Ash Wednesday is this week, and the day marks the first day of Lent for 2010. Last year, I celebrated Lent with an established community–we supported each other, encouraged each other, and had the best celebration I’ve ever had on Easter Sunday. For Lent last year, I gave up caffeine for the 40 day period, and the experience was really good. I was more focused and less dependent on caffeine to get me through the day. But more than just the physical fasting, I strove to give myself and my desires over to Christ, particularly the overwhelming desire that I have, as most single females to do, to be in a relationship. Those 40 days were a struggle. I never realized how much time I spend letting my mind wander…imagining how conversations could have gone differently, overanalyzing text messages and phone calls, asking “what if” questions that end up destroying my mindset. At the end of the Lent season, my heart had been transformed.
This is not to say that all is perfect. I still struggle often with those same issues. However, I’ve noticed a marked difference in the way that I perceive relationships. Less angst. More waiting. More hope.
This year, I’m approaching Lent in a slightly different way. The emotional fasting, if you will, will be the same. Can I surrender every aspect of my life to Christ? Can I surrender control? Can I spend my time in ways that reflect Christ’s glory? And can I encourage others in this same journey?
But the physical fasting will be different. I honestly don’t want to give up caffeine again. I know part of it is fear, but my life is so much more hectic now, and caffeine is often the best stimulant I have to get me through those superlong days. However, I will be giving up two things that are quite important to me: Facebook and Twitter.
I anticipate several outcomes of this. First, more time. For homework, for friends, for Jesus. 🙂 Second, I expect that I’ll need to find alternate ways of communicating with people, of seeking community. The Twitter updates that are sent to my phone are often the way I keep up with friends who don’t live in my apartment, and that’s not good enough. Those updates will be turned off, and I’m deleting the Twitter number from my phone until after Easter. Facebook is even worse–I know so much about my friends’ lives because it pops up on a computer screen, not because I’ve talked to them. For 40 days, it will be a challenge to seek community. [Note: I will be checking in on Sundays. But just once for Facebook, and I don’t plan on checking Twitter at all.] Third, I expect to blog and journal more. I use Twitter as a virtual scrapbook of things that happen in my life. If I go 40 days without sending a tweet, I’ll need a record of all that.
That’s my goal for the next seven weeks. If you need me, comment on my blog. Email me. Call me. Or–shocker–come see me! We’ll communicate the way the old folks do! 🙂