We think of lent as a time for cutting “bad” things out of our lives.
“I’m giving up sweets.”
“I’m giving up Facebook.”
“I’m giving up swearing.”
We make sacrifices and revel in the hardship that follow, trying to one-up each other with tales of woe and deprivation, bonding over the lack of cookies, status updates, and f-bombs that once occupied our daily routine. Come Easter Sunday, we dive headfirst back into the forcefully cut “bad habit,” thus negating the forty days of sacrifice and not cultivating any real change in our lives.
I do include myself in this “we.” My most memorable lent was the year I gave up Facebook. In the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, I reveled in high-mindedness as people reacted to my decision. “Oh, I could never!” “I wouldn’t last a day!” “That’s so impressive!” I casually waved them off and said I hoped to use my time more wisely, pursue other projects, spend less time in front of a screen, etc. It was all very lofty.
I actually did succeed in staying off Facebook for forty days. I had been spending at least thirty minutes a day – and usually over an hour – before my hiatus, so I did end up with a lot of free time. I don’t really remember how I used the time, and in the end, it doesn’t matter. Because what did I do Easter Sunday?
Hopped right back on Facebook. And my habit picked up where it had left off.
So what? Other than notifications in the triple digits and a few shocked-and-awed friends, I had nothing to show for my efforts. I didn’t create, cultivate, or learn anything. I didn’t deepen my relationship with God. I really didn’t change anything.
It was, to be honest, totally stupid.
This year, I want to have something to show for my efforts. A spiritual practice, a routine, a discipline, a time that forces me to examine my faith life, and perhaps a new habit that will continue long after Easter Sunday.
I thought: what can I do?
I like to write but don’t do it enough. I like to think about God but don’t do it enough. I like to engage with bloggers but don’t do it enough. I like to talk about my other lifestyle choices, like veganism and running, but don’t do it enough.
Add it all together, and… duh.
I will write a blog post every single day of lent.
A blog about Christianity, about running, about being a vegan, about how these three major parts of my identity are intertwined. I hope to cultivate a writing practice, examine my faith life, share my vegan tips and tricks, and connect with other plant-eating runners.
Here we go.