Let’s talk about Lent. As in the 40 days leading up to Easter, not that stuff in your dryer (which would be lint, and would make for a weird conversation). There’s more to it, but basically Lent’s a time to fast from something in order to help focus your heart and mind on Jesus in preparation for Easter. It’s a time to celebrate how He gave His life for us (yes, He loves ordinary, sinful people like us!) so we could live with Him and for Him. Death couldn’t conquer Him, and now we’ve got a chance to have an awesome living, breathing, day-to-day relationship with Him! I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to make some more room for Him in my life.
For Lent last year I gave up secular music. Which meant that instead of flipping through stations on my car radio during my commutes to and from school, I was either listening to Christian music or conversing with God. That went over so well that I kept it up even past Easter. I never realized how much secular music (even if it’s not necessarily bad) affects your thoughts and attitudes. When I focused on lyrics about having a relationship with Jesus and living a Christ-like life, I found my day went much smoother. By the time I arrived at school, I had a positive mindset and some pretty uplifting songs running through my head. Even now, when I’m not conjugating verbs along with my French 1002 CD, I spend the majority of my drive time listening to Christian music. It really helps align my heart with the heart of God and helps me focus on trying my best to represent Him throughout the day.
Honestly, the whole Lent thing snuck up on me this year. This semester is the craziest yet, so it slipped my mind until a few days ago. Once I decided that, yeah, I did want to participate, I spent a while trying to think of just what to fast from. Finally, after a few days of thinking about it, I made a decision. This year, I’m giving up myself. I’ve already surrendered my life to God, and I work to give Him more and more of myself each day, but how often do I give myself up to others? How often do I step out of my comfortable little bubble and help someone out? How often do I share the reason for my joy with someone who doesn’t know Jesus? He’s completely changed my life, and I don’t want anyone to miss out on their own life-changing relationship with God.
Every morning on my way to school, I pray that others will see Jesus in me and that I’ll be used to show His love. Do I always do that? Um, no. Do I always try my hardest? Honestly…probably not. So here’s what I need to work on: I want to fast from myself, fast from Anna and her human tendencies.
Here’s a verse that sums up what I want to do:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
-1 Peter 4:8-11 (NIV)
I love the “amen” at the end of that passage up there. It’s kind of like the Bible version of “enough said.” So there you go. This year I’m fasting from myself. I can already tell it’s going to be a challenge, but I can also tell it’s going to be so worth it. God will provide the strength, I’ve just got to provide the willingness. It’s my prayer that by the time Easter rolls around, this’ll be more of a habit. It’s not about me; it’s about sharing the love of Christ with the world. That includes those who already know Him, as well as those who don’t know Him yet. It’s all from Jesus, it’s all for Jesus, and it’s all about Jesus! Enough said.