Cheating at Lent

Last week marked the halfway point on the journey to Easter. Around that time, I cheated on my Lenten goal. I have taken social media off of my phone for the season. I still check Facebook during naptime, but it’s become a much more intentional and much briefer part of my day. Especially since Bea is such an independent kid, if I forgot a book (or chose not to bring one) I would scroll through Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest while she played.

Without it, I’m much more intentional about bringing a book along or simply sitting and watching Bea interact with new friends. It’s definitely shifted my perspective and made me remember how unimportant most of what happens on social media really is…

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But, last week I was bored, so I scrolled through some Instagram feeds of authors I find intriguing. One was launching a new book and I got sucked into the praise and excitement of her newest achievement. I also got sucked into the darker sides of the message behind the new book. This is an author who empowers women to celebrate the everyday beauty in life, to take time to notice beautiful moments, and to embrace the community that practicing hospitality builds. In my more cynical frame of mind, all I notice is how expensive the decor of her home is, how much the wine and champagne cost, and how exclusive building tight-knit communities can be. In reality, she’s doing really good things and spreading a wonderful message.

My reaction reminded me of the importance of the Lenten practice. It’s not about being perfect for 40 days or giving up something forevermore. It’s about changing habits and recognizing how those habits really affect daily life. For me, it’s about stepping back and critically looking at my own choices – are they healthy or can they be tweaked?

After this Lenten fast, I’ll most likely load social media apps back onto my phone. It’s just way more convenient that way and the reality is that I keep in touch with many of my day-to-day friends via these social media channels. However, what has changed in this time? Am I using it for building community or am I using it to tune out? Am I celebrating with others or am I criticizing?

At first, I felt that this was an “easy” fast; that I should have picked something harder. Really, it’s done just what a fast should do: Helped me step back and evaluate my priorities and how I’m choosing to live my days.

Did you choose a Lenten fast? How is it going? Has it changed your perspective?

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2 thoughts on “Cheating at Lent

  1. True confession (and here, Jeanne hangs her head), I didn’t not choose a Lenten fast. I probably should have, I just never got intentional about it.

    I like what you shared, though, Annie. In choosing to do a fast, we need to be careful not to judge others for their choices. I struggle with that sometimes. Thanks for the reminder, my friend!

    1. No judgement here!! Especially since becoming a parent, I find Lent especially difficult – I already give up so much! I guess I’m learning it’s about my attitude rather than my actions.

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