give it up

A lot of people I know are giving up social networking (blogs, twitter, facebook) for Lent. I’m not. I’ve thought about it though. Long and hard. Well, kind of long and kind of hard. I know I don’t have to go through the rigamarole of explaining my decision, so I’ll just make a couple quick points (observations, really).

I spend too much time on the computer. I get more excited about what’s going on online than in real life. I’m neglecting some things (and some people too). I’m not silent long enough to really hear God’s voice. Oh, there’s more…

But here’s why I don’t feel God is asking me to give up blogging, etc. for Lent. It can be an awfully powerful tool for 1.) sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and 2.) encouraging women in their walk with Him. I don’t think God wants me to stop doing those things this Lenten season.

And I guess I didn’t really explain my whole take on Lent. I’m going to do that more in the coming days and weeks. I’m not Catholic so, growing up, Lent was foreign to me. When we moved to Columbus three years ago, I was introduced to it in a really neat way. Our church took 40 days to focus on Christ, and it was a really special time. I don’t want Easter (not the eggs and bunnies, but the resurrection of Christ) to come and go without pausing to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice for me. Every Christmas, I try (and fail) to focus more on the reason for the season–Advent and all that. And everything gets so busy and blah and… ugh.

I want Easter to be different. If  I can’t take 40 days to slow life down and re-focus my priorities and re-center my life on Christ, well then, what’s the point of my life anyway?

So, here’s the plan (absolutely subject to God changing it at any time and however many times He wants): My computer is going to be on for three 3-hour periods a day. Now, there’s some symbolism for ya. 9am-noon, 1pm-4pm, and 9pm-midnight. Not that I’ll be sitting glued to it that whole time, but it’s just going to be off until my older two are at school and then all afternoon and evening until they’re in bed.

Here’s the other thing: my blog is going to take on a more spiritual focus during these 40 days. Oh, I’m sure I’ll still throw in some funny, but I want to share what God’s doing in my heart, and I want to listen to Him more closely. And I’m going to ask Him what YOU need to hear and expect Him to give me wisdom to pass on to you.

And in my interaction with people (comments on their blogs or what have you) I’m going to do some extra-focusing on building people up, encouraging them to be bold in their faith, sharing words of hope, that sort of thing.

Everybody’s hearing from God in different ways. As Fran, my twitter friend said, “I’m not giving up anything. I’m giving BACK this Lenten season.” I like that. A lot. And my real-life friend, Gail, is giving up her online stuff for Lent, and I love what she has to say about it as well. It’s between you and God, friend. Giving it up, giving back, giving your all, giving your right arm. Spend some time with Him, get to know Him more deeply, feel His heart beating for the world and ask Him where/how He wants you to join His work.

On a lighter note, someone mentioned to me today that she didn’t want her kids hating Lent because it was all about giving up TV and candy. Reminded me of a conversation between Livi and Ava last February (or 2 years ago maybe?)

Two sisters “cleaning” their room on a Wednesday afternoon:
Ava: What’s Ash Wednesday?
Livi: I’m not even going to try to explain it. (2-second pause, then an exasperated sigh) Ash Wednesday is the day you start not eating chocolate for, like, 40 days or something.
Ava: Mommy?
(no answer from Mommy, who is stifling her laughter in the other room)
Ava: Mommy!! I can’t eat chocolate!?!?!

I don’t know about you, friend, but I’m looking forward to the next 40 days! I’ve got a feeling God is up to something–at least in this sinful little heart of mine. Have a blessed Ash Wednesday!

16 thoughts on “give it up

  1. Kathleen Cantwell

    I hope I make your 12:00 deadline…It is almost 10:00 in NM. I have come to appreciate the Lenten season as a more reflective time…yes to slowing down! Several years back I was challenged by a dear friend to think differently about “giving up” something. For that particular season he challenged me in giving up the “right to be offended.” Food for thought….

  2. Marla Taviano

    Thanks so much, friends, for all these wonderful comments. You inspire me.

    Chris–yours stood out to me and really touched me. I’m praying God impacts you in a HUGE way as you seek to follow Him.

  3. Megan @ Hold it UP to the Light

    I too am not Catholic, but in the denomination I was raised in (and still do, although I am not too big on defining my faith by my denomination), Lent has always been that too me. I see it as a time to “refocus” on God and to give up something that is keeping me from focusing on God like I should. Sometimes I give something up, and sometimes I take on something that will bring me closer. It seems like he always leads me to just the right thing.

    Hope you don’t mind, but I am going to link this from my post….I am loving all the Lent related posts around my parts, and I want my peeps to read them, too!

    Oh, and I’m with you on the “giving up internets” stuff. I am a fairly new blogger, tweeter, and FBooker. I am finding that they are (at least right now) strengthening my faith and my connections to Christ. I get way more out of what I happen upon than what I would see on TV every night….for I know that’s what would replace it for me!

  4. Deanna

    I too, like Lou, was raised in a Baptist Church and honestly never knew or understood Lent until this year. A few of the ladies I work with are not necessarily Catholic, but their non-denominational church celebrates Lent and they explained (or tried to explain) it to me.
    So in honor of Lent, I’ve decided that for every negative thing I think or say about someone, I’m going to list five positive things!

  5. Nixie

    I love what you are going to do for Lent – looking forward to reading your spiritual 40 day journey. Glad you will be keeping some funnies – did you know I love ya?

  6. Lou

    Amen to Chris’s comment above me. I don’t know where I would be without my church family and the fellowship I have with them. It is truly one of Gods blessings when we accept His son as our savior.

    Marla, I have worshiped in a baptist church all my life so Lent was never something we participated in but as far as what it stands for I believe its purpose is good. I am looking forward to your post. I do anyway but I really am during Lent.

  7. Veronica

    Hi Marla,

    This sounds like a great idea. I wasn’t raised Catholic either so Lent is definitely foreign to me. I do like the idea of finding a way to get more intimate with God, and seeking after his will in my life. I just started my own blog a couple of weeks ago, and the Lord has really blessed me with meeting so many wonderful Christian people! Just wanted to say that I look forward to reading your blog, and hopefully sometime soon I can put down my crocheting stuff and get to reading one of your books. They seem awesome!

  8. Chris

    I am Catholic and I don’t look forward to Lent every year. I rack my brain trying to think of things to give up and they’re always so petty. No candy, no salty snacks, etc. This year, I decided instead of giving up something I’m going to do something. I never really go to church even though I talk and pray to God every night. After reading your blog and other moms blogs who are devoted to their religion and the power God gives us, I decided that I’m going to go to church every week and think about how God impacts my life on a daily basis.

  9. Jenna

    I loved this post! Can’t wait to continue reading through Lent season. I know God will speak through you not-given-up blog/computer time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing all of this!!

  10. Annie Whitehurst

    Growing up Baptist, I hadnt ever heard much about Lent. I had always assumed it was a Catholic thing— Devin grew up Methodist, and they do have an Ash Wednesday service and members of our church (I have since joined) are encouraged to give up something for Lent. Here it is Ash Wednesday and I have yet to decide what I am going to give up. I’m still praying about it.
    I am excited about your upcoming posts! I know God will lead you and selfishly, I can’t wait to see how he blesses me through your posts, as well as everyone else who reads your blog!!!!! Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
    ~annie~

  11. Denise

    This year I am choosing to “give up” being lazy. I want to start eating better and working out better and have been trying my darndest, but I keep coming up with excuses…well not anymore. 40 days of lent will be for me to work on my health and fitness (partially because of the March of Dimes walk and also because of health.) Also, I am using the time that I am not being lazy and am being productive to work on my relationship with God!

  12. Missy

    I, too, was/still am mostly unfamiliar with Lent. Thanks for explaining it some more and for sharing your ideas. I think you make good points. I could see where Lent could easily become something where we focus on ourselves (what we’re “not” doing and our “efforts” towards that). Looking forward to all you have to share – I trust God is going to use your words in big ways over the next 40 days!

  13. Ali

    I, too, never gave Lent much thought bc “I’m not Catholic.” But I think I had it all wrong. Sure, the Catholics can make a ritual out of anything, but they are onto something here. Whether it’s ‘not doing’ something or ‘adding’ something, the whole point is to grow closer to God, to better appreciate Jesus’ 40 day journey. I think Matt and I are going to be adding a devotional to our nightly routine, and I, personally, would like to start memorizing some scripture. I haven’t done that in a while. I’m excited about it! Yay, Lent!

  14. Carrie-clearance sticker issues

    Thank you for not giving up your blog during Lent. I need this friendship community for encouragement and to see that other women are struggling just like me on a daily basis. I am not Catholic but grew up in a sloppy Catholic home so Lent has a negative connotation for me. Until today that is… I am going to spend my morning quiet time asking God what He wants Lent to mean for me.

  15. Conny

    I once “bragged” to a friend that I was Baptist so I didn’t *need to* do anything for the Lenten season…
    Then I too heard of people who GAVE or SERVED instead of “giving up” something during Lent. It has changed my way of thinking too: Christ gave us ALL – we (I) give Him so little (of my time, my money, my service, my observance of prayer/Bible reading, my devotion, my witness). What a wonderful time to re-focus on giving him MORE. God bless.

  16. gitz

    My earliest memories of Lent (I am Catholic) was continuing to eat for as long as possible at every meal because we knew we couldn’t eat in between meals (I’m writing about those memories on Friday)… but my parents were good about teaching us the rules, as well as WHY we follow them. The important part, as in all things, is intention. I think you’re going to love these next 40 days not being distracted by the computer when you’re with your girls. Good for you!!!

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