Today is Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent. Many Christians choose this day to give up something, whether it’s meat, candy, coffee, television, internet — the list is endless.
I feel about this tradition the same way as I do New Years resolutions. If people want to make a change in their life, why wait for a date to do it? What’s wrong with today? After all, none of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. Today, really, is all we have.
That said, a friend of mine wrote a lovely email about what she plans to do for Lent. She also admitted that in doing so, she’s not doing it so much for her faith, but for herself. The purpose of giving something up for Lent is to remind ourselves of Jesus’ sacrifice — his life for ours. Giving up coffee, television or chocolate doesn’t even compare to that.
For the last few months, a small voice keeps whispering this scriptural passage to me:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4: 8 (NLT)
Concentrating so hard on finishing my novels, and delving into the darker side of humanity to make the novels work, I need to turn my gaze upon all that is good for a while. Especially now that all my books are now complete (more on that in my next entry).
So this Lenten season, I’m not going to give up anything. I am instead adding prayer, and study of God’s word. The fact I’m starting today isn’t necessarily because of Ash Wednesday. It’s because it’s today, and today is the best and only place to start.