago. Both my husband and I have addictive tendency to media so we easily fall into the trap of watching just to watch. Hence, the reason to give it up altogether.

I really didn't remember that yesterday was Ash Wednesday but all day I was contemplating the felt need to be in a "spirit of prayer" You see when I waste my time on this computer all night, I give the leftovers to my time with God. So this year for the first time during Lent, I am giving something up. This will be a great sacrifice on my part, which is the whole idea. I am powering down my computer from 7:00 PM-until the next morning. I think fasting should be done in private, but I need some accountability. If people know what I'm doing, I'm more likely to stick with it. If you grew up in a tradition similar to mine, I encourage you to look again at Lent. Be daring and try something new.

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