Tuesday, February 16, 2010

To Do or Not To Do - that is the question

I was asked by a good friend today, "So, what are you going to do or give up for Lent this year?" My answer, "Not sure."

My father has always been big about teaching that Lent is a great time to do something and not just give something up. Sure, sure, the tradition surrounding Lent is that you give something up as a sacrifice that reminds you of Christ's sacrifice for us. However, for many it turns out to be nothing more than a renewed diet plan following the lapse in the New Year's diet, thus defeating the purpose of giving something up to make more room for Christ in our lives.

And so, it's been several years since I've given something up for Lent. I've had years where I set out a more ambitious Scripture reading plan for Lent. There was the year that I decided to fast one meal a week (didn't turn out so well - I'm still learning the discipline of fasting). Then there was last year when I had Jacob at the start of Lent and unintentionally gave up sleep, a me-centered life and all semblance of structure.

Every year the thought crosses my mind that I should give up television to create more time for reading, prayer, reflection, rest and so much more. This thought is immediately followed by the dismissal of the idea because, after all, March Madness takes place during Lent and I'm not going to miss watching Duke in the ACC tournament and NCAA tournament (P.S. look out for the Richmond Spiders in this year's tournament - they made their way into the Top 25 this week for the first time in school history). Not only that, but this week American Idol pairs down to the top 24 and it starts to get exciting. Plus, NCIS is a must-watch because any day now Tony and Ziva are going to become a real item. Wow, maybe I have a problem.....

Well, I have to start somewhere - you're reading it here first and I expect all of you to hold me accountable. For Lent, I'm giving up The Biggest Loser, Brothers and Sisters, House and all other television outside of Duke and Richmond basketball, American Idol and NCIS. You may think that's a cop-out, but it balances to only an average of an hour of tv a day. In its place, I plan to read more, journal more, pray more, catch-up with friends and family more, etc.

In addition, it's time to conquer the discipline of fasting. I'm fasting one day a week and I won't be sharing which day b/c that needs to be between me and God. During my fasting, I will spend the time I would use for eating to pray and serve. My prayer is that God would show me with fresh ears, eyes and heart just how much I need the cross and lead me once again to stand in awe and worship of Jesus Christ.

Now, I didn't share all of that to demonstrate my holiness, but rather to talk you through my process and potentially aid you in your own. What is God asking you to and not to do this season? As we walk with Jesus toward the cross, what are you praying that God will teach you and show you?

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