Month: February 2017

Not giving up my chocolate, coffee, or knitting for Lent

I told my husband this morning while we were getting ready for work that I have decided what to give up for Lent this year. Last year I tried abstaining from chocolate (which became easier when I read in the fine print of the liturgical calendar that the Sundays of Lent don’t count in the 40 days and therefore you can sneak in your chosen item of abstinence on those days).

Let me pause and say that observing Lent and giving up something I enjoy in order to focus more on God during Lent is something I did not grow up doing in small Southern Baptist churches. It is all pretty new, but something worth investing in. And, if I have misrepresented or sounded irreverent about that “loophole” in the previous paragraph, I sincerely apologize. Trade secret: a little apparent irreverence is sometimes a device to get readers’ interest.

Back to this morning: I told Jeff, “It isn’t a food or drink, which I’m happy about.” I have to give him credit for his good guess. He named something as difficult for me to abstain from as chocolate or coffee. “Knitting?”

“Wow, that would be difficult,” I answered. “No, it’s my music, and in the car is the setting that will be most affected.” I went on to explain that 40 days without TV themes to Airwolf and The Virginian and The Brady Bunch may be long enough for those songs not to run in my head anyway, even though they aren’t playing through the speakers.

Revival: isn’t that sort of what Lent is about?*

Revival has a lot to do with clearing one’s mind. It is coming to a place of such openness (to God’s voice) and obedience that – while not losing one speck of memory or of wisdom gained from life experience – one purposes to know nothing and to expect nothing (expect nothing specific other than to grow in love and in faith, and to see God work). It’s like what happened to me on the way to work this morning: I just felt new and very uninterested in starting the day steeping myself in (or worrying about) whatever I was thinking about yesterday and last night.

Aside: I almost lumped “identity” in with memory and experience as things we can retain while determining to know nothing and to expect nothing specific. But, I reconsidered. Losing or revising our identity is something we must look at if we’re talking about seriously realigning our life and purpose with God’s total plan. There are many references in Scripture** to transforming one’s identity. Something to consider.

What do I hope to gain by losing my music fun for 40 days? Valuable silence. The ability to recognize a “burning bush” if God sets one in front of me. Losing our interest in silence as a virtue and losing our determination to achieve silence as a catalyst for thinking, meditating, praying, and opening our minds to God’s leading is a societal development that has had dire consequences. We need to get silence back.

Later today I will mark my calendar with a reminder about abstaining from my playlists. Is there something special you’re thinking of doing to honor and to proclaim the crucified, risen Christ during Lent this year? Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 1.

*”Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock.” Source
**For example: Romans 12:1-2, Luke 17:33, Ephesians 4:22-24, Galatians 2:20-21