Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Today is the first day of Lent.
I found that picture while Googling some information on Lent.
(You can view the entire list of Top 100 Things Twitterers Are Giving up For Lent here.)
The top few aren't surprising. Facebook. Chocolate. Twitter.
There are some strange ones mixed in there as well, but there is a prevalent theme: people are giving up bad habits.
Typically that is what I used to do as well. Each year (even though I'm not Catholic), I would give up something that I enjoyed but that I also felt I should be enjoying a little less.
One year I gave up coffee. I wanted to deny myself that sweet sip first thing in the morning but I also wanted whiter teeth and less heart burn.
Desserts has also been a favourite of mine. Giving up cheese cake was always hard but my slow metabolism thanked me for it.
Today when I was reading a couple different articles about Lent, I realized that perhaps I have been doing it wrong all these years.
In many ways, I think we use Lent as a vehicle to refine our lives and to practice personal self control. At the end of forty days I would feel like boasting, "See God? See the things I can do for You!?"
Which totally isn't the point of Lent!
Everything in life revolves around relationships. Relationships with family, friends, lovers, God, co-workers, bosses... We are created to be in relationships, to communicate and to love.
("My soul has a purpose, it is to love; if I do not fulfill my heart's vocation, I suffer." -Thomas Aquinas)
Based on that idea, I'm starting to believe that Lent isn't about being nobly self sacrificing or self attaining; maybe it should be about our attitudes and the way we treat those around us.
One of my major attitudes (of the many) is the way I treat my partner. I'm am not always patient with him, especially when we are having an conversation and he is slow with his thoughts. Many times I jump to conclusions and don't respectfully wait to hear his opinions.
So maybe Lent should be about us examining our behaviours and seeking to break down the barriers that cause us to be that way. What is it that makes us angry, rude, short tempered or impatient?
I think praying and seeking to God's infinite wisdom in these matters is far more important than giving up chocolate for forty days.
What are you struggling with and how can Lent help you become closer to God?