Growing up Catholic, I was used to giving up something for Lent. As a kid it was chocolate or donuts or some other treat. One year it was comic books–that was hard. For years after I left the Catholic Church I continued the practice of giving up something over those forty days. At some point, however, I began to question why.
While I love the symbolism behind not giving into the temptation of eating chocolate for forty days, how does that deepen my relationship with God? These are things I might be doing for myself or my own benefit. The focus isn’t on God at all–at least not for me.
That’s why I made a plan that worked better for me this year. My promise these forty days is to spend more time in the Word and in prayer. Here is my goal:
- Half hour each morning dedicated to focusing on the Word
- Ten minutes in prayer each morning
- Half hour before bedtime dedicated to focusing on the Word
- Ten minutes in prayer each evening
These are not huge commitments by any means, but they work into my busy schedule and put my focus during that time where I want it to be–on God. If I commit to this schedule, then it becomes a healthy habit.
Whether or not to give something up for Lent is a personal choice. It wasn’t a practice I found valuable in my walk as a Christian, so I turned it into something I pray will have a greater impact on my relationship with God and my family and as I interact with others throughout the day.
“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil 3:10-11)