Monday, April 13, 2009

Lent Doesn't Do It For Me

Lent is over for a lot of people. It never started with me, as I don’t necessarily believe in it. That statement got attention at my Home Group, where people gave up things like wine, alcohol, sugar, etc.

I used to be deliberately contrary and add things for 40 days, as opposed to giving anything up. One year I added an ab workout that I did for 40 days (as opposed to only when I went to the gym) and the resulting core strength continues to serve me well. Last year I decided way before Lent that I was reading the Bible straight through, which I continued until I was done (and then turned around and started all over again.)

But as I was trying to explain myself to my church peeps, when you give something up for 40 days, it turns into more of an aggravation for me, a Why Can’t I Have This Battle of Self Discipline rather than something that draws one closer to God.

Not to mention the fact that Jesus didn’t give anything up for 40 days on his merry way to Jerusalem to be crucified. And yes, I know he was led into the dessert to be tempted for 40 days, but that’s not the same thing to me. I’d be more willing to do that if it came in the middle of the year for no reason, and some church authority said This Is The Season Where We Fast Because Jesus Was Tempted In The Desert For 40 Days And We Think It’s Somewhere Around Here In The Calendar Year As Opposed To A Pagan Religion That We Co-Opted.

I mean, honestly, I don’t need a religion to deny myself something for 40 days. I am the master of self discipline AND a masochist to boot. If there’s something on the horizon to work towards, I’ll totally do it. I gave up alcohol for a month until I got on the cruise, to make it extra special. Other times, I’ve given up sugar until Christmas, or carbs to get down to a size 6 (I overshot and hit size 4 instead.)

And as far as drawing closer to God, I work on that all day every day too, this blog being the best evidence of that.

I certainly don’t think any less of my many friends who did give something up, or my friends who did Lent, but gave themselves breaks every Sunday. To each their own, I guess.

Maybe I’ll try fasting Fridays. Or the Daniel diet. Or maybe I’ll just go in the backyard and say Yo God, What’s Up.

Because I think all are equally valid.


Patty Jean Robinson said...

I <3 you.

I really like the idea of adding something to enrich your life for 40 days instead of making yourself suffer for 40 days. Hmmm. You are inspiring.

aartilla the fun said...


i don't see lent as a time of suffering or self-flagellation... for me, it's actually a joyous time, because every time i get a pang of "oh man i wish i could have (whatever)", i remember who i'm giving it up for, and i get all happy again. :) i really felt that when i did the Daniel Fast at the beginning of the year.

i also think that Lent is more about the body of Christ than just the individual. there's something magical, bond-creating when people ALL OVER THE WORLD are at the very same time giving something up (or adding something to their lives) in the name of Christ, the King who reigns over us all, for our true Father. while i'm giving up TV here in LA, my sister in India is giving up meat. and then we have something that bonds us in a deeper way than we can ever put in words. does that make sense?