Yes. Do that.

Ash Wednesday was yesterday, and for those of us who practice it and look for it, the Lenten advice is flying. What to give up? What to sacrifice? What to add to your life that would be meaningful and God-honoring? Why Lent in the first place? What’s the point? Shouldn’t we be drawing closer to God every day, celebrating Resurrection?

What to do for Lent

It’s a lot to take in.

After all these years, one simple homily repeats itself in my mind when Lent rolls around. God doesn’t want my chocolate.  He doesn’t want the superficial. He doesn’t want a 40 day countdown back to bad habits.

He does want more of me, though. He wants me on my knees, clinging to the cross, honoring His will for my life. In order to know that will, I need to draw closer. Every day, for sure, but there’s something about a 40-day focus. A 40-day walk in the desert, hand in hand. A renewal in effort and commitment. An intensive time of prayer and sacrifice.

If you’re in the “I don’t need no stinkin’ Lent” camp, good for you. Hats off for your daily drawing close, 24/7/365. Kudos to you for having nothing in your life that interrupts or supersedes your most important relationship, use of time, and focus. I stand impressed.

And broken, because that’s not me. This world, my daily to-do, the unending input from all directions, pulls at me. I need to refocus. I need 40 days of giving up of myself and my will to remember His ultimate sacrifice and discern His will for my life. I need to be brought to my knees. I need to draw close. I need renewal.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you do for Lent.

If giving up chocolate draws you close, do that.

If limiting or eliminating your Facebook time sets your priorities straight, do that.

If getting up earlier to read The Word helps you focus your day and reset your habits, do that.

If serving at the local food bank an hour a week reminds you of your abundant blessings, do that.

If dedicating extra time in prayer for friends and family draws you to your knees, do that.

If turning off your iPhone a few hours a day would be a blessing to your family, do that.

If adding change to a donation jar with every foul word or thought makes you more mindful of your words and thoughts, do that.

If attending a weekly Bible study enlightens your understanding of The Word, do that.

If deleting toxic relationships from your online life frees your mind and heart, do that.

Whatever draws you close. Whatever makes you cling to the cross. Whatever has you in knots of glorious Easter anticipation. Yes. Do that.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. So well said, Amy. And this? “If you’re in the “I don’t need no stinkin’ Lent” camp, good for you. Hats off for your daily drawing close, 24/7/365. Kudos to you for having nothing in your life that interrupts or supersedes your most important relationship, use of time, and focus. I stand impressed.”

    Snort. I laughed out loud. We all know that person doesn’t exist. ;)

  2. Michelle says:

    Fantastic – as always! Thank you!

  3. Angie France says:

    Where is Lent found in the Bible? It’s not. Just religious nonsense taking away from what we are to do. God never told you to do any of this. SMH

    • I’m with you, Angie! These are man made laws not ordained by God. We are not to add or subtract from the word of God. Is there a time for prayer and fasting, yes, but there is no Lent commandment in the Bible. The Pharisee vibe is pulsing strong through this post.

      • Jennifer says:

        Wow, ladies. I think you totally took this the wrong way. I think Amy was simply encouraging people to do whatever draws them closer to the heart of God. She’s letting people know that it’s ok to not follow all the must-dos that people tend to think of when it comes to Lent.

        “God never told you to do any of this.” Really? No prayer? No serving? No Bible study? No focus on priorities? Lent may not be a commandment, but it’s a season to encourage people to focus back in on what really matters.

  4. Thank you.

  5. Having not grown up in a denomination that celebrated Lent, I always wondered “why?” Most of what I saw of those that “did” Lent was superficial at best, and the attitudes that went with it down right sacrilegious. And as soon as Lent was over, all went on as before. But I appreciate your post very much. The Lord deserves so much more than we give. And it isn’t the adding, subtracting or anything else that is done during the Lent season. It is our heart! And this should be an attitude we have year long. But as you stated so beautifully, life sometimes just keeps us from focusing as we should. Taking time out to purpose for a season an attitude of drawing close to the Lord is always a good thing, whether Lent or any other time of year. A few of the comments above are hitting hard that the Bible doesn’t teach Lent. They are right. But I don’t appreciate the attitude with which their comments appear. The Bible doesn’t teach Christmas either! We have the story of Christ’s birth, but it is we who have made it a celebration. The Bible does teach a heart change. That can come anytime of the year, at any place. For those of you choosing to celebrate Lent with the heart and attitude written above in your post–blessings on you. To those who see it as one more burden or joke to be endured, trudge away and quickly go back to your old ways. Your heart was never wanting the change. To those of us wanting a heart check up, Lent or not, stay close. Focus. Get close to the Lord and don’t let go.

    • Yes, yes, and yes. Intentionally doing activities that bring us into deeper conversion and, perhaps more importantly, into deeper relationship with a Heavenly Father who loves us so very much is profound.

    • Rhoda, Sorry my last comment accidentally ended up attached to your post!

      I will say, I agree very much with your comment. I think that there is the potential to do very superficial activities that do not draw us to God, there is the potential also to really grow. I think we have to select behaviors that push the envelope, and we have to be intentional about connecting them to our spiritual dimension, otherwise, it just becomes another activity on the chore list.

    • ” The Lord deserves so much more than we give.” Yes! During Lent and always. I do appreciate these 40 days to push the envelope on what I can and should give.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Love this Amy. This is exactly why I celebrate Lent.

  7. Aaaaaaaaamen! :)

  8. Wow Amy – I admire you courage in writing that post. It was truly inspiring to me. Having grown up Catholic and attending Catholic schools for 12 years, I truly believe it is not in what you give up for Lent, but what you can give more of you in the end. I’m in the camp of why do we give things up? It really bothers me when people post on Facebook now what they are giving up? Really? They want a pat on the back for giving something up? Last time I checked, God wasn’t on Facebook, he is in your heart and mind, and that is who you should be true to!

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Amy! I found and read this when reading up on posts and putting together ideas for a blog of my own, and enjoyed yours so much that I decided to share a link to it in my blog. Loved reading what you had to say!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Yes, Do That :: If you’ve ever wondered what this whole Lent thing is all about or if you just need a perspective that’s not legalistic, you must read this. […]

  2. […] I probably should have done a long time ago. But as Amy said last week on The Finer Things in Life: Yes, do that. Of course, some people might look at this and say “Why don’t you just skip a meal?” As a […]

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