I’ve had a complicated relationship with Lent. I grew up in a church where Lent was observed, but in a home where it was not. At least not that I can remember, which makes me think either my family didn’t practice Lent, or if we did, it was so sporadic and non-essential that it didn’t make a big impression on me. Or maybe, like everything else related to the J-word, we simply didn’t talk about it.
The churches I have been a part of since then have celebrated Lent in different ways. Some were so frightened of legalism and works-based salvation that they completely ignored it. Others were much more liturgical and celebrated the beauty of sacrifice, the preparation for Easter celebration.
So Lent and I are still talking through the parameters and purpose of our relationship. I like the idea of shaking off one thing to make room for something better – all in an attitude of reverence and focus on the character of God and his purpose for me.
This year, I have decided to shake off the two things that eat up my time and my brain cells: Facebook and phone games. Both are not necessarily bad things, but the time I waste ensnared by their claws is most definitely a very bad thing. Each has a place. Facebook keeps me connected with friends – many of whom I haven’t seen for years – and phone games…well, those are just fun. I’d like to think, too, that they keep my deteriorating brain cells from complete atrophy. After all, arranging letter tiles into words to accumulate maximum points must have some mental benefit. Right? Right? I thought so, too.
So I’ve decided to keep each in its rightful, corralled space on my daily schedule. I am only logging onto Facebook at 4:00 pm, during which time I scan through and catch up, comment as necessary, and then close the window. See you tomorrow.
As for my phone games…
Hold on. Please swallow any nourishment in your mouth before continuing.
…I only play while seated on the toilet.
It’s like having a built-in timer. If I play too long, my feet go numb. Yet this self-imposed limit gives me numerous playing opportunities throughout the day. Numerous.
Praise Jesus. Happy Lent, everyone. Probably not what the church fathers had in mind, but whatever. It works for me.
Michael’s sacrifice for Lent is turning off all electronics, especially the phone and TV, after 10 pm – which works nicely for both of us because we go to bed earlier. A full night’s sleep plus less wasted time equals all kinds of productivity. I’ve magically found more time to write, to read, to study, to focus. Somehow I have the time and the energy to do everything the day requires. Granted, I fall into bed at night exhausted, but at least I’m falling into bed the same date on which I started. I’m also sleeping well, and I wake up ready to tackle the next to-do list.
Not that I don’t find other ways to waste my time and avoid what I need to do. But I think celebrating Lent has forced me to examine how I spend the gift of time. Lent turns my heart upward to recognize my imperfection, shed that which prevents me from becoming who God created me to be, and clothes me with one more small accessory of goodness. It’s not about seeking God’s approval. It’s about embracing His purpose.
Dear Jesus, thank you for creating me for a purpose and for having great and perfect plans for my life. Thank you for sacrificing everything so that I could discover your purpose for me. Lord, if it’s not too much trouble, could your holy purpose for me include finally beating ANYONE at Scramble With Friends JUST ONCE before my feet go numb? Even my thirteen year old daughter? Please? I’ll give you all the glory. Really.