Growing up Baptist among Catholic friends, I have known about the practice of giving up something for Lent, but I have not ever personally participated. Over the past year, God has been teaching me about sacrifice and obedience through fasting. I see fasting as a spiritual discipline that draws me closer to the Lord, when done with the right attitude and motives. So the idea of observing an extended period of sacrifice in order to prepare my heart for Easter had a different meaning for me this year.
Ever since last week's mistaken Ash Wednesday debacle, though, I have been kind of going back and forth in my mind about whether I will definitely observe Lent this year. Mainly, I want to make sure that I am doing it for the right reason, and not just to make myself feel better about myself or come across a certain way to other people. And I want to be sure that I won't fail at this, which I know that there are no guarantees about, except that because I'm human, I probably will have times of weakness and possibly will give in to temptation at some point during the Lenten season.
Tonight I came across a blog post from a local pastor about this subject. Actually, his words were not what encouraged me, but it was the comments of other people about how they plan to observe Lent. If you are interested, I'd recommend reading the comments, and I think that they have helped me to come to a decision about my personal observance. I am going to participate this year, and my hope and prayer is that God will do a transforming work in my heart between now and Easter Sunday.
By the way, if you ask me in person about what I've chosen to give up, I will share it with you, but I think I'd rather leave that out of this post. And just in case you're wondering, I don't plan to go get ashes on my forehead tomorrow.