a season of moderation :: my sacrifice for Lent
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. It is a season of sacrifice in order to draw near to God — a season of prayer and repentance and restoration. My former pastor and dear brother in Christ, Jeff Warren, stated it better: “The Lenten or Easter Season is a focused time of confession and repentance [in which] the follower of Jesus puts forth spiritual control over the flesh (through sacrifice – fasting) with a view to a more personal and powerful experience with God in prayer.” I grew up in a Southern Baptist culture so Lent was never a part of our Easter practice. It is only in recent years that I’ve come to understand how vital this season is to understand the sacrifice Jesus made for me when he submitted to death on the Cross. For all that he endured on that dark Friday, for the horrific pain and agony of spirit that he took on willingly, with me in mind, the least I can do to honor the Lord is make a sacrifice of my own for forty days each year. My greatest desire is to draw closer to my Creator; during a season when the earth awakens from its winter, I must also seek renewal from my own. And so I begin this Lenten season today by embarking on a fast from the thing that has been consuming the most of my time and attention during the past year: Media.
No Social Networking
No RSS Feeds
No Internet just-for-fun
No TV for hours-on-end
I still have to find employment, so I will be using the Internet for job searches and applications, but I will not be spending long blocks of time online just for the sake of being “connected.” I’ll keep in touch with friends and family through personal email and texts, but I won’t be checking into Facebook and Twitter just to see what people are doing at any given time. I will probably watch TV on occasion, see movies on occasion, but I will not use the TV as a replacement for the computer and I will not leave it on for “background noise” while performing other tasks around the flat. I will not replace books with blog-reading.
Long have I sat still for hours on end with my hands on a keyboard and a TV screen before me, droning on for hours and hours, with nothing productive to show for my time. And long have I been convicted of this sinful practice. I don’t give as much time to anything else, including my relationship with God, as I have been giving to the worldwide web. Now is the time to break that cycle. There is no better time than now! It will be a sacrifice for me, to be sure, as I feel most connected when keeping up-to-date with friends and family through social network environments. But it will also be a time of restoration. I need the quiet, if only for the sake of my sanity and my sleeping patterns. I need the decreased stimulation. And I need rest — in my spirit, in my mind, and in my heart. I need the renewal that a spring season should bring.
During this time of moderation, I will be cleaning house… literally and figuratively. I also hope to tap into my somewhat dormant creative spirit. I have a wealth of unfinished projects (beginning with my home, which has been in a transitional state since the beginning of the year), and I’ve been brimming with creative inspiration for months now. During these days and nights when the TV and the internet are not allowed to distract me, I hope to finish last year’s scrapbook projects and start a few new ones. I hope to do some art journaling. I definitely plan to do more writing, and I want to get back to reading actual books again. In the midst of all this I want to be tuned into the Spirit of God in a bigger way than ever before. I want that connection to be stronger than I’ve ever known it to be. I need that connection to be stronger. He has much more in store for me than the life I’ve been living. I want this Lenten season to take me down that path. I ask for your prayers during this season of commitment, and I would love to pray for you, as well. Drop me a note and we’ll walk through Lent together. For the sake of Christ.
I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing:
To live with him in his house my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet.
That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.
God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down.
I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof!
Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to God.
— Psalm 27: 4-6 (The Message)