Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Lent: Day 1 // What's it all about and what are you doing?

So today was the first day of Lent and you hear the typical 'Lent question': "So, what are you giving up for Lent this year?", usually quickly followed by: "Do you think you'll actually manage the whole 40 days this year??". 

So, what is Lent? Essentially, it is marking the 40 days leading up to Easter, when Jesus was tempted in the desert by the devil, before He finally made the biggest sacrificial gift of all in giving His life to atone for our sins. So now we mark those 40 days by living sacrificially ourselves  in some way or another.

To be honest, I was toying with the idea of giving up something like cake or chocolate or something (with the added benefit of weight loss, right??), but it didn't seem like what I wanted to do for Lent. It didn't seem particularly meaningful for me personally because it didn't really make a difference to anybody else as such.

Now, I am not trying to belittle giving something up for Lent (that is the tradition after all)! I am simply saying that for me, the 2 important parts of observing Lent should be (1) remembering and recognising why we 'celebrate' it, and (2) that what I do to observe Lent, should make a difference to the world around me, not just to myself.

Like I said in my New Years Resolution post for 2014, I want 2014 about being more proactive about actively making a difference to the world I live in and to the lives of the people I interact with and meet every day, as well as those who are suffering far away.  So I decided that instead of giving something up for Lent, I would do something positive for each of the 40 days. 

Isaiah 58 has been on my heart for 2014 so far. It talks of what 'true fasting' is, not for show, but for doing to others what is on God's heart, which is again why I wanted to do something to mark Lent, but something that gave back, rather than just something that looks like I'm observing a tradition or somehow vaguely 'depriving' myself for 40 days. 

So in my research today, I came across some good suggestions of how one might do this:

1) Pledging to join an organisation like Watershed for 40 days in giving up something (like coffee, take away, chocolate) and donating the savings after 40 days to projects that do good.

2) Soul Action's 'Live Free': It sets out a discussion about Lent and gives 40 days worth of challenges and scriptures about how to live free.

3) 40 acts 'DO LENT GENEROUSLY': 40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously. This is an initiative to promote generous living (not necessary to make a financial commitment) through acts of kindness and goodness. Every day for the 40 days, you will get an email with your 'mission' for the day. 

I decided to sign up for 40 acts this Lent. I also decided to incorporate Soul Action's 'Live Free' daily thoughts and readings into my 30:30 Challenge that I happen to be doing with Joyce Meyer Ministries (spending 30mins a day for 30 days studying The Bible, rather than just reading it, to grow in intimacy with and understanding of God through His Word). In terms of donating financially, any extra money will go to my Operation Christmas Child mission of filling at least 12 boxes personally and trying to inspire others to help me fill 100 boxes in total for Christmas 2014.

{Lent} Day 1:

40 acts // Start a journal // Create a journal, and begin Lent with a gratitude list. What things are you thankful for today? Next, write a wish list – but not the usual kind – this is a list of the people you’d like to specifically bless throughout 40acts. Take a picture of your journal or your gratitude list, upload it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, and tag it with #40acts.

my journal

Live Free // Think about what you would like to be free of this Lent. Write it down. Pray that God will set you free from what is holding you back #BeFree #LiveFree


So for me, I guess Lent 2014 is a mix of creating good, lifelong habits that will grow my heart both spiritually and actively in how I love others and the world that we live in.

Looking forward to seeing what Day 2 holds! 


Ronell x

PS  If anyone has other Lent suggestions, please do share them! 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" 

{Isaiah 58v6-7}

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