Why and How I Observe Lent

Why and How I Observe Lent

Why and How I Observe Lent

I did not grow up in a particularly religious home. Most of my religious exposure came from watching mass on the TV with my grandma and going to Wednesday night church with friends. I never really learned religious traditions or dogma. I eventually became an ardent atheist and moved away from anything religious in every way. After about 6 years as an atheist, I became a Christian.  That journey is a long story which I may share another day.  On this day, I simply want to share with you why and how I observe Lent.

I decided to celebrate Lent after realizing that I was not allowing Easter to be everything it needed to be in my life. Easter Sunday was my favorite holiday and it meant so very much to me, but as I started to see others around me celebrate the Easter season, I realized I was missing something.

In case you do not know, Lent is the 40 days before Easter Sunday (not counting Sundays) in which many Christians prepare for Easter by fasting, repenting, and practicing moderation and spiritual discipline. This is done to focus one’s attention on Jesus and His suffering, sacrifice, life, death, burial, and resurrection. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter morning.  To some it may seem like legalism or self-induced misery, but I have found Lent to be spiritually invigorating and life-changing.

Because I am a non-denominational Christian, I do not know all the rules the various denominations require for Lent. I do not believe Lent is required by God or the Bible, I simply observe Lent as a way to grow closer to God and prepare for Easter. I usually give up two to three things that I think have become strongholds in my life. In past years I have given up sugar, soda, chocolate, candy, baked goods, TV, social media, and eating out. Those are all things that I turned to in times of need (instead of to God) or that I had a hard time giving up. Fasting from these things is difficult and whenever I start to feel sorry for myself or feel like I am suffering, I remember Jesus and what he did for me.  I also often add things to my daily routine for Lent such as a devotional, study, or just praying more.

In my experience, Lent helps me grow closer to God, overcome strongholds, and experience an amazing Easter season. Lent helps me grow new life in place of the old. It keeps my faith alive and vibrant and refocuses my commitment to god.

Do you observe Lent?  Why or why not?  What do you think about Lent? What kinds of things have you fasted from in the past? Feel free to leave a comment. Share and let’s talk about it.

About Janice

I am so glad you stopped by. Kick your shoes off and hang with me a while. I am an Arizona native, wife to a hard-working hubby, mom of two, and daughter of the King. I love sharing recipes, crafts, and family activities that any mom can do. Life is complicated enough, right? When I am not up to my ears in laundry, dishes, and creating for Celebrating Family, you will also find me at East Valley Mom Guide. Come follow me on Google +, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Comments

  1. I participate in Lent. Growing up, it was always the “Catholics” thing to do, but after prayer, reading, etc, it made sense to do it for my own soul. It’s a perfect time of FORTY days to grow closer to God, fast from things we add into our lives that we don’t NEED, and maintain discipline to refocus on what is important.

    That social media one has me thinking… This year I al following along with a book titled “A Place at the Table” by Chris Seay. It’s 40 days of solidarity with the poor, basically eating like them and using the grocery monies we don’t spend on a cause that helps to feed the poor..in true fasting nature.

    Great post, btw. It is making me think…

  2. Great post! I have never given up anything for Lent. Growing up Baptist, it was predominately considered a Catholic thing to do. 😉 But I think anything that helps you grow closer to God and overcome strongholds is a positive thing, and something I should seriously consider.

  3. I’m linking back to your post today. I think this is great! I came from a church that didn’t put a lot of emphasis on Lent and although I don’t observe all the traditions with it this year I plan to give up TV during naptime. I think sometimes I am unwilling to just be quiet so I am going to use that time to rest, read and spend time in the word. This post was just what I needed to take the plunge 🙂

  4. debra Givens wagner says:

    Right On, and you have become a great
    Christian at that!!

  5. Auntie Pam says:

    This is the first Lent that I am doing. I am giving up sugar! This is going to be a hard one to handle, but I can do it with the strength of the Lord. When I feel the pressure for sweets, I will pray for strength in my life, and hopefully this will give me a closer relationship with the Lord. I have been missing something for a while, I know what it is and how to get it, but something is holding me back??? Love your post.

  6. Beautiful post! I learned about Lent as a child because even though I wasn’t Catholic, I grew up in a predominantly Catholic town. My family wasn’t any religion. My parents weren’t atheists, but they weren’t anything else either. However, many years later, when the Lord embraced my heart and called me his own, and I began studying His Word, I finally connected Lent to Jesus’ 40 Day fast in the dessert. I knew then that I had to adopt this tradition into my own life. It really is a wonderful time of shedding the distractions of the world and focusing on Jesus!

  7. Lent is definitely a good time to re-evaluate and make positive changes in our lives and spend more time with God and practicing more self-discipline.

  8. I think Nicole has a great way of describing Lent for me. I grew up without any discussion of religion or practicing of one, even though my mom was a Catholic. When I met my husband, I went through the Confirmation process to be fully Catholic.

    Every Lent is different. Because I had no religious upbringing, I struggle with the concept of Lent because it simply doesn’t resonate within me as a tradition. I try to use the time to work on things in my life that need changing and to do some spiritual reading.

  9. I am an Episcopalian in love with a man who does not belong to an organized religion, but even he has learned the value in fasting for Lent. We think of it as a 40-day trial period: It may be a “trial” for you to give up something you like, but it is also a way to try out a new habit and see if you could stick with it long-term. Often we fast from something that harms Creation.

    I also do some spiritually-oriented reading, both on my own and reading aloud to my son who’s now 7. Reading a daily devotional to him is an everyday routine I picked up 2 years ago at his request.

    My church vestry retreat was last weekend, and we did a Bible study on the first two chapters of Exodus; each person sat alone with the text for half an hour seeing what insights would come to us on the questions, “What needs to be saved in your life?” and “What needs to be saved in our church’s life?” It was so interesting!

    Every Lent I learn something new. I wish you a blessed Lent and hope that your readers who never considered observing Lent will understand that it’s not too late to start now!

  10. Lent isn’t even mentioned in the Bible so it certainly isn’t required that everyone “do” Lent. It is traditionally a time for preparing your heart/mind for Easter; for asking yourself: do I really let God in to my life?

    Something I recently learned is that the 40 days of Lent is a tithe (1/10th) of a year. That is a pretty awesome thought.

    (visiting from WFMW)

  11. I agree. Lent is not something that we are required to observe. But I find it very helpful in preparing my heart for Easter.

    Thanks for your comment!

  12. I am a new Christian. I’ve been Christian for about 7 months, and I haven’t thought of Lent. I only recently heard about it as I am still learning about how Christians celebrate things. I would really like to try it, but I am thinking of going to a Baptist church, will I be considered bad for doing this? and this post has really encouraged me! thank you for opening a door into my Christian knowledge!

  13. Janice,
    Thank you for your post. I am a Christian and over the years I have fasted some years and not others. But your post reminded me of what our Lord sacrificed for us and I want to dwell on that every day for the next 40 days till the celebration of Easter Sunday. I am going to give up coffee, I use it as my crutch.
    thanks again and blessings to all your readers.

  14. great post very informative

  15. Shannon says:

    I am not what people consider to even a Christian and if pressed to say I would say I was Monotheism but I do understand why people choose to do this. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Debra Wagner says:

    I know I should start observing Lent…..

  17. Debra Wagner says:

    I know I should observe Lent….I never have and that i wrong. It is because I was not brought up in a religeous house and really know nothing about it except what I learned from you.

Trackbacks

  1. Gevalia Kaffe Review and Giveaway says:

    […] is a coffee shop on every corner. I do not usually drink coffee, but since I gave tea up for Lent I have been drinking coffee from time to time. I have tried the coffees from a few chain stores […]

  2. […] celebrate. My Easter celebration is more than just one day, however. As I mentioned recently, I observe Lent in order to focus more on an Easter season.  Lent helps me grow closer to God, […]

  3. […] is a coffee shop on every corner. I do not usually drink coffee, but since I gave tea up for Lent I have been drinking coffee from time to time. I have tried the coffees from a few chain stores […]

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