Why I don’t Practice Lent

lent

Rip the wickedness out of your hearts; don’t just tear your clothing…. Joel 2:13a (The Voice)

Like many people who didn’t grow up in a Liturgical church, I had no clue what Lent was until college. During this time of searching for my own beliefs about God and the church, I dove head first into this new practice. I loved the idea of giving something up in order to focus more on God during the Easter season.

After a couple years, I found that I was making Lent an idol. That it somehow made me look good in front of other people to say that I was currently giving up ______. Because I could go a whole 40 days without _______ that I was “super spiritual.” No one knew that on the inside I was still the same person; I still had bad attitudes. My “sacrifice” wasn’t always drawing me closer to God or making me focus more on that relationship.

I still love the Easter season. I love focusing on what this time of year means to me as a Christian (and it’s pretty cool that it happens in the Spring when new life is popping up all around us). I just feel like this should be my focus all throughout the year. That I can make sacrifices any time and I don’t have to share that with anyone. Even more so, God doesn’t just want sacrifice, He wants my love. He wants a relationship that goes beyond what I can give upbut what I can add into my life. More love. More compassion. More gratefulness.

It’s not my outward practices that matter, but the state of my heart.

Has there been a spiritual practice that no longer makes sense to you? What did you do about it?

True Value

Single Woman

 

It is easy to fall into the trap of finding our value and identity in things outside of ourselves: our friends, our career, our relationship status. When those things are chugging along just fine we feel like we can take on the world. When the thing we put our identity in comes tumbling down, it’s easy to feel like the walls are closing in. I have been there many times. I can look back and see those moments so clearly. I can also look back and see how each and every closed door led to something beyond my wildest dreams.

Losing the job that I had wanted most of my life, the fading friendships, and the unrequited crushes were all things that God used over the years to get my attention. They were lessons of how I was putting my value in something other than myself and how God sees me. Thankfully, I learned to allow those things to springboard me into a life full of crazy adventure. I still have to learn over and over that when I allow God to dictate my value, it is easier to take life in stride and not get caught up in what is not happening.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the Twitter account of “The Single Woman.” Most of you know that I’m pretty anti anything to do with singleness. I like feeling as if I’m enough and if I don’t think about the fact that I’m single, then everything is a-okay. 🙂 Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this Twitter page, but found that it was full of encouraging tidbits and wisdom. It was a breath of fresh air.

I had the chance to read her latest book, “I’ve Never been to Vegas, but my Luggage Has” and again, it was a breath of fresh air. The reader is invited to catch a glimpse of Mandy’s life with all of its adventures, and ups and downs. You see her victories and failures and all the lessons along the way. This book is not only encouraging and challenging for fellow singles, but for anyone with a dream they are running after.

This book releases TODAY and I would encourage you all to grab a copy ASAP. You can get your copy at most bookstores or Amazon.