I'm an observer. I love to people watch, figure things out on my own, learn by example... For nearly 10 years now I have celebrated Lent, or a Non-Denominational Christian version of Lent, but come on, that is not nearly as simple to say!! People always ask, "but you're not Catholic are you?" Nope. I'm not. However, this is what I've gathered in my 10 years on this journey of deciding what being a Christian looks like to me. Christianity, as people portray it in today's society is relatively lazy. We go to church on Sunday, sometimes on Wednesday, a camp or retreat now and then, and then...... silence. Now, please don't get me wrong, I know there are exceptions to everything, so I use the term "lazy" loosely.
I love religion and learning about how other faiths function. Let's take the Muslim faith for example. A devout Muslim typically stops to pray several times throughout the day. They are not ashamed, they are not bothered by others, they are reverent and consistent. Now, switch over to the Catholic faith. They celebrate Advent and Lent among other things. Advent is the 24 days leading up to the "birth of Christ" or Christmas. It is a time of giving. A time of reflection and renewal of faith. The forty days leading up to Easter are recognized as "Lent," or a season of sacrifice.
These things are missing in the Christian faith. Prayer is something that is reserved for Sunday mornings, for the quiet of your home, for small group time, etc. We don't usually stop what we are doing at specific times of the day and pray boldly. Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if we did?! We don't spend major amounts of time in December giving to others, not just of our money but of our time, talents, etc. We volunteer in the homeless shelters, take food to families in need, spend extra time with family.... but then Christmas morning arrives, and again, WE ARE GUILTY OF THIS TOO... our kids wake up and there are hundreds of dollars worth of presents under the tree, wrapping paper flies everywhere, food is prepared and eaten, and very little if any time is specifically reserved for the one who made Christmas a thing in the first place.... JESUS, God's son. What if we fed the homeless, volunteered, spent time with our families, and celebrated Jesus FIRST on Christmas morning. What would that do for our hearts?! What would that do for the hearts of our children?!
Now, on the my favorite season: Non-Denominational Christian version of Lent Season LOL
In the forty days leading up to Easter we observe Lent. Today, in the Catholic faith, is Ash Wednesday. There are no ashes on my head today, and aside from writing this and explaining myself, you wouldn't know that today was any different for me than yesterday, but it is. Today, I fast. Again, I am telling this to you guys only because of this. Typically, fasting for Lent is reverent and doesn't require an announcement, just a day of quiet sacrifice (of food) in order to get my body and mind right for a very important season. Tomorrow I will continue onto a Vegan diet which I will maintain for the entire season (by choice), God willing. I chose going Vegan, with the exception of honey, for my "sacrifice" or "thing to give up" (animal product, by product), because my body needed it. Every time I crave a steak, a piece of chicken, or a burger, I remember that I am sacrificing those things which reminds me to spend time praying, and after asking who needs prayer, I have plenty to pray for ;)
I guess what I am trying to say is that observing Lent means being intentional in my walk with Christ. It means spending time daily praying, remembering the ultimate sacrifice God made for me. It means becoming stronger in my faith, teaching my kids by being their example, and being more diligent about not being a lazy Christian!
So, I encourage all of you to take a closer look at what matters to you. You don't have to be like everyone else... sometimes following God's lead and taking the road less traveled allows you to become the exact person God intended for you to be!!
Happy Non-Denominational Christian version of Lent everyone!!
Oh, and if I can pray for you, please let me know!!