Monday, March 22, 2010

Lent (is stupid)

I just said it: the "S" word. (in our house, "stupid" is the "S" word.... they don't yet know the other word)

Lent is stupid.

I stated out eager to celebrate lent. I think it was just the novelty that drew me to it. I wanted to anticipate Easter as I anticipated Christmas and thought giving up something for forty days would accomplish that.

Has it? Not sure.

Of course, I do think of God more when I desire a diet coke and I really do want to help the Ugandan people have clean water. But right now, I really want a diet coke!


I have less than 2 weeks go go now and instead of it being easier, this is the hardest time ever and I'm second guessing why I started.

I know that lent is not required. I know that lent doesn't magically deepen one's relationship with Christ and I know it doesn't prove or is required for salvation and devotion for Christ. That's the reason many protestant churches don't observe it.

Yet I thought it would be beautiful and meaningful. And it has but now I just want a diet coke! So here's my rationalizations:

1. Since lent is not required, what is its purpose? Why am I doing this?

2. Most others have broken their promise; in fact, it is even expected that people break their lent promise. Perhaps the real reason for lent is to experience forgiveness for not being able to follow through with stuff like this on our own? In that case, perhaps it would be a better, more "spiritual" experience for me to "surrender" and just drink a diet coke and ask forgiveness and repent from breaking lent.

3. In conversation with my pastor, he mentioned that lent was a heart issue. Not just legalistically following through but the motivation behind it. Well, I'm pretty sure that (aside from donating money to Blood:Water Mission) my motives are bad, so if wrong motives equal this being worthless in doing, why not give up?

4. If I do accomplish it, will it be "my accomplishment" rather than God leading and teaching me?

5. Doe lent just result in guilt? Is guilt from God? Does he want us to feel worthless by failing at this?

6. I really, really miss diet coke! (why does my birthday have to fall during Lent? That was tough)

7. Perhaps it is becoming a pride issue for me? Perhaps it is actually wrong for me to do this. Will I feel superior that I kept at it? (will I feel inferior if I fail?)

8. Even beverages I hate are beginning to look appealing and I wonder at times if taking a sip of my child's too full juice cup constitutes drinking a beverage. (sine I'm a legalist, it does and I've refrained..... but I so want to "accidentally" drink something other than water!)

If the reason I'm doing this is for Blood: Water mission to raise money for people in Uganda to have clean drinking water, why can't I just donate money and still drink my beloved diet coke? I'd probably give more money because I felt guilty.

I started out determined and I still am. (but that diet coke is really beckoning me in the refrigerator!) Now I am looking for excuses to give in. Either way, in my mind, I can't win. I can't give up so close to the end and yet, I am really wondering WHY I'm doing this! Am I continuing on because I don't like failure? Because I'm proud and hate to admit I did not make it?

I was talking with a friend who also is observing lent and wow, I'm amazed by her willpower, but more than that, she's really doing this for God, reminding herself of what she's giving up and why and what that means. She hopes it will heighten her Easter experience. I wanted that too......

but right now I just want a diet coke!!! Oh, this is torture.


  1. I gave up soft drinks for Lent. I went from about 4-5 Dr Pepper or Pepsis a day to none. I have been dying for one. I must say that I broke on Saturday after 3 weeks and had one. I won't have another one until Easter, but I can assure you that I will be having like a case that day.

  2. Oh, I know!! Believe it or not, I easily had a 6 to 8 can a day habit of diet coke to nothing.

    It's good to know I'm not the only one struggling at this point! Way to go giving up soft drinks; I know it is not easy and you can also bet that I'll be joining you on Easter with a case of diet coke!

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Keep it up girl!!! I lasted a week, and regret it greatly. However my reason for doing it was to lose weight. Clearly, wrong motive. Stick w it! Praying for you!!!

  4. thanks for passing by the coke for our friends and neighbors in Uganda. We too are reminded every day of the challenge as we pass our favorite beverages for water. Thank you for sharing your story and we are glad to have you along the journey. Thanks for the impact you will make in the lives in Africa and the impact you are already making in your own and in your family.

    Mike Lenda
    US Programs Director
    Blood:Water Mission