Lent is coming. February 17. A time for being intentional about clearing away some of the obstacles between ourselves and God. There is a standard practice of giving up something – chocolate, alcohol – for the forty days (minus Sundays) before Easter. I’m not sure what that does for one’s closeness to God; I suppose the “giving up” can be a way of humbling oneself. I wrestle with it (maybe because I am so resistant to humility!). Anyway, I’ve never found “giving up” to be all that humbling – it mostly just proves to me that I can do it, and that is pride.
A friend of mine is giving up watching the news on television. Now that strikes me as a good Lenten discipline, because her intention is to re-balance what she is putting into her mind. She wants to see if she will be less anxious and preoccupied with negative thoughts, give God a chance to have more access.
I guess one way to approach the problem is to consider what areas of your life contain obstacles – various innocuous-seeming addictions, like daytime TV or exercise or sleazy romance novels, or, yes, even chocolate. Or there may be areas where there is a lack – good reading, exercise, raw vegetables – that need to be added.
These are my meanderings. I’d like to hear yours. Lent is fast approaching, and I haven’t yet settled on a way to observe it productively.