Lent Is Here

“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting,
but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father,
who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:17-18
Image of Matthew 6:17-18I am one of the biggest advocates of planning ahead. I preach it and I practice it and for the most part I’m consistent, except for when it comes to Lent.
I just don’t know what it is. Every year the Lenten Season comes around the same time, and every year I’m surprised that it’s here. Then I spend the day before Ash Wednesday scrambling and scurrying to get prepared for the 40+ days ahead. If I’m going to fast, I very spiritually ask God to tell me what to fast, and if possible by the end of the day so I can stop at the store when I leave work. Then I write down what I want to “get out of my fast” and the “purpose” for which I’m fasting.
Rubbish! I mean seriously, most of us are fasting because that’s what we’re supposed to do at Lent. Unfortunately fasting has become less of a spiritual practice and more of a fad. Some people are so accustomed to it, that they haven’t asked God what their fast should consist of in years. They know they’re going to do The Daniel Fast, or stop drinking or give up Facebook because they do the same thing every single year.
And the reasons we fast are just as bad as the methods. Sure we say we’re doing The Daniel Fast so God can be our source. But it’s actually because we know we’ll lose at least 8 lbs. and reward ourselves with a cute new Easter outfit. We avoid (I mean abstain from) social media so we can finally do the stuff we’ve been putting off for the last month. We don’t watch TV because there’s nothing good on this time of year anyway. Well, except for The Walking Dead which returns this Sunday.
Sorry, I digressed.
If you find yourself fasting out of habit, or just so you can say you’re fasting, rededicate your fast to the Lord. Actually talk to your Heavenly Father about what He wants for you during this season. He will tell you. When he gives you the answer and you follow his lead, he will give you all the strength and support you need to successfully complete your fast and be victorious in the end.
(Contributing Writer: Marlena Patterson)