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February 28, 2012

I’m Giving Up Broccoli for Lent

Is this Easter preparation season really about giving up the things we hate anyway? Or is there some other meaning?

broccoli.jpg

“I’m fasting from Facebook for Lent.”

So read my friend’s Facebook status last spring...for about two weeks...until she started using Facebook again.

Ah, the perils of announcing one’s Lenten fast!

I’ve only been giving up things for Lent for the past few years. As a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical, I never heard about Lent growing up—I didn’t even really know what it was until high school when I spent the night at the home of a Catholic friend. During dinner, her dad enthusiastically passed the broccoli. He then conspiratorially whispered to me: “I gave up broccoli for Lent!”

“Broccoli?” I asked.

“Yes, I hate it.”

He went on to explain that every year he fasted from broccoli; dietarily speaking, Lent was his favorite time of year. He gave himself “40 days off” from eating the despised green veggie his wife so often prepared.

My friend’s dad shared the view that many in our culture have of Lent: a time to give up something you don’t like very much anyway. Others view it as a time to try really, really hard to break a bad habit or, better yet, to give up sweets in order to lose weight. It’s a Survivor-like self-control contest: can you make it 40 whole days without drinking Diet Coke, eating chocolate, or, ah-hem, checking Facebook?

But Lent is meant to be much more than a muscle contest for the will. Rather, through fasting and focus, Lent helps us to enter into close communion with Jesus as we ponder our sinfulness and the grace coming at Calvary. Many evangelicals are rediscovering the spiritual richness of this ancient tradition.

Whether Lent’s relatively new to you (as it is to me), or it’s been part of your life’s rhythm for many years, let me offer a word of advice: pick something better than broccoli for your fast . . . and whatever you pick, don’t post it on Facebook!

What does Lent mean to you? How have you observed Lent in your life? Or if you don’t observe Lent, how do you like to prepare your heart to celebrate Easter?

Related Tags: communion, fast, lent, sacrifice

Comments

I get why we probably don't want to give up broccoli. On the other hand, there may be a reason to give up something seemingly mundane. For me it's about what I have become dependent on other than God for satisfaction. Or what indulgence have I taken for granted. I think there is merit in anything we give up as long as it's done as unto Him!

I don't know about preparing my heart for Easter, I look at 'preparing my heart' for Him a daily thing - every day of my life. Confessing sin, growing in faith, making an effort to be disciplined in my Christian walk. Maybe its different for me, because almost 20 years ago on Easter - on Resurrection Sunday is the very day I gave my life to Christ.

About six months prior to that Easter Sunday, I had spent a lot of time studying God's Word with a trusty Concordance - repenting of sin - longing to know who this God was and if He really was real. I twenty-questioned my husband (whom I was dating at the time) to death about spiritual things. And come that Resurrection Sunday, I was finally convinced with great assurance that Jesus is EXACTLY who He claimed to be. I will never forget sitting in the chair, and I looked up toward the ceiling and said in my heart, "Lord, I know with all my heart that Jesus is who He claims to be. I believe ... You can have me now."

My life has never been the same ... so every year at this time is an automatic time of reflection just because of what it personally means to me. :o)

This year for the first time I have up sweets (chocolate) for Lent. The impact on my Spiritual life has been nothing short of miraculous. I have run to chocolate as my primary comforter for way too long. Praying as I shop or reading HIS word with chocolate breath has been my norm. Stopping and repenting the desire for something so insignificant when I can turn to the one that loves me best, wants what is best for me, and has all the answers, has changed everything.

I was raised catholic and remember eating fish sticks on Friday instead of meat. To this day I can't eat a fish stick. When I accepted Jesus and was given the holy spirit my life has never been the same, as those who have been saved know, and nowhere in the Bible are Christians instructed to fast for "lent" and what is lent but something Catholics made up. Instead giving seething up, try giving christs love to those who normally annoy you!

I grew up in a Christian home where we did not experience Lent. Now that I work with Catholic women I thought I would give it a try. I have way too much stuff. Like food, I find comfort in the many things I have. After reading an article here in Kyria about way too much stuff, I decided that I would give up the stuff I have accumlated over the years. I find that it gives me joy to give these many things that I don't need to our local thrift store. I also think about why I need to look to Christ instead of these things I possess. I also decided to add to the Lent idea. Instead of every morning waking up and complaining in my head about getting ready for work, I wake wake up praising God for who He is. Every day I wake and give praise to the character of God. This has started my day with joy. I have learned through Lent that He is the only one who can give me comfort and joy.

Let us be reminded that it is not just in Lent that we need to give up something. The need to deny our selves and willingness to loss our life is a continuous process.

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