Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Lent?

Usually on this blog I love to share about our family, recipes, fun stuff. Every once in a while I’m compelled to write a more serious post, and that’s what you’ll get today. This isn’t a post to preach to you or at you, but rather to explain my thoughts on Lent and what it means to me.

This past week was Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is typically practiced by the Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, and Presbyterian faiths. While I certainly understand not observing Lent, it bothers me when I continually hear negativity and condescending comments regarding Lent. If it’s not for you, that’s totally ok, but it’s not ok to be rude and negative about those who do observe.

Lent is a period of 40(ish) days from Ash Wednesday to Easter and is used as period to reflect and grow. It’s a season of conversion, a time to renew my faith and to make myself more like Christ. It’s a time to do something more in efforts to draw closer to the Lord. It’s about sacrificing, fasting from something, and when craving that, to instead, turn to the Lord. It’s moving the focus off of worldy things and turning to Heavenly things. It’s a time to do a little extra, for others or for my spiritual self, and hopefully make the world a little better place, even in a small way.

On giving up: Giving up something I like is hard. The first few days I think about what I can’t have. Oh. and when I choose something to give up, I’m TEMPTED. Yes, that’s right. I’m tempted. I WANT what it is that I gave up. This is a form of fasting, a sacrifice. “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 Giving up something is a way to draw closer to the Lord. Depriving myself of something and replacing the time or the desire for it with prayer and meditation, helps my focus go back to where it needs to be. My friend Brittnie said it SO perfectly: it’s a sacrifice as we focus on Christ’s ULTIMATE sacrifice for us so that we may have eternal life.

On taking up: Lent doesn’t have to be only about giving up or sacrificing. It can be about taking something on, doing something to make us better. We all have good intentions for living as God calls us. The reality is, though, that we often fall short. I know I do. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 This verse is so true. It can apply to the desire to give up something, but I feel it speaks strongly about doing something more. Lent for me is a time to prayerfully draw myself closer to the Lord. It’s not that I’ve grown away from Him, but through my actions, thoughts, words, I’m not always a person the Lord would be proud of. And while this desire to be closer to Him, isn’t prevalent ONLY during Lent, the time before remembering Christ’s death draws a desire to improve myself in anticipation of celebrating His Resurrection!

More or less, for me, Lent is a time to better myself, to cleanse my heart, repent of my sins, and prepare myself for the celebration of Christ’s death and Resurrection. Committing to something for the 40 days of Lent can initiate good habits that continue on throughout the year. It’s a time for bettering oneself and helping us to be more like the Lord wills us to be.

If Lent is not for you, that’s ok. But please don’t be negative toward those of us who use this time as a period of renewing faith and rejuvenating ourselves. “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:13

Thanks for reading along. If you agree or disagree, that is fine and you are welcome to do so in the comments. If you disagree, please be respectful.


  1. Sarah, I'm Catholic and I love this. Thank you for sharing your heart and expressing what I would like to often when people judge those of us that do observe. It's certainly NOT my favorite time of year but I think Lent makes us just pause a moment and reflect on our behavior, thoughts, actions and definitely turn more to Jesus and offer up our prayers more than usual. We have to trust in Him, he's the best counsel we have! Have a blessed day!

  2. I'm surprised that you and Toni have heard so much judgment about Lent. I typically don't observe it (though I have once), but I've never heard negative opinions/judgments about it from anyone! I guess because I don't observe it as much?

  3. I think you have a good perspective on it Sarah. I grew up Methodist and am now evangelical / non-denominational, so I have been around folks on both sides. Certainly Lent is not something that is prescribed or mentioned in scripture, but at the same time, devoting time to prayer and fasting is completely scriptural.

    On the one hand, there is a tendency to become legalistic for those who would say we must always observe Lent, and on the other hand as you said, one could become a stumbling block to say none should observe Lent. So, I think you said it well and there is freedom to observe or not to observe.


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