Friday, March 7, 2014

Let's Talk Lent!

The season of Lent is finally here and my heart is so thankful and ready for this time of spiritual housekeeping. It's no secret that Easter is my favorite holiday and observing Lent helps me to feel prepared to celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ over the grave.

 This year, on the heels of reading Jen Hatmaker's 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I yearned to do something more intentional with my Lenten fast. In the past I've always chosen some sacrifice that also had some personal (and usually physical) benefit. I'd give up carbs or sweet drinks or something else that was enough of a comfort item for me to take notice but not enough of a sacrifice for me to really draw closer to God as a result of it. {Which is why I have never given up chocolate.} This year would be different. This year I decided to make my own experimental mutiny and in doing so, better prepare my heart for God's will and influence in my life. So I've compiled the following "rules" for Lent this year and I'm using the internet {okay, mostly my husband and Facebook} to keep me accountable.

Lent 2014
1) Only eat when hungry, no snacking. Most of the world survives on less than a cup of rice for their daily bread. I'll pray for them instead of eating for pleasure.
2)Limit social media to one hour a day. God blessed me with a family/community to love, not a screen to adore.
3) Honor the Sabbath. No more work on Sundays. God said to rest, He didn't say it was optional-He commanded it.
4) Pray before I speak (this is mostly in response to confrontation). The world needs me less and Jesus more.
5) Give one thing away each day. God loves a cheerful giver.
6) Read the Bible weekly. Devote time and energy to communing with God on His word.
7) Restrict spending to needs.

 I hit my first snag on day one. We've been preparing our "office" {a.k.a the room where we throw stuff before people come over} to become Eli's big boy room. I planned the nursery design with the intent to keep it as our long term nursery and always knew the day would come when we would need to buy a whole new room set up for Eli. So while on one hand this is certainly a "need" for us as we creep closer and closer to baby Desmond's arrival, it's not a need in the strictest sense. I mean, I can't eat a bed.

So before I automatically clicked "buy" on the rug I've been watching like a hawk for a mark down when it finally dropped to my "buy it NOW" price, I took a quick Facebook survey. Most of my friends encouraged me to buy the darn rug-some even offered genuine and logical reasons for why it WAS a necessary purchase and thus in keeping with my Lent rules. A few told me to hold off until after Lent to make the purchase and Michael {God love him!} told me it was an absolute need and to go for it. Honorary mention goes to my cousin Jen who told me to just buy the rug and give up Oreos for Lent. 

I bartered back and forth with myself, prayed a little and finally settled on buying the rug now because it was deeply discounted and would most likely not be available at that price again. Also, we needed to have the rug first before we could move forward with any concrete furniture plans. I did however make a commitment to myself not to buy anything else for the room until Easter. Mostly, because the remaining items are from Ikea and Walmart and not likely to be discontinued or unavailable later on. Plus, I used a coupon on the rug, which brings an end to my blatant justification of buying this thing!

I created a box to house all the items I will donate during these 40 days and I'm happy to report the much coveted but never worn military jacket from Spring 2010 finally made its way into the box, tags and all. I loved it when I saw it, I knew it would never work when I tried it on and I bought it because I believed the lies I told myself. It has been in my closest, unworn ever since and hopefully it will be a CCA diamond in the rough find for someone soon. I also gave away co-op celery to my parents as well as some cake and cookies. Those aren't stellar donations for the Kingdom but I'm counting them!

 Media time has been the hardest sacrifice and the one I come dangerously close to over indulging in every day. I never realized just how much I depend on Facebook for social interaction. Being a SAHM can be really lonely and I love catching up with people on Facebook, having adult conversations and using my words before I forget them all and am reduced to becoming a barefoot, wooden spoon holding, pregnant lady in the kitchen. 

I've been "on it" with praying before I speak and wouldn't you know it, I am a much nicer person when I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and words. Pretty revolutionary stuff for a self proclaimed Christian to actually pray and petition God. I know, I know, I'm impressive- we all have our proverbial cross to bear. 

I haven't made it to Sunday yet but I do fully intend to honor it: it's my 31st birthday so couch sitting and cake eating sounds pretty good to me! I have failed miserably at reading the Bible but I did "Google" some scripture references for a Facebook debate {count it?}. Not snacking has been more of an annoyance but I am becoming more and more aware of how many times I eat past the point of satiation and am committed to keeping this rule. I would have absentmindedly blown right through my "restrict spending to needs" rule for today but I was gifted a cup of chia tea and in addition to being delicious it also kept me on the straight and narrow. 
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