Abandoning comfort for 40 days?
Anyone who says they don’t like to be comfortable should be viewed with suspicion. And most of us live in a way that points to our obvious affinity for comfort. Remote controls, free delivery, smart phones, and leather recliners…Ahhh! What’s not to like? So why would anybody purposely abandon their comfort for 40 days?
It would have to be for a good cause. After all, that’s why we go on diets before vacation. It’s why we work long hours before annual reviews. And it’s why we spend large sums of money on uncomfortable-but-fashionable clothes when we’re trying to attract a future spouse. We abandon comfort for a cause.
Each year we challenge our church to consider abandoning some comfort for the season of Lent. And each year we explain why it’s worth considering. Here’s the explanation:
Lent is a way to bring focus to our pursuit of Christ. By removing the comfortable distractions, we create opportunities to connect with God. It can also help us identify with the sufferings that Christ went through for us, sort of like when you give up a meal out of solidarity with those who are starving. And it creates tremendous anticipation of, and appreciation of Easter Sunday when it finally arrives!
Prayerfully consider what changes may help you pursue Christ, listen to the Spirit, and connect with God. This is not a duty or an obligation. If you’re dreading it, you may want to step back and understand why.
It’s extremely flexible. Some choose to forego a luxury or habit, such as sweets, chocolate, alcohol, television, or movies. Others choose to adopt a new practice, such as prayer walking, meditation, generosity to strangers, reading, or serving others. You could consider tapping into Monvee (see our web site for details) for ideas on how to use “My Time.” The key is that your choices help you pursue Christ. For example, I typically turn off the radio, CD, cellphone, etc. in my car during Lent. It gives me time each day to connect with God. I’m also going to curtail my TV time to 2 hours a week. And I’m going to buy the drink for the person behind me in line at Starbucks. You don’t have to pick three. I’m just sort of an overacheiver here!
Lent begins on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and continues until Easter Sunday. Traditionally, the practices of Lent are lifted each Sunday in order to celebrate Christ. The total number of days observed will then be 40. That number has biblical significance, from the Israelite’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, to Jesus’ 40 days of fasting.
This is something you can do on your own. However, most people find it helpful to share the journey with others. Talk about your commitments, but then also share how you’re experiencing God during this season. If you’d like, you can join the conversation below.
So I challenge you to join us this year in the Lent Experiment. Really, what do you have to lose? It’s only 40 days. And it’s only a small inconvenience to our comfort. In exchange for a little comfort, you may very well experience God like never before.