For about a year, the wallpaper on my phone said simply 2 words: be awesome. As cheesy as it is, there was something about that phrase that struck me--in a good way. Because there are so many things in this world that aren't awesome, and yet they are able to take up so much of our time, money, and thoughts. It was my reminder every time I turned on my phone to return to what is awesome.
For some reason, this is what came to my mind the other day when my 8-year-old asked, "Mommy, why do people give up things for Lent?"
Now, this blog already has some awesome explanations of what Lent is and how to celebrate it with children, so I won't repeat all of that here. But I can tell you the answer I gave to my daughter. I fast from something in Lent because it is an opportunity to let go of something that isn't awesome. Something that has crept into my life and taken over in a way that keeps me from living my best life with God. It's a chance to create a new habit or give up an old one and turn our lives back in the direction we're wanting to go. Because everything is not awesome, and we have the ability to choose what will be a part of our lives.
So what am I giving up for Lent? In a word, shopping. If you know me in person, this may surprise you, as I am a fairly... frugal person. But giving up shopping for Lent is more about my time and less about my money. Because, as a homemaker, much of my responsibilities involve spending our money in the best possible way. And a cheap perfectionist can spend hours trying to find the absolute best deal on everything. So I have found my days have gradually become more and more about searching for deals and coupons online, driving around to different stores to buy everything at the best price, and even occasionally rewarding myself by wandering through the aisles of Target or World Market while the kids are in school. And while I don't think any of those things are necessarily bad in and of themselves (and it is certainly important to be good stewards of our money), they are not the best way for me to be spending so much of my time. I think God is far more concerned with how much time I spend with Him and serving others than with how many dollars I saved on my last shopping trip.
So I am receiving Lent as an opportunity to make changes in my life. I will still do the grocery shopping every week (because it's my job!) and I will still buy the necessities that my family needs. But no online shopping for me, no window shopping, and no hours spent in search of the best possible deal ever. I see it as a chance to take back some of the hours in my day and an experiment in being more awesome.
What about you? Have you asked God what He would like you to give up for Lent? Are your children participating this year? I really would love to know--and feel free to ask me how the shopping fast is going. Have a blessed Lenten season.