On fasting

Today is Shrove Tuesday. Mardi gras. Pancake day. Which means tomorrow is the first day of Lent.

I used to give up soda or chocolate for Lent, but I’ve since, personally, tried to be more thoughtful about what it is I am going to fast from during these 40 days (+ Sundays) before Easter. I’ve given up music-with-words, all sugar, Facebook. For me, the purpose is to choose something that will affect my life, not only now, but after Lent as well. And yet I feel as though I ought to give up a food-item, and again, it should be something I would miss. Sweets? I actually don’t eat that much sweet. I nibble on a piece of Dove dark chocolate, let cookies go stale because I don’t eat them quickly enough. Meat? I don’t eat much meat either, and I really ought not to lose that source of protein and iron. When you don’t eat very much and what you do eat is healthy to begin with, you shouldn’t limit your options.

This year I’ve chosen to give up the computer between 9PM and 9AM. Being one of those people who procrastinates going to sleep, and being an ex-pat with most of my friends and family 5-6 hours behind me, it’s quite easy for me to just stay within arm’s reach of the computer long after I should have gone to bed. Similarly, there is no reason I should be checking my computer at breakfast when I’m going to be in front of a computer all day in my office. I hope that regulating my time on my computer will allow me to take care of my body better, to glorify God by making sure I get the rest and sleep I need; and that my morning routine, no longer eaten into by the computer, will give me more time for prayer and the reading of scripture before I start my day.

Do you observe Lent? How do you go about choosing what to fast from during this season?

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