How Will Your Lent Be Spent?

“What are you giving up for Lent this year?” Steve asked.

After a brief hesitation and some quick thinking I replied, “Deep-fried foods. I love them so much! Too much. French fries, cheese sticks, mushrooms, pickles….mmm… Giving them up is a huge sacrifice. And that’s the point of Lent, right? Giving up something that’s important to me. ”


I knew that fasting from those delectable treats was going to be good for me. I even remember thinking that I might lose some weight during Lent. And I was treating my body more like a temple of the Holy Spirit! I was sure that God was glorified through my decision to abstain.

But honestly, I also knew that if Steve wouldn’t have asked me what I was giving up, I wouldn’t have engaged in any type of a fast for Lent. I can say now that I did it mostly to fit in. And it was a pretty selfish move. Really missing the point of Lent altogether. Lent isn’t about fitting in. Or bettering ourselves. Or simply stepping out of the normal for a while before Easter. In that time of my life, that’s mostly how I saw it.

But the season of Lent is so much more. Here’s how I see it now:

A Hunger for something more than simple food can give. The strongest desire for healing, forgiveness, comfort, hope, peace, understanding, clarity. To know that God is real. That God is present in our lives. To recognize our absolute dependence on Christ. To be fed with the Bread of Life.

A Mirror that reflects what the world sees. That shows us the effects of the choices we’ve made. That can help us see the broken people that we are and the need for Jesus to be our Savior. The mirror can also help us see ourselves the way Christ does. As a broken and loved and forgiven child of God. Made whole through the Salvation that Jesus brings us on the cross.

A CT Scan that helps us examine the deepest parts of ourselves. That accesses the heart of our faith in Christ. That helps us understand the ways that we’re called to be the Body of Christ in the world.

A Retreat from the noise of life. Time and space to “be”. To settle the mind and body. To focus on the soul. To reconnect to the heart of Christ.

In his blog post, Lent is About Space, Glenn Packiam discusses how fasting helps to create space in which we can clearly see God and ourselves. It explores why fasting during Lent can be such a sincere and powerful thing.

Recognizing that space and fasting are deeply connected would have helped me better reply to Steve. The answer would have considered the soul, not just the body. My focus would have been about creating time and space to engage with God. My answer would have been about ways that I could truly reflect on God’s promises, my need for grace, and the new life that Christ gives through the cross. Making the most of Lent’s 40 days to do it.

Having journeyed through many Lents since…after really creating space during Lenten seasons, my perspective is far different than when Steve and I had our fried-food exchange.

So, how will your Lent be spent? Fasting? Praying? Meditation? Study? Serving?

How can you help your worshiping community create space during the season of Lent?

How can you encourage your worship ministry members to engage in a Lenten fast that is more than an obligation (or self-improvement)?

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