Hard to believe but another year has come since last year’s effort at setting aside the noise and giving up the superficial “Lent” for Lent. As I tried to explain last year, the traditions around giving something up aren’t the point: the point is to focus on God, to draw nearer to him over these weeks, and so if it takes giving up chocolate or beer to do that, then fine, but the essential point is to get closer to God.
To that end, this year my bride and I are trying something a little different. This year, instead of giving something up for Lent, we’re giving something up every day. Let me explain.
Each day, we’re going to go through our home, our offices, our lives, and we’re going to jettison something that clutters our life–something that gets in the way of a simpler life, something that prevents us from having more time for reflection and devotion and growth in Christ. For instance, I’ve gone through the top two drawers in my dresser. If yours are anything like mine, they were f-i-l-l-e-d with clutter. I got rid of old membership cards, luggage tags (!), broken cufflinks, things that I simply do not need in my life. I’ve also put away some of the last bits of College Boy’s high school graduation paraphernalia that I’d held onto; I don’t need it out, it can go away. I’ve gone through my closet and soon I’ll go through the rest of my dresser, pulling out things I’ve not worn in years and where I know someone else can make far better use of them than I can.
In some regard, that’s the easy stuff. In a few days I imagine we’ll get past the low-hanging fruit and still be looking for things to give up. Then it might get harder. We may start giving up as much TV as we watch in the evenings, so we can spend more time in study. We may start giving up time on social media, or memberships in some clubs or organizations that, y’know, we just haven’t been active in but still keep paying dues. And by the end of this time of Lent, maybe we’ll have stripped down our lives to the point that we can be free of so many distractions, and can focus more on Christ: so we can more readily
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim/
In the light of his glory and grace.”
Wishing for a Lent that leads us back to Jesus, back to the full relationship we’re called to have.
And if all else fails, we can try this: