This year marks the second year that I am observing Lent. Growing up, I didn't attend church regularly, but I remember as far back as being in grade school and talking to my friends about God. For whatever reason, I always knew that I believed in Him. Through my teen years, I found a home church that was non-denominational, and they didn't stress Lent so much. They pretty much stressed living your life every day knowing and thanking God for his sacrifice for us. If we all did that, I suppose there wouldn't be much need for Lent.
Anyway, now I am a member of a Methodist church, and while I'm sure I have expressed before that I don't necessarily agree with all of their "traditions," I am where I am supposed to be. I do agree with this idea of Lent. I think it is humbling to take something out of your daily life that you normally would do/eat/think about/say/drink/etc. without paying a second thought to. Every time you reach for that something you gave up, you will be reminded of why you gave it up. You will be reminded that Jesus gave his life for you, and it really isn't that much to ask for you to give up chocolate for Him.
It seems menial, but we are selfish, we humans. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you I didn't slip up last year during Lent when I did give up chocolate. I have the ever present issue of eating my emotions at times, and chocolate is a BIG emotion in my life. Some days, I felt that like that chocolate fix was just more important than God. That reflects my true attitude during my daily life, though. There are days that the temptations are so strong, and my prayers are so quiet that I am able to push my faith to the side as if it is just another old pair of shoes I used to sort of like.
That is why this year, I took suggestions from friends and family about what I should give up for Lent. I was told things like caffeine (coffee), chocolate again because it is still a relevant challenge, refined sugar, etc. Most people said chocolate, so I was resigned to go with the vote of the People. I started to really think about it, though, and I did some "research" on the internet. What I found was interesting to me and not something I had learned in the past. There were a few people that said instead of giving something up, you could take something on, like adding something to your daily schedule such as exercise, stretching, Bible study, etc.
It hit me then that, yes, Lent is about learning about sacrifice, but Lent could also be about establishing new and better habits that would, in turn, help to remind me of Jesus' sacrifice for me. That is why, this year for Lent, I have decided to instate a minimum of 15 minutes of daily Bible study, and I am vowing to myself to read through all four Gospels during this Lent. I did some figuring, and there are 89 chapters in the Gospels. Therefore, if I read a little more than 2 chapters a day, I will get my 15 minutes in and I will manage to read through four books of the Bible.
I will be reading out of the Message Bible. Throughout the next 39 (including today) days, I may at times post blogs concerning what I have learned that day, post short blogs with a verse I found interesting/helpful that day, or post my thoughts about what I have read each day. This is going to be a very humbling experience for me because I have never read my Bible daily, and there are many days that I deliberately avoid God because I don't want to confess my sins, because I have too much pride, because I am just sure I am right and because, most of all, I want to think that I am in control. (Ha! If only I would learn...Silly Rabbit, control is for God!!)
I hope that in this, we can all learn together and that my blog may serve as a community for open discussion. You don't have to agree with me, but I ask that you respect my beliefs as I respect yours. Please do not leave malicious comments. Please do not tell me that I am a "stupid-head." If you have questions, I will be happy to attempt answering them, but lets be mature about this and explore our differences. :)