Lent is here!

Well, first off, I got baptized on Sunday the 10th of February. It was an amazing experience. There’s something freeing about telling people your death-to-life story, especially for someone like me who’s never told anybody before this past Sunday. I didn’t realize the significance of being baptized right before Lent until today. It’s actually sort of helpful to have those things back-to-back, considering their meaning. I’m now learning about Lent, as I have never learned about it, and have never done it before. This time, I am fasting from Facebook. At the time that I said I was fasting, I didn’t really know what the purpose was. However, I’ve been doing some reading, and understand much better now. Baptism and Lent go hand-in-hand, though baptisms are traditionally done on Easter Sunday, after Lent. Oh well. I’m just a hipster like that…

Lent is a time to focus on Jesus, the cross,and His resurrection from the grave to take away our sin. It’s a time to meditate on how we prepare for Easter, and if we might be doing it in a way that could be done better, that could be more beneficial to us as followers of Christ. When you give something up for Lent, you’re not just picking something that you really like and staying away from it for 40 days only to return to it’s clutches on Easter. You’re choosing something that takes up a lot of your time or attention (no, this doesn’t include your children); something that you go to for comfort or approval; or something else that is entrapping you in sin. Maybe you just pick something that didn’t seem like a sin before, but once you start fasting from it you come to realize how much you depended on it, and how it is possibly feeding an idol in your life, or is itself an idol. This is how it went for me when I logged out of Facebook for what will be over a month.

Facebook, being what it is, has the potential to feed all kinds of idols and sin: approval, attention-seeking, self-absorption, idle words, and many, many others that I don’t even know are sin, I’m sure. Personally, I have an approval idol, and I feel the need to constantly be in contact with somebody that I consider a friend. This is problematic since I go to my friends before I go to Jesus, and I’ll blab myself silly gossiping before I’ll pray. I have felt convicted to talk less, listen more, be around people a less (including the “connection” of my phone and Facebook), and pray more. That’s what has driven me to give up Facebook for Lent. I rely on it as a means of having someone who’s “there for me” and use it as a means to get people to pay attention to me. I really hate being ignored. But I have a Father who will never ignore me, even if it seems like He is. He hears every word of every prayer, sees every calamity, tragedy, happy moment, and joyous tear, as well as every blunder and stumble. Not only does He see it, but He walks it with me and is there whether I think that I need Him or not, and loves me anyway. He loves me because of what Jesus did on the cross, not because of anything that I’ve done, and I’m extremely happy to have finally been baptized after three years of following Jesus, yet living in fear of asking to be baptized because of extreme stage fright. (Groups of people make me insanely nervous, forget about talking to them, and I shook uncontrollably when I was telling my story to my church, but so many people told me that my story affected them in wonderful ways that it was all worth it). After my baptism, someone said, “It’s the grace of God that allowed you to do that,” and my response was, “You don’t have to tell me that twice.” And it’s by the grace of God that I’ll stay off of Facebook for over a month, because I rely on it much, much more as a means of comfort and approval than I thought I did.

Have a happy Lent and Easter season.