Gratitude Day 223
Mon., Mar. 4, 2019
Joel 2:12 – Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your hearts, with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow;
It’s coming this week. Ash Wednesday is coming this week.
So, what’s the big deal about Ash Wednesday?
Would you like to know a bit more? Great. Let me share.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, which sets aside 40 days before Easter. Lent is a time for personal reflection; a time to re-evaluate where and how you have been drawn into the world’s ways and away from God’s ways. It’s finding the balance of living in the world as well as living in God’s way. Often, it’s a difficult tight rope between the two. Lent is a time to ponder your personal journey between these two ways. It’s a great opportunity to see where you are doing well and where you could make improvement. It’s a time when you can seek clarity in your life and relationship with God.
Lent also begins a tradition of people “eliminating” or “fasting” from something so they can feel closer to God. As Jesus “gave up” his life for our benefit, we are encouraged to “give up” or “fast” something important to us during these 40 days. Historically, Catholics do not eat meat on Friday. I try not to eat sugar or sweets during Lent. One year, Hubby Rick gave up catch-up for Lent. For some people, this may not seem like a big deal. For Rick? It was a HUGE deal! (I think he ate a whole bottle of ketchup on Easter that year.)
While I think fasting a food or food group during Lent helps us recognize the sacrifice Jesus made for us, there is another way to look at Lent. Maybe, the fast should be more about our hearts and less about what we put into our mouths. What behavior could we consider eliminating or reducing? What hurtful things in our lives could we live without?
Recently, I put together my “fast from” list for Lent 2019. Here it is:
These are some areas in my life where I know I could make improvements. And while I won’t be perfect, I hope that this little list can be a daily reminder that these are priorities for this Lenten fast.
What are some areas which you could fast from this Lent? Sit down and make a list. Just don’t wait until Wednesday to put the pen to the paper and the thoughts into action. Use my list as inspiration. Share it near and far. For with fasting, we can return to the Lord. With fasting, we can eliminate those things which keep us from fully loving God. With some intention this Lent, may, just maybe, we will see our personal relationship with God sour and grow and explode. Now wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to get our hearts prepared for Easter!!
For the optimism of fasting behaviors during Lent, I am grateful.
Lord God – May we get excited about fasting this Lent. Help us see behaviors that need some fine-tuning. Most importantly, may this approaching Lent help us truly appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for our benefit. Amen.
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