I can hear Queen Elsa singing as I type this. I shiver thinking of the ice and snow she shoots from her finger tips. And I am hitting myself in the head as I try to get the ear-worm out of my grey matter (you know, that tune that just bounces around in your head no matter how hard you try to eliminate it).
So, trying to ignore that tune, I am writing a personal challenge for you to ponder on what are you doing about the season of Lent. Now before you cry out, “Lent! That’s not a Baptist tradition. What are you getting at, pastordude?” True … it’s pretty much been ignored by many. But the concept is pretty powerful. Through fasting, penance, denial of ego, almsgiving and more, one prepares themselves. But for what, and how?
Lent: a time to let something go during the 40 plus days before Easter. One lets something go to focus on preparing your heart, your lifestyle, your very self for the remembrance and celebration of the Passion of Christ.
You give up something to connect with the sacrifice of Jesus … which many connect 40 to the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for His ministry years. So too, we prepare ourselves for service, for ministry to others, and for a deeper life of devotion to Him who deserves our all.
I had a catholic friend who always gave up watermelon, every year the same sacrifice. His point was that watermelon is not in season so it’s real easy to give it up. Though good for a laugh, I think many of us are closer to that than we want to admit. We would rather hold on to what we think is important and not give anything that would really challenge us or ‘prepare’ our hearts for Him.
So this year, I acknowledge a few things I need work on. First is sweets. Too much chocolate crosses my path. So get behind me Hersheys. Second is my nomophobia … fearing of being away from my phone or mobile device. I need it for connections, but I tinker with it too much (yes, yes, I know those around me mock me for this). So I will yield screen time … yield gaming, browsing mindlessly through social media. I’m not giving it up as a mode to stay connected, just laying down the passive time drain use. And third, I giving up laziness as I get back to being more active.
You? What will you willingly lay aside so you can prepare to be a better person, a better servant, a better parent, spouse, child, worker, boss, student, friend? What will you will you do to prepare yourself to be the best for the One who gave it all? What’s holding you back? Let Lent be the start of something God can use with great power in your life.
English Nerd Alert … I love etymology. The word ‘lent’ comes from Old English Lenten, which means spring. But it goes back long before that too, from an old Germanic heritage of shortening the combination of langaz (long) + tina (day/shine). The days are getting longer, light and life is returning, and hope is refreshed. So let this challenge be a reminder God wants to shine even brighter and longer through you!