Fasting is not something I have been very familiar with until learning more about Lent and reading the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker. Some may fast from indulgences and vices. Some may give up their favorite pastime, their guilty pleasure, or their comforts. Amanda Williams of She Reads Truth said it beautifully:
We give up that which we do not need to live,
to gain that which we cannot live without:
At the end of the day, regardless of what you give up during Lent, our goal should be to draw closer to the One we cannot live without. The One this journey is all about. It's so much more than reluctantly letting go of something. It's so much more than giving up something that is "easy" to go without. At the start and end of every day, and every moment in between, it should be about Christ.
This past weekend while we were at home in Kentucky, I had a discussion with my mother in-love about Lent. I confessed to her that last year I missed the meaning. I fasted-- but not with the right intentions, not with the right posture. I had the physical aspect down for the most part, but I was very much lacking in the spiritual aspect-- the repentance and reflection. Basically, I went through the motions of Lent. This year, I desire so much more.
Debbie gave a beautiful suggestion for this year. Rather than just giving up something, intentionally add something positive as well. Maybe that means reading a new book or devotional. Maybe adding a random act of kindness. There are so many ways to add goodness to our lives through Jesus' example.
During this Lent season, I will be letting go of coffee-- my comfort drink, my vice, my favorite-- and focusing more on receiving and giving Christ's grace. Too often I hold myself and others to a standard of perfection. What an unrealistic and unfair expectation! This focus of grace is inspired by the print by Emily Ley I received as a Christmas gift. Each moment, I want grace to be at the forefront of my mind-- in my interactions with my husband, my family, my friends, my coworkers, my patients, and total strangers.
"I will hold myself (& others) to a standard of grace, not perfection."
Are you observing Lent this year? There's no pressure if you are not, though I have found that anytime we intentionally seek to have a more intimate relationship with the Lord, the result is always a blessing. For some additional resources and guidance for reading scripture during Lent, two of my favorites are offering freebies--
Ann Voskamp's Trail to the Tree Lent & Easter Devotional
She Reads Truth's Lent Reading Plan
I pray this season gives you a desire to draw closer to the One we cannot live without. I pray you're filled with His love, peace, and grace. Seek Him through scripture and fellowship. He longs to have a relationship with us!
The next forty days will be less coffee, more herbal tea.
Less perfection, more grace.
Less me, more Jesus.
Will you join me?