So what exactly is Lent? Here is the definition as defined by Encylopedia Britanica:
Lent, in the Christian church, a period of penitential preparation for Easter. In Western churches it begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter, and provides for a 40-day fast (Sundays are excluded), in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. In Eastern churches Lent begins on the Monday of the seventh week before Easter and ends on the Friday that is nine days before Easter. This 40-day “Great Lent” includes Saturdays and Sundays as relaxed fast days.
Many Christian churches today practice Lent and many others don’t. I knew about Lent as a child because we casually attended Catholic church as did many members of my family. As we grew older, my family went to an evangelical church where Lent was not practiced.
Once I became an adult, I often thought about this practice as insignificant and just ritualistic. And for many people, that’s exactly what it is to them. But it wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I began to look at Lent a little differently, though I currently attend a non-denominational church where Lent is not practiced.
I also watched closely the part of the story where Jesus didn’t defend himself when arrested and willingly allowed himself to be crucified for us. For me.
I had seen the movie previously, but for some reason it stirred something different in me this time. After that, I began to really think about what Jesus had done and I wanted to, in some small way, show my deep appreciation.
That is basically the meaning behind Lent, at least for me. So I took a look at my life and realized that I had a hard time saying no to a few things. Namely sweets. Cookies, candies, cakes, donuts, ice cream, etc.
While this may not seem like a big deal to you, it certainly was for me. Can anyone say Sugar Addict?
I chose to give up all sweet treats for the season of Lent. Yikes. I had often tried to give these up on my own at other various times for health reasons, but I was never very successful. But this time I had a greater purpose behind it.
So I began my sweet-treat fast. It was a bit challenging at first, but I must say that as time went on, my resolve was greater and each time I turned down a cookie, I was thanking God and thinking of Him. It became a reason for me to be in constant communion with the Lord.
To some this may seem silly. But as I continued on with the fast until Easter, I was steadfast and felt not only good about myself physically because of the sugary treat avoidance benefits, but I felt good spiritually as well.
I felt I had the power to carry on without giving into temptation because He was helping me. Doing this in my own strength and for my own purpose never seemed to work out. But doing this for Him, was wonderful!
For the last 6 years I have given up sweet-treats for Lent. It has been good for me. And I see how God has used this to help me break my sugar addictions.
After the continual holidays with cookies and candies, etc, I am usually in sugar overload. So Lent is the perfect time for me to reset.
Reset my body and my soul.
I am encouraging you to think about your life and the things you struggle with giving up. Whether it is a food, a drink, a behavior, an object or device. Whatever it is, consider giving it up for Lent.
Each time you don’t do that particular thing, you are saying Thank You to God and you are allowing yourself to build more of a connection with Him.