In the next few weeks, someone will probably ask you, “What are you giving up for Lent?” I want to offer a couple of thoughts on this subject.
Before we begin, though, I need to stress that what follows is certainly not everything that needs to be said on this subject.
Lent is a deep and meaningful time used wisely that can revitalize your relationship with God which will flow over others. The significance of Lent is related to many other issues such as the place of fasting in the Christian life, the significance of the church year, and devoting oneself to stay in God’s presence. These are too complicated to discuss in-depth here.
I guess you have noticed that I’m not saying whether I think we should observe Lent. That’s deliberate. How and why we do what we do is at least as important here as what we do. With that in mind,
Firstly, the way that the above question is phrased (What are you giving up) I think gets us off on the wrong foot. It focuses on abstinence rather than activity, it focuses on ‘Doing’ and not on ‘Being’ and it focuses on ‘Us’ rather than Christ.
Lent has become a secular tradition about getting skinner by abstaining from chocolates or bread, or soberer by abstaining from alcohol, or raising money for charity, and it has become almost nothing about God. It has lost its meaning.
If you’re going to “do something” for Lent, make sure the focus is not on self-deprivation or inactivity. Instead, focus on devoting yourself positively to something spiritually beneficial, like 30 minutes a day reading your Bible or some other Christian book, a few minutes praying or reading through the Psalms, or whatever. Pursue abstinence or self-deprivation only if it helps you to pursue these positive goals: missing a meal or getting up a bit earlier, for example, so that you have more time to read or pray.
Finally, for me lent is summed up in the Lord’s prayer –if we take time to unpack it and understand it, then we can BE it.
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Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA
Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse The University of Derby, UK.
BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK
A life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.
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Paula is a Wellness Coach Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.
Paula is a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals
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