Lenten Reflections: First Installment

I gave up Facebook for Lent (again) (Sort of). I gave up Facebook last year, but it was pretty perfectionistic. It felt like I was running a marathon and collapsing in a heap on Easter at the finish line, in front of my computer, of course. Now, I could be wrong, but I don’t know that the 40 days of Lent should be entirely about mustering up all the self-control that you can possibly collect to “do something” really massive for God. It gets a little bit tricky when you are in recovery from an eating disorder. One has to get a bit creative with the concept of “fasting.” No giving up meat, or chocolate, or sweets. Then the fun little friend anorexia takes it and morphs it into its own creature. Lent becomes a tool for internal destruction. No way, Jose. Stay away from the food fasts. One year, I tried to give up sarcasm. That was massive. And excruciating. I have considered caffeine, but that I would probably die. Like literally. When you are up with an infant eight times a night, everyone might die if momma doesn’t get her coffee. And I don’t think that God would appreciate murder for Lent.
So here it is again: Facebook. Facebook is my time-sucker. I don’t really post very often. I just scroll and scroll and scroll. My dead eyes scan the screen, reading pointless updates posted by tons of people that I only know at best as acquaintances, at worst, I don’t know them at all. I saw a book by Jessica Turner the other day that talked about our “fringe hours.” This is the time, like this very moment actually, where there is some wiggle room in my day. It can be used constructively, or it can be squandered. I am the master fringe-time squanderer. I excuse it by saying that I need time for myself or something like that. That is completely lame. I may need time for myself, but when it is at such a scarcity, I need to be creative with it, not pour it into a vacuum of the virtual black hole of social media. So, here’s the deal. During Lent, you give up something to make more room for God to fill you up. The great writer Ann Voskamp says, “Lent isn’t so much about forfeiting as it is about formation.” So I am learning something about my “fringe time.” I want it filled up with formative material. I want it to be fueled by Jesus.
I am also failing at Lent. In the evenings, when I am nursing the little one to sleep, I pick up my dang iPad and think, “oh, once a day is much better than it was before when I was on Facebook at every feeding.” My finger clicks on the Facebook icon, and I fail for another day. I compromised, and I rationalized, and I proved to myself again that I need the cross. I am lost again in my sin, and I would be hopeless if not for Christ. Please come, Easter. Save me from my feeble attempt to “be good enough.”
So I am relatively new at this Lent thing. Growing up Southern Baptist, we didn’t have much to do with Lent. Every year for the past five or so years, I have been learning more about the practice of fasting at Lent and the reasoning behind it. I am praying that this year, Jesus will reveal Himself more fully and that I will grow deeper into Him. Giving up something to gain Christ seems like a winning formula. As I recognize my insufficiency in my own will-power, I see my desperate need for the cross.

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