Saturday, April 02, 2011


I'll admit I haven't been a participator in this Lent tradition since I was a Catholic child who somewhat unwillingly participated, if at all!
I remember families giving up T.V., Sugary Treats, and a variety of other crazy talk happenings! I remember never really understanding a lot of things that were spiritual concepts back then, but one thing I did understand was that I didn't want to give up sugar right as I was selling Girl Scout cookies :)

Up until a year ago I thought the season of Lent was just another legalistic way of trying to take away from the greatest sacrifice ever made. A kind of earning your badges of being a good, better, best follower of Christ.

That was what I thought, until the church I was attending a year ago at this time had such a different take on this thing called Lent. They spoke of this time of preparation, remembering others who are suffering, sacrificing for a greater good, fasting from some things in order that other things might come in abundance, and just an over-all time to take note of your spiritual life. A time to take stock of your inventory as a Spiritual being, and prepare your house for the day of new life. New Beginnings. A kind of Spring cleaning spiritually. They inspired me to take a second look at this thing called Lent.

I remember coming home and sharing with the kids about the fact that I was inspired to do something for Lent, that it was a special time, and that I was going to give up sugar. At first they looked at me like I was crazy, eyes wide as saucers. At some point they too were all excited about this new found thing called Lent. They took an interest with mom and got on board until later that evening when Isaiah asked if he could have Hot Cocoa and I said, "Buddy that has sugar in it". He said without even a second thought, "Oh well I'm out" as though it was a game or something.
That was when I realized:
1) guess I am not that good of a teacher as I thought, and
B) it might have been too big a concept for a 5 year old to get, dunno?

So this year, I told my kids that Lent was coming, and told them what I was giving up. I gave up coffee(that's a blog post for another day), and
I didn't ask any of them if they wanted to join. But, to my surprise they all chimed in with what they were going to give up.
I think that I might have done a better job describing this Lent season to them. At least a little better than last year, because they are all still going strong with all of their fasts.(excluding Isaiah... refer to point 1. and B.)
I told them that usually people give something up, but also some people add some new good behavior or habit in place of what they gave up.

So as if I wasn't challenged enough already....

On top of participating in the traditional Lent Season of giving something up for six weeks, I had decided this year that I wanted to begin adding new challenges to my life.
The challenges I wanted to incorporate into my life are motivated by LOVE. After all, the greatest act of LOVE that the world has EVER seen is what we are preparing to remember and celebrate so what better time than this to take these; LOVE challenges.

Instead of doing this all at once, I have been giving myself one week challenges.
To me it seems more attainable to do things in one week increments.
Once one week is over if I have accomplished these goals and feel inspired to keep going with them, I do.
And then I add a new challenge.

There are about 3 weeks to go until Easter Sunday, and I can honestly say that this Lent season for me has already been pretty amazing. I have learned a lot about myself and what motivates me. I would like to think I am learning even more about this amazing God that I get to serve. I hope and pray that eventually I will be able to describe/teach about this Lent season thingy in such a way that even Isaiah will whole-heartedly get on board, but until then as I am learning I am confident that one day he will too. Because isn't it so true that you can't really teach something to another person unless you fully, completely, whole-heartedly get it yourself?


Shontell said...

I really want to support you, but as soon as you said coffee I started picturing myself drinking it and it was delicious. I really need to work on that self control stuff.
Proud of you for sticking with it, and for doing more than going through the motions.

noel said...

Thanks friend it was a long six weeks but I would do it again in s heartbeat! Hey ya know what have crazy mad wicked skills in the self control dept!

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