Today is Ash Wednesday, the day millions of Christian believers around the world confront their own mortality and confess their sins before God. I am one of those millions.
Many of us attend worship services and allow pastors to etch ash crosses on our foreheads as a public demonstration of our humility before God. In our church, the pastor ends the service by draping a large outside cross with purple fabric to remind passers-by that the Lenten season has begun.
Lent is a 40-day period (not including Sundays) when believers prepare for the coming of Easter, the observance day of Jesus rising from the dead. We take this time to reflect on our sins and prayerfully reconcile with God.
Many of us deny ourselves something important in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Each person’s choice of what’s important is different. It should be something that the person uses or does regularly.
In the past, I’ve given up coffee, sweets, bread, fingernail polish, lipstick, social media and magazines. Each time I’ve searched my purse for lipstick or cringed at my bland fingernails, I am reminded of the mighty sacrifice Jesus made for us. My small inconveniences pale in comparison.
I recommend you search your heart this year and determine something in your life that doesn’t especially glorify God and consider giving it up for 40 days. You may even discover on Day 41 that you don’t need whatever you gave up. God will bless you for your efforts.
My college roommate is giving up stuff she doesn’t need. On each day of Lent, she’ll fill a bag with items she hasn’t used in years and donate the 40 bags to Goodwill the Monday after Easter. What a great idea!
What am I denying myself? I’ve decided to give up unladylike language. I’m hoping by Day 41, I’ll have a larger, more polished, vocabulary to deal with my frustrations. Anyone have any suggestions?
What will you do to observe Lent?