Considering Lent...

Even though my church doesn't practice Lent I have often given something up during the 40 days preceding Easter. It is supposed to be a rememberance of Jesus's 40 days in the desert, "a season of penance, reflection, and fasting," a time of preparation...

But what is given up? One year it was soda- I never drank soda again... What kind of sacrifice is that? It has been facebook... supposed to give me more time to reflect on Christ... Did that ever happen? Last year, I gave up HGTV... again for more time... but I think I just filled it with time on the computer.

And as I pray this year for what I need to sacrifice in my life nothing really comes to mind... Not because I am perfect but because I just can't think of something... Is that really bad?
And then I wonder what was Jesus doing in the 40 days preceding His crucifixion? He was praying (in Gethsemane), He was singing with the disciples (Matthew 26:30), He was celebrating (the Last Supper), He was preaching parables, He was praying, He was loving... This was a busy time for Jesus Christ. So what does that mean...
I want "to sacrifice that I might be more like Christ in His sacrifice." ~ Ann Voskamp
“If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” ~ Amy Carmichael
"I want to know Christ- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." ~ Philippians 3:10-11

So what if this suffering, this sacrifice is more about doing, that don't... If I don't watch HGTV or stalk on facebook, what am I doing? The past has proved that am not doing more glorify or more preparation... So as I learn to hammer and practice, practice, practice my one thousand gifts, what if I practice, practice, practice more doing, more glorifying?

And then I found this:
Alternatives to the usual...

1. Don’t Give Up Television. Pick a book (perhaps just more of the Bible?) to read this season. Make sure you take time to read before you turn on the tube.

2. Don’t Give Up Shopping. Pick a missionary or charity for giving and send a financial gift-every day of Lent, every week, whatever. Then go shopping and see what you just can’t live without.

3. Don’t Give Up Junk Food. Choose a neighbor or family member for whom you can cook a meal or bake a goodie. Spend your snacking time cooking and delivering.

4. Don’t Give Up Facebook. But, before you sign on, think of who you’ll stalk (smile) and take some time to pray for them. Or, stop as you’re reading and pray for the people you’ve read about and the pictures you’ve seen.

5. Don’t Give Up Email. But, take a few minutes to write some tangible notes these 40 days. Use stamps and that thing called a mailbox and say ‘Thank You,’ or ‘thinking of you,’ or just say things you just can’t say over a computer.

And to me that makes sense... A practice, a sacrifice. A doing, not a don't.
So 5 practices. 40 days. 8 days per sacrifice.
It begins today. My Lenten sacrifice. The preparing of my heart.
This is a journey... I journey I am so thankful for.

{And I'm a list type person so for each of the practices I will post what I will be doing for those 8 days. (also to keep me accountable!)}

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