This morning’s post in the series Easter is Coming: What Do We Hunger and Thirst For?is by James Prescott. James Prescott is a writer and creative passionate about social media, gender issues, and helping people discover their identity within the divine. He blogs regularly at JamesPrescott.co.uk and is a regular guest blogger at bigbible.org.uk and other sites. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Lent is now in full swing. Many of us have given up one or several things this lent, as many do each lent – and I’m no different. This year I gave up chips, chocolate (which more and more seems to be ‘the’ thing to give up) and DVD’s for lent.
DVD’s was the biggest, toughest one for me. I realised I was watching so many DVD’s that it was stopping me reading and even writing, so I thought giving them up for lent would allow me to do this more, and get a healthier balance.
The interesting thing is what has happened as a result of this.
Right at the beginning of lent I had a week off work, a time to rest and relax at home. A time where I’d normally sit and watch DVD’s. At same time I decided to take a 48 hour social media sabbath too – and for anyone that knows me at all, that was a big decision for me to take. I spend a lot of my time on social media interacting with people – which was one of the reasons I wanted to take a break from it, to ensure it didn’t take over my life.
This of course, meant I suddenly had a lot of
Instead of sitting watching a film, I read. I learned. There was something to fill that space in one sense – for a time anyway.
But there is only so much reading you can do, before the gap, the space, becomes too big to fill.
As I sat down reflecting on this, it suddenly became abundantly clear what was going on.
My priorities, my motives, what was really important to me, was being exposed for what they were.
Why did I watch films?
Why did I have to go on social media?
Why did I share what I shared on social media?
These were the first things that came to mind. But there was a bigger question way beyond this.
What’s really important to me, and why?
In essence, what do I hunger and thirst for?
This is what lent does at it’s best. It exposes us for who we are, strips down the layers and exposes the truth behind our reality.
It exposes the things that really make us tick. It takes us beyond the right religious answer, and shows us the brutal truth.
The things we’ve been idolising, the desires that really motivate us, the things in our lives we try to hide and run away from.
Giving up things for lent should do this for us. If we’re courageous enough to give up the right things, God will strip us down and show us ourselves, and there can begin a process of transformation.
We must ignore the religious voice – which tells us what we should hunger and thirst for, what should be important, and lulls us into thinking we really desire those things.
We must look beyond, to what our actions tell us is what we really desire and what our real priorities are.
One thing I have learned, especially from the sabbatical from social media, is that most of these things we place such stall on, that we find it hard to give up
we can actually live without.
As we begin to understand this, we realise there is one thing we simply cannot live without – and that of course is our creator. The one who sustains our very lives, and provides for our needs.
It would be much harder to give up God for lent.
You see, it’s possible for me to live my life without watching films.
It’s possible to survive without social media.
But it’s not possible to survive without the one who created us.
We belong to Him, we are His – so must allow our desires and priorities to be shaped by Him, surrender our own to Him, and allow Him to transform us.
So, some suggestions for this Lent.
Firstly, if you’ve not yet given up something, choose something to give up.
Second, whatever you have given up or choose to give up, make the most of the space it gives you. Take time out, and reflect on what it exposes about you, about your priorities.
Reflect on the things you really hunger and thirst for, the things that are most important to you – not the things you think you have to hunger and thirst for, or say are important to you – but the things your actions and emotions tell you really matter to you.
Third, ask God what matters to Him, what He is hungering and thirsting for this lent, and allow Him to shape you and your priorities, to fit with His – for your life, for others and for the whole world.
Then you will see the the real transforming work in both your life and the lives of those around you this lent, as you embrace what matters to Him.