Thursday, March 10, 2011

My first *ever* experience with Lent...

I never understood Lent. I always knew that the 40 days before Easter were reserved as a period of fasting for those "religious" folks, but never really thought it would be for me. Since my relationship with Christ has become more and more developed over the years, this year we've decided to participate in Lent.
We all have our vices..."fasting" during Lent can be a literal fast (such as that of Jesus and his 40 day fast in the wilderness) or it can be abstaining from something; the ultimate goal is to cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ. We want to come out of Lent just *that* much more Christ-like. 
Granted, certain religions have guidelines for Lent, I actually do not. Lent to me is a period of time where I give something up, add something to replace my vice, and create a "theme" for my Lent.
This year, I'm excited to say that my family and I are giving up an over-use of energy. Read: We're partying it up like it's the 1800's and going by candlelight as much as possible, we're cutting down our use of electric/gas heat, we're driving less, and we're in general trying to consume less energy-so anything and everything that entails! The idea behind this is not to abandon all technology and energy, but to cut down our use. I am a BIG "lights on" person, so this will be a particular challenge for me!
Additionally, Brandon and I started a 40 day prayer challenge that we have officially started as of yesterday. We had no idea yesterday was Ash Wednesday and therefore the beginning of Lent, so how convenient is that? Our 40 day prayer challenge coincides perfectly with Lent!
Our "theme" for lent is simplicity and generosity. We have vowed to give away one item per day during Lent. At the end, we'll take our bounty and drop it off at Goodwill. The idea behind this is to learn that things of this world do not matter, and we are also following God's orders for us to be charitable and "not of this world". Since "giving away" things seems to be against the culture of our nation, we saw this as a perfect opportunity. 

So, Lent 2011 is about more prayer, less consumption, and more generosity and simplicity. 

On Wednesday, I put together a bag of giveaway clothes. Today, I have put together a bag of toys for donation.