Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should I do it? Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Catholic church tradition. Many of us have at some point, do now, or know of others who give up something for the Lenten season. I can remember growing up thinking about what I would want to give up and being so thankful that I wasn't Catholic because I like eating chocolate and drinking sodas (this seemed to be what most of my friends would choose).

Today, as I sat down to pray, I realized that it is Ash Wed. What is this day all about? Why have people celebrated this season for thousands of years? Should I consider giving something up? Well, upon reflection and research it appears that the Lenten season is a time to reflect on our sinfulness (our brokenness) and prepare ourselves for Christ's resurrection on Easter. It is a time to call all people back to God and help us to recognize our need for Jesus and the hope that he provides.

On Sunday, Jeff talked about forgiveness and our inability, yet need, to understand how much we have been forgiven already. If you are interested in listening click here (its the one from Feb. 22)... it may not be up yet. Its hard for us to come to terms with how broken we are. But, I agree that wrestling with that brings us to a point of greater appreciation for what Christ has done for us and the hope that we have to live a new life NOW!

All of that to say, I think I am going to give something up this year. Its going to be a hard one. I sat here for about 20 minutes considering if it would even be possible to do. I don't like to fail, but Christ is here in my successes and failures. I am going to give up alcohol for Lent. Wow! Okay, now it is out there. You all know how much enjoy wine... I realize that I may enjoy it just a little too much and giving it up will probably help me get in touch with my brokenness in a new way. Here I go...

*SIDE NOTE* Please don't ask me if I'm pregnant when I don't drink for 40 days, I will be offended :)

I want to know, do you think this is a good idea? Is it worth it? Would you give something up? Why/why not?


NC Paul&Melanie said...

I think this is amazing, and not just because you are giving up alcohol. I don’t think alcohol is necessary bad in and off itself, it’s more about where you personal weaknesses are and whether it makes you “sin” or not. I’m thinking about when Paul had the dream where God told him it was okay to eat pork and other animals even though the Jewish found it sinful. Within a few verses (since I don’t have my bible at work I’m paraphrasing) Paul says that if you find it sinful then don’t do it, but other people (the Gentiles) can partake without it being sinful. I sort of feel that way about alcohol. I can’t judge or blame any one for liking to drink. I myself like a beer now and again. But I must commend you for giving it up…..I realize I’ve gone on a tangent. Don’t mind me if this make no sense! LOL.

traci said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I have done some soul searching on this one. And, I do believe it is a great thing for me to do, will stretch me and help to understand myself and my relationship with Christ better.

Upon reflection, I have actually decided to focus on giving up wine. I often do things in extreme (all or nothing) and even though giving up all of alcohol would be hard, I think having the option to chose beer or liquor (that I don't like that much, but sometimes partake in) will help me to understand where my enjoyment in alcohol comes in. Is it really that I just enjoy wine and that is a good thing, or do I use alcohol as a crutch?

does that make sense to anyone?

So, I will hopefully abstain from all fermented drink for the next 38 days, but if I have a beer or vodka tonic at some point, I hope to be very aware of my choice, not just the habit of having alcohol or if I'm having it to "fit in" or to "relax" or whatever...

Its already been a challenge (just 2 days) and tonight we are going out to eat with my parents, we usually drink a bottle of wine with them and I am going to not do it. I don't know if it will change the dynamic at all, but we will see.

Patrick said...

I celebrate (yes I intentionally use the word celebrate) Lent and have for several years. As you noted, the season is one of preparation that represents the period of temptation that Christ spent in the desert. Celebrating believers imitate what Christ did during this time, which was to separate himself in a time of reflection, prayer, and fasting in order to prepare Himself for the work ahead.

I commend you for undertaking this time period of reflection. Further, it's great to read the concern and care you have taken in choosing what you will deny yourself of. Sacrifice of some manner is central to this celebration as it mimics what Christ did and engenders a sense of reliance upon Him in our life.