For years I have scorned and scoffed during the Lenten season as friends, classmates and others I know have given up “sweets,” Facebook, and a number of other things that – from my perspective – are trite. The purpose, after all, is to give up something that is getting in the way of our relationship with Christ.
So this year as Lent approaches, I’ve begun to question – what is getting in the way of my relationship with Christ? And as I self-examine, I find that my anger, my sorrow and my fear are getting in the way. In short, I need an attitude adjustment. I need to let go of negativity. I need to focus more on Christ.
So how do I do this? In my thought and prayer and reflection, I have come to the conclusion that while the intentional focus of attitude change is important, pulling closer to Christ will pull my further from these daily struggles.
In a message this past fall, Andy VomSteeg of New Vintage Church offered the 30 day challenge. His challenge was to read the Bible for 15 minutes every day for 30 days. I think he said something along the lines of “you can take a break on Saturday.” I think I’m going to adopt this for myself, except I’m going to make it 40 days. It only takes 15 days to make a habit, right?
So how will I hold accountable to this? Every day I read, I’m going to write down at least one verse that stands out to me, put it on a card and hang it on my wall. Then I’m going to (even briefly) journal about the verse. After I do this, first thing in the morning, I’m going to pray. I’m going to pray for a positive day, a chance to make a difference, and the people that are important to me.
I don’t say any of this to be all “look-at-me, look-at-me!” I say this because I know there are many out there who need this support, this encouragement. I know that many people need to be challenged. Maybe you do not actively practice Lent, maybe you’re struggling in your faith. I think it is important that if one is going to recognize Lent, it is important to recognize it for what it is, for what it should be, not for what it has become.