Although I haven’t given anything up this Lent, I’ve had an involuntary fast this week. Last Sunday my husband’s Nannie died so he, along with other family members traveled to Belfast for the funeral. While I was totally supportive of him going, the reality was a tiring one– both girls at home, me ferrying Miss F to nursery in Southend using only public transport (thank God for the number 9 bus!), sleepless nights and early morning- not my idea of fun!
Although The Boy leaving for Belfast wasn’t a real fast, it has made me appreciate how much he contributes to our family each day. It has also given him plenty of time to get through the book he’s reading which I know he’s appreciating.
Last year he decided to not give anything up for Lent. Instead, he took up reading more. But it didn’t quite work out. He discovered that there’s a reason he didn’t read enough- he never found the time! He did manage to read a little more but no way near enough to get through the tome he’s chosen for his Lent reading!
So this year he’s chosen to give up iPlayer and Netflix. So while I’m catching up on the latest episode of Eastenders, he’s left twiddling his thumbs. He’s got a spare twenty minutes or so but nothing to fill it (I did mention the washing up but he didn’t seem impressed!).
So, with music on to drown out the sound of Phil Mitchell’s shouts, he reads. I mean, he’s reading a lot- I watch a lot of iPlayer! It’s taken a year but he’s worked out the true meaning of giving something up for Lent– it only works if you choose your replacement wisely.
What’s the use of giving up chocolate only to gorge on crisps? Or to give up Facebook but spend all your time on Instagram instead?
Giving something up creates an empty space. That can be time, mental capacity or even calories!
If you want to learn something new this Lent, perhaps to pray more, call friends more, or laugh more, what are you giving up to make that happen?
I want to be a praying mother, and perhaps one day a praying Grandmother like my husband’s Nannie was. But that’s a choice I make when I choose to check my Twitter feed while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil instead of taking that moment to still myself before God.
Some of you will have attempted a Lenten fast and given up already, others will have not even begun but it’s not too late. It’s not too late to create some space for what really matters this Lent. The question is, once you’ve made that space, what will you fill it with?
I want to hear from you- Have you been supporting a charity this Lent? Have you found a great charity resource? Comment below!