2013 was one of the first years I participated in Lent. In the past, I always viewed Lent as part-time Christians embarking on a diet. Folks who are anything but religious somehow flip a switch on Ash Wednesday. Many people I know would just use this ‘Holy accountability’ to ditch sweets and lose weight. This is a cynic’s lens, and I understand that looking back.
Times have changed, and I don’t look at it that way anymore. If non-spiritual people want to eliminate alcohol for 40 days and 40 nights, fantastic! It’s their prerogative and hey, who knows, God works in mysterious ways – you never know how someone may be drawn closer to Christ. Everyone has a different journey, and I’m certainly not in a position to call any journey better or worse.
So this year, as opposed to being a pouting by-stander boycotting Lent, I decided to give it a shot. And lucky for me, Jessie was going to do it with me. We thought through a list of things to give up or take on, and eventually settled on an idea we had gotten from someone in our small group: no noise while in the car. This means no music, radio, or talking on the phone while commuting.
It’s not very often in life that I just get silence. Phones are always ringing, people are always around, and everyone is so busy in life that silence is rare. It’s amazing, too, that one of the only refuges I have for complete silence is commuting in my vehicle. I had developed a habit of always turning on the radio or listening to music, which often times, I’ll admit, is fantastic! Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite moments in life are in the car jamming out or cracking up listening to BaD Radio. But after Lent, I noticed that many times I turned on the radio or cranked up the iPod it was simply out of habit as opposed to deep-down desire. It was as if I was ‘filling space’.
My experience surpassed all of my expectations. I found myself much more organized as I had time to sit in silence and structure my thoughts. I found myself reflecting on a day or situations that occurred. And most importantly, I found myself praying (eyes open, of course!) – having numerous ‘side-conversations’ with God. All of this wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Lent.
It’s amazing how simple some of this seems, yet it all adds up to something spectacular. I’m beginning to realize this is a common theme in all of life.
Hope everyone had a blessed Easter!