Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thinking About Lent + BQOTD

I've blogged about Lent several times over the past few years (See "Spring--New Every Morning" and "The Power of the Cross" for my Lenten posts from last year), but as always, I have more to say, mostly inspired by some posts I've been reading around the blogosphere about Lent coupled with where I'm at in my own life at the moment. 

So. Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is typically observed by Catholic churches, as well as by some Protestant churches. It marks the 40 days prior to Easter, and is in observance of the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert while being tempted. Being that the Lutheran church is probably one of the closest denominations to the Catholic church, Lent is definitely something that we grew up observing (my favorite way was with Holden Evening Prayer, which I really miss and wish I could find a church locally that does it--if you've never heard it, you can listen to the first part here).

Although it's typically observed in the Lutheran church with mid-week services, not all Lutherans give something up for Lent (J doesn't), but I usually do choose to give something up and the reasons are several-fold for me. First of all, it helps me realize how dependent and attached I am on worldly things. I mean, if Jesus were alive today and said, "Hey Mere--are you ready to leave everything behind and follow me?" I'd probably respond, "Heck yes! Hang on just a second and let me grab my camera to document this experience. And my phone to tweet about it. And my secret stash of chocolate...'cause I know it's gonna get hard and I'm gonna want to do some emotional eating!"

You know I'm poking a little fun at myself there, but there's a lot of truth in that too. For me, choosing to give something up for Lent (not because I have to, but because I want to) is a tangible reminder of the sacrifice that Christ made for me. Every year, I find the experience of choosing to give something up along with meditating on the much greater sacrifice that Jesus made at Calvary to be a really good reminder in my own life. For me, it helps breathe life into the words that God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

It isn't about an obligation to prove to God and to others that I deserve the sacrifice that Jesus made for me on the cross. I don't deserve it, and no matter what I were to do, I won't ever deserve it...I love what Cynthia Heald said in Becoming A Woman of Simplicity--that the gospel of salvation is Jesus + Nothing. In other words, nothing else can be done to earn our salvation. As she said, "the doing has already been done."

I always struggle with how much to share about my own personal Lenten journey on my blog. About whether or not that experience is something to share with others or something  that should be kept mostly between me and God. I don't agree with a few of the blog posts I've seen floating around that say that if you're giving something up for Lent, you shouldn't talk about it at all, with anyone. I believe that if you choose to observe Lent, and you get the most out of your Lenten journey by relying on God alone, that’s fine. But if someone else gets the most out of their Lenten journey by being encouraged by others that God has put in their lives, that’s okay too. We’re not called to one above the other Biblically. Honestly, I think that either one can just as easily turn into something that we do to puff ourselves up rather that something that's done to glorify and honor God. 

Because really, it's for the glory of God. That should be the bottom line, right?

What do you think? Do you observe Lent? Do you choose to give something up?


  1. I think as far as Lent goes, that it can be shared what you are giving up. I agree with you there. I almost wonder if the blog posts you've read are more referring to people fasting and sharing that they are fasting... (or maybe they are confused that you CAN share about Lent but not about fasting?)

    I could be wrong, but I think you aren't supposed to that you are fasting and I've seen tons of facebook posts/blog posts about it recently. I should probably do more research before I open my mouth about that, but I feel like I learned that at one point.

    Anyway, just my two cents. I am also observing Lent, and I need to figure out what to give up. I'm a day behind, I know... but we have our Ash Wednesday service tonight and I hope the Lord reveals to me sometime today/tonight what He'd like me to give up for the next 6 weeks.

  2. I don't recall ever giving anything up for Lent, but this year it was blatantly obvious what I needed to give up, and at 10 minutes 'til midnight last night, I decided to give up Twitter. While some may chuckle, I find myself constantly...CONSTANTLY...throughout the day checking up and tweeting and just wasting so much time. Especially with Ethan walking now, and the weather hopefully starting to get nicer, I want to spend more time outside...outside of the house, yes, but outside of the "internet world" that I'm so sucked into, and so Twitter it was. Even just this morning, I've noticed a difference. I made a breakfast beyond frozen waffles, I played with Ethan, and dove right into my daily devos without a single glance at Twitter. ;)

  3. I've always been taught that Lent is supposed to be a sacrifice (e.g. "I love carbs and so I want to give them up during Lent because I know that it will be hard for me," not "I'm giving up carbs for Lent because I know I'll lose weight"), so that's what I'm doing for Lent. I'm committing myself of 40 days of dissertation writing. It sounds rough because, well, it will be. It's something I don't want to do, and have no real motivation to get it done anytime soon, but I know that it will test my devotion and willingness to commit to something. It's practical, because I need to do this writing at some point, and it's sacrificial, because I'm going to need to prioritize around the writing (something that I've never done before). I think it will make the journey interesting, meaningful, and personally relevant.

    Here's hoping. <3 And Amen on Holden!

  4. Good thoughts. =) I have a friend who gave up social media last year for was really good for her. I didn't give anything up this year for Lent. I usually never do, never really thought about it.

  5. Great post! I agree, if talking about lent encourages someone else - or even gets them *thinking* about the sacrifice God made for them - it's worth it. I am not Catholic or Luthern, but I still observe Lent. I observe the meaning, the sacrifice, the repentence. It's more than 1/2 through the day and I haven't figure out yet what I'm giving up. My heart is telling me chocolate. But can I *really* live 40 days without chocolate. Especially when there is a delicious bag of Dove Milk Chocolates sitting in my pantry and 10 boxes of GS cookies that just came home with my daughter.
    I look forward to keeping up with your journey!

  6. I think you should feel free to blog about your Lenten journey. Especially if you feel called to do so.

    I chose to give up something for Lent every few years. Because I grew up Baptist, giving something up was never a major part of Lent. But I do see the value in the sacrifice and I definitely think Lent is an important part of our spiritual walk.


Thanks for visiting La Buena Vida and taking the time to leave a comment--I love hearing from you!

Please know that you do not need to agree with me in order to leave a comment! All comments that are respectful and not anonymous will be published. Thanks again for visiting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.