Giving Up For Lent

Giving up for Lent is something I have never considered doing. My wife and I already exercise periodic times of fasting and specific prayer during the year. So, why the special focus from us during this season of Lent?

We seek answers and some direction.

Giving Up for Lent

Giving up something of great value to each of us during these six weeks, we had initially hoped to arrive to the end of the Lenten season to receive answers to our questions along with direction for our next steps.

Well, things have changed. In just these three short weeks of fasting and praying during Lent, our perspectives have shifted.

For me, I began Lent with the sincerest intentions. Shortly into the journey, I realized something within my thought process and intentions were askew to the true purpose of Lent.  I am humbled to confess to you that I have come to realize that my dedicated commitment to the performance of a modest sacrifice and prayer had been driven by something other than God. The brief journey had become more about me and the request for my desires to be fulfilled.

My commitment had been based on a personal expectation, a belief that I could actually arrive to Easter with my demands in hand simply because I delivered a flawless performance. I had convinced myself that if I held up my end of the bargain, surely God would meet my requests during this time.

Why would I expect such a transaction to occur?

Lent is the season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. Period. Lent is not that formula in which doing “A” automatically requires God to provide us our “B.”

So, what now?  Repentance.

My wife and I now fast and pray with a new focus and a changed intent.  Instead of looking ahead to what we expect to receive, we are now trusting God to use this time to simply draw our hearts closer to Him.  Period.

My wife is currently reading Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. In this study, Shirer explains our new focus so very well, 

No longer do I frantically search for God’s will; I frantically search for God.  I trust that it is His responsibility to show me what He wants me to do and how to do it by speaking through the Holy Spirit and Word of God.  As I seek Him, stay in His Word, and continue to keep an intimate relationship with Him by confessing sin, He transforms my mind and emotions to align with His plans.

 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

We now pray… 

  • May this Lenten season become that spiritual watershed to make us more aware of His supernatural presence within our lives
  • May His molding of our minds, our emotions, and our wills draw us closer to Him
  • May our lives bring Him praise.

The choice to observe Lent is a personal one.  I am so very thankful I made the decision to participate this year, and it is with a renewed joy that I now eagerly continue to seek Him.

Brad Poel says:

Great post, Rodney. Wise words and perspective change. That’s a great quote from Shirer too:
“No longer do I frantically search for God’s will; I frantically search for God.” …great application for my everyday spiritual journey–seeking God without expectation or a selfish, conditional mindset.

Rodney Bowen says:

Thanks, Brad! Yes, it is definitely a daily journey for me, too. I am glad to hear the article is helpful. Talk soon!

Mary Bernard says:

Rodney, you have brought me to tears with this post. So moving. So true. Isn’t it amazing how even our “best works for the Lord” are tainted with our sin? I appreciate your honesty, transparency, and sincerity in this post. It has encouraged me today to simply seek HIM — not answers, solutions, prizes, directives, etc.

And that is so hard for me. SO. HARD.

I feel like we have been going through and praying about some of the same things for years on end. And I’m typically just like, “Lord, enough already. Can I just learn this lesson and move on?” Hmmm. It’s not about a lesson, is it? It’s about seeking him and simply relying on him for everything.

You know this verse? — “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

As I consider it, I see that we are to RECEIVE that which is revealed to us and DO the words of the law, knowing that the secret things belong to God. There’s freedom in that, isn’t there? 🙂

Great post. Lots to meditate upon. Thank you!

RodneyDBowen says:

Thank you so much for your comment, Mary! Yes, there’s definitely freedom in that.