I am glad to be back to writing after unplugging for 40 days of Lent. What a transforming time it has been, full of change, heartache, and growth!
I first learned about Lent from a Catholic girl in my res during my first year at University and then from another Catholic friend during my honours year. I decided to research what it meant and immediately felt compelled to practice Lent during the next year. Although I am not Catholic and am a Christian, I decided that I would use the core principal and fast/abstain from certain aspects for 40 days in preparation and in celebration of the death of Jesus Christ. My first Lent was in 2012 and I gave up coffee, it was not as hard as I thought and each subsequent year I have tried to give up something more difficult to work through, Most years I fast / abstain from using social media as it tends to take up a lot of my time which could be used more productively and with God. Check out a previous post about my struggle with social media here.
This year I gave up chocolate (sacrifice) social media (distractor) and decided to listen to Christian music 80% of the time when driving (worship) and it was a tough one, but I am glad I stuck to it especially after suffering a very early miscarriage in the beginning of March. Here are the five things practicing Lent taught me this year:
I really love chocolate
Let’s be honest, I love chocolate! It was hard to say no to easter eggs and chocolate cake especially during a time when I wanted to eat all my feelings. However, it is a fact that chocolate tastes so much better if you haven’t had it for a while
You don’t really miss much on social media
After Lent I did not feel a great need to go onto Instagram or Facebook nor did I have a compulsion to post during Lent, but after I checked all my notifications I did not feel that I had missed that much. Yes, some people on my friend’s list had their babies and some tagged me in funny pictures, but did it change my life significantly? No
Music is medicine
If you read my music is medicine post, you will know that I listen to music when I feel down. I set a goal to listen to worship music for the majority of the time when driving during Lent and it is amazing how that 30minutes of singing praise and worship changed my mood and deepened my relationship with God. I shuffled the music so random songs came up and it was so awesome that certain songs that were applicable to my mood and state of mind came up. Some days I cried as I sang, other days I sang so loud I didn’t even notice the traffic. Music truly is medicine and worship music is the cure to any mood.
My suffering is a drop in the ocean
There were days where I struggled to stick to my fasts, when I would rather want a chocolate or listen to something else, but I realised that this discomfort was nothing compared to the pain and suffering that Jesus endured on his way to being crucified and hanging on the cross to pay the price for my sin and shame. Even my heartbreak and sadness was nothing compared to the sadness and heartbreak He feels when people choose to not know Him, when He loses one of His children and when He feels loss and pain.
God is all I need
The last lesson is the most important. During Lent, I did not have any other resource to lean on for inspiration and guidance other than God. I did not watch inspirational youtube videos, I did not read blogs and I did not go on Pinterest looking for quotes to help me deal with my emotions. I only had God, and you know what? That was all I needed! When I relied on Him to comfort me, when I took my pain and sorrow to Him, when I dealt with frustrations and anger by talking to Him about it, I realised that He is all I need. His grace, mercy, and love covers me and guides me and without Him, I will never be the me I was meant to be. Total reliance and surrender is such a relief and brings so much joy. I will still continue to watch video’s, read blogs and pin quotes, but I will always make God my first point of call.
May you also find rest in the One who is the ultimate place of rest, recharge, and grace.
Until next time!