It's Lent, the 40 days that people who are connected in the church give up something they enjoy. I never understood the reason for Lent until this year. I was privy to the Ash Wednesday Service at my church. This is the first year the church (any church) has explained it in a way that I understood.
Lent is meant for us to give up something in our lives that drives us away from God and Jesus. Something that temps us, and takes away time from prayer and worship. So, with that in mind, I decided to give up three things.
Two are SUPER easy, and one is EXTREMELY hard.
I have decided to give up Facebook, Alcohol, and Sweets.
To delve into this a little deeper, I need to give some background.
Facebook: I enjoyed Facebook so much when I first joined. It made sense to have a website to connect with other college students. You had to have a college issued email address to access it, and it seemed like something that started off as a way to meet people at your own school, as well as stay connected with friends who were attending other schools. Now, it's just another MySpace. I never have been that big into it. I have tried to love it, I have tried to use it often, but it always loses its luster for me. The prime example of this, is I do not have my birthday listed on my Facebook. I hate that people write 'Happy Birthday' to me because of a notification. I like when people know because they know me. Now, it is just something I use to waste time. I look at other people, envy what they have, compare myself to them, and don't grow as a person when I use it. So I am using Lent as a way to disconnect from the Facebook world. And I love it. What's nice is, I don't miss one thing about Facebook. I don't miss anything from it at all. And I can use Lent as an excuse not to use it. I have already decided that once Lent is over, I will be deleting my Facebook. *Shock* I couldn't be happier about the decision.
Alcohol: I am not a big drinker. I experimented in college with it, but I didn't ever enjoy it too much. And as I have gotten older, the reasons to drinking have dwindled. Being diabetic, it also is so harsh on my blood sugar and I have a hard enough time with that as it is. I tend to be a social drinker. Having a drink with my friends while we are out to dinner, but I never really enjoying it. So I decided, instead of having anxiety around drinking (I have ALWAYS had anxiety around it), I just wanted to give myself a break. And that was an amazing choice. It also gives people a non-negotiable reason why I am not drinking. It allows them to take Lent as something I am committed to. Instead of, when I decline for no "reason", I am faced with, "why?", "just have one!", "I don't want to drink alone." and all the other things people say. I love it. And I think this is also something I would like to continue after Lent.
Sweets: I am a Type 1 Diabetic. Enough said. So sweets can cause a lot of issues to my blood sugar. Not to mention the fact that I LOVE sweets. Instead of keeping it so vague, I decided to narrow it down to a list of things I count in that. Everything else is okay. Included in sweets are: anything that is served primarily as a dessert.. cake, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, rice crispy treats, candy, ice cream, pie, etc. And I should tell you, it was the best decision I ever made. I think that this may be something that I continue after Lent as well. It forces me to enjoy other foods, and other experiences, rather than eating, and not only eating, but eating sugar. That causes my blood sugar to go up, and with that, I tend to be forced deal with the highs. A vicious cycle that I am trying to nip in the bud.
As for the reason for Lent, I have been really enjoying these things not being in my life. I may not pray more, and I may not go to church more, but I have noticed that I am living a more Christian life because I don't have to deal with these temptations any more. And I am so happy I chose these things.