A week after Easter I decided to reflect on my Lenten season to see what I learned. Growing up Baptist we never participated in Lent. However, over the years I have met people who do give up things from Ash Wednesday to Easter as a sacrifice to our Lord. Last year I participated in Lent for the first time. Lent is the period of 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter, observed by some Christian churches with fasting, penitence, prayer and self-denial. The aim is for parishioners to make sacrifices as they spiritually prepare for Easter, moving closer to God. This year, Ash Wednesday was March 9. Easter was April 24. There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.
Deciding what to give up for Lent isn't an easy choice. Pastors suggest people consider what's valuable to them, and that includes their time. I used the time last year to study the Bible and to give up a little cursing issue I have. This year I upped the ante as they say. I gave up three addictions that I had in the hopes that I would turn towards the Bible instead of towards those things. I am gave up Twitter (yes, I am addicted), Pepsi (been addicted), and cursing (no it didn't take from last year). I was so hopeful and excited about this time of prayer and the freedom from these addictions.
I gave up Twitter for several reasons. The main reason was/is my time. I get Twitter updates on my phone all during the day and spend FAR too much time checking in and reading updates.I also find myself in trivial conversations with people I do not know. Not only does it waste my time but there is a lot of negativity on Twitter that has pulled me away from clean thoughts and healthy living. I have spent more time on Twitter than with my Bible in recent months and that had to stop. I also needed to rekindle relationships with people I know in real life. I had begun to talk to people on Twitter like I know them. I don't.
My love affair with Pepsi has been going on for as long as I can remember. I love it. It's my coffee, snack, etc. I know this is unhealthy for me and it's time to let it go. If my body is God's temple then Pepsi isn't what I should be pouring into it. And cursing. Wow. I don't curse a lot but there are times when a word or two slip out. It's not ladylike and can't sound well when I'm trying to extol the virtues of Christianity.
So how did I do? Well, Twitter was easy. I deleted my account. I also deleted SocialScope from my phone. So it was more trouble than it was worth to try to sign in. I made it 40 days and 40 nights without my Twitter friends. What's changed? Now that I am back I don't feel the need to check Twitter every second. I can go hours (gasp- I know) without an update and for me that's a wonderful thing. I also did myself a favor by starting fresh with a new account. I got rid of the negative people I was following without having to manually unfollow them. There were far too many to do that. Now I find people that I want in my life and most of them have been happy to see me return.
Pepsi has been the most shocking result of all. I thought that after 40 days I'd crave a Pepsi but I still have not had one. I chalk this up to the fact that I am on Weight Watchers and those Pepsi's are rather expensive on the points diet. There's no need to blow my diet until I can sing annoyingly loud like Jennifer Hudson.
During Lent I can honestly say I had one slip up. I cursed. I was in am animated conversation with my girls on a trip to Chicago. The conversation topic? Guess. Men. Our dating lives were enough to make me curse. It was a week before Easter so I still think I did pretty good. I learned that I don't NEED to be on Twitter 24/7 and Pepsi should be used as a treat. Now cursing? I didn't learn anything. Sometimes a curse word is the only thing that works in a situation. :-)
How was your Lent? What did you give up? Have you ever taken a break (Lent or otherwise) from social media? Let me know your thoughts.