Preparing the heart for the season of Lent <3

Cactus in a teapot Taken at the Hummingbird Cafe San Juan Capistrano CA

As you are probably aware, Lent starts tomorrow with the observance of Ash Wednesday. 

I have been thinking and asking God about what I should (or if I should) give up anything for the forty days of Lent. Some prompts came along as I was contemplating various things I have given up in the past including coffee and chocolate. The question to ask, so it would seem is, what have I been relying on for comfort, guidance, security…that isn’t God. 

Well, in those past seasons when coffee and chocolate were my fast choice, those would have been the answers. My coffee intake in some seasons was beyond the healthy range and the idea of having to do without it on a morning when I was having labs done would send me into a mild panic. Or if we were running low, I made a trip to the grocery simply for coffee backup. 

There were also times where I kept a bag of dark chocolate in the baking cabinet and if it ran empty, I could always rely on the semisweet chocolate morsels to get me through to the next candy run. 

But this year neither of those are an issue. I still love my coffee and dark chocolate but they did not come up as an answer for the pivotal question…. “What am I going to for comfort, guidance, relief, security out of habit?”

No. This year it is something that has been convicting me right along. 

I know it when I see my “Your screen time was up 5% this week” notices pop up on Monday morning. I felt it when one of our sermons in the last series talked about our phones and the hold they have on us. It weighs on me when I set the book aside I meant to read in the evening as I check out the latest recipes, exercises and funny memes. 

So “scrolling Instagram” was the answer that popped into my mind every time I have come across a post about Lent and fasting from something. Social media was something I avoided for many years. I knew it didn’t bring out the best in me and fueled my insecurities and feelings of being less than. 

During Covid isolation, I began to find it a place of connection and it filled the gap of social dysfunction brought on by the pandemic. I could keep up with friends and family and I got a better handle on not letting comparison and fear of missing out get a hold on me. 

But now it has become a diversion as we have entered back into social interaction and a fairly normal return to routine. It’s an escape. 

Why cook a great meal when you can just watch several reels of wonderful recipes being made and go warm up your leftovers? 

Why exercise when you can get a bunch of ideas and save them to your “fitness file” and then move along into the day because you don’t have time now to actually do them?

Why reach out to a friend or meet for coffee when you can sort of have friends “chatting” with you from their stories?

And then there is Facebook, where I scroll and scroll hoping to find just one more good post from a friend to like or I am afraid I will miss someone’s birthday or some new bit from our community. Time slips away as I roll my thumb across the screen and believe me, the time invested is not justified in the results of transformation in my life. 

Yes. It is time to do a deep cut for a while for this social media butterfly. 

But here is my dilemma. 

I use Facebook to share these posts and I know a lot of people read this only because it is on Facebook. Also on Fridays, I like to share a post celebrating the great shoppe I get to work in and I use both Facebook and Instagram for this. 

So in full transparency, and hopefully for full accountability, here is the plan:

  • Monday – Friday share the post on Facebook and respond to anyone who has commented so I am not ignoring you and then exit. No scrolling. No exploring. 
  • Friday – share the Five Favorites For Friday from the store and fill in the information on the Instagram post and exit. No scrolling. No exploring. 
  • Saturday – use the various posts I have saved in my Instagram and actually write down the recipe, exercises and ideas that I need and delete. Allow only a half hour for this. If I miss the window….better luck next week. 

Here is what I anticipate happening. 

  • I assume I will find myself absently reaching for my phone out of habit when I am waiting somewhere or sitting down in a tired moment. 
  • I will probably wonder what I am missing out there that is going on in other people’s lives, and for some people this is the way they communicate important events so that will be hard. 
  • I will most likely worry that someone is mad at me because I didn’t respond to their post about some fantastic thing going on in their world. 
  • I will miss some great promotions, sales, recipes and tips that would have made my life so much better. Sigh. 
  • There will be awkward conversation as someone asks me if I saw such and so on FB or Instagram. 

Some of you may relate to this and some of you may be thinking I am rather shallow. Well. I am. 

And that’s the point. I recognize that I have let this become too consuming of my time under the guise of “staying connected to the people I love.” 

I believe God will open my time to more study of Him and new ways to connect with people I feel I am losing touch with. 

I will let you know how it’s going from time to time along the way. 

Mostly I hope you are asking yourself the hard question above and listening to what your heart answers every time you ask. It may surprise you and I hope you sit down and figure out how you can take a break from it in a way that is God-seeking, grace-lived and pharisee-free. 

Giving that thing up is really opening yourself to more of God and that is such a blessing. 

We will begin an Journey through Lent tomorrow and I am excited for the next six weeks with you <3 

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