Giving Up for Lent

I come to you in a blog post a little weary and a little bit discouraged in life, which isn’t that related to Lent, but it’s related to what I’m talking about for Lent.

This year is the first time I’ve really taken Lent seriously. “Seriously” meaning “participated” in this instance.

Most people I know give up social media which would put me in a bind considering I run a business through social media… I also already limit my time by only allowing myself one hour per social media app per day by that unique little feature on my phone. I do spend a lot of time on Instagram out of anything, so if I gave something up, it would be that. But social media would be an easier thing to give up had I not created a business run through Facebook and somewhat on Instagram.

How do I spend my time outside of work and off social media?

You know the answer. 🙂

I read a TON of fiction. I read in general, but my true escape from the world is getting lost in someone else’s. Fictional books I can read in a day if given the opportunity – enough time, without distraction or interruption.

This Lent, when my friends were dropping social media, some friends that I only communicate with on social media, I was convicted by the meaning of Lent itself.

Lent is a time of sacrifice of something that we may have that takes us away from our time with God, that we spend a significant time on or may not be glorifying to Him. I think this is different for everyone based on conviction.

For me, right now at least, I don’t feel that social media is so big in my life that it takes me away from God. Instead, fiction has been my escape and a crutch for me that I often turn to fiction rather than Him and His Word. I’ve felt convicted of this for some time now and thought that Lent would be a good opportunity to create these habits of spending time in His Word daily and intentionally focusing on what I’m reading.

I’m allowing myself to read still thankfully, but rather than fiction, I’m reading nonfiction and strictly Biblical nature. The fiction I normally read is clean and Christian romance usually, but my intention was to escape and not necessary to draw closer to God, obviously.

At times, it’s been really hard to turn down reading fiction. It’s been hard to not want to escape into a book like that. I have been buying them though… and viewing them on GoodReads… and seeing others post their readings… it’s been rough lol but good!

Which brings me to another conviction. Am I anxiously waiting for Lent to be over to read those fictional books I’ve accumulated?

I’m not sure, because I’ve been accumulating a lot of books faster than I could read them even before Lent, so that feeling has always been there LOL but I am a bit more conscious of it. 🙂

I’ve been tired because of life, work and my own goals to get reading done. Somehow I get behind and then I get to a day and all I do is read. Some days I’m more enthusiastic as to what God has for me in my reading and other days it’s more of a check list type of mentality which I am not proud of.

I’ve been feeling discouraged because I haven’t had fiction to read … and I’m in a rut of not being able to let God’s word effect me in the way that it should – my problem, not God’s. I’m just not being receptive to it in my current mindset.

This past week was tough just with a lot of things and on Sunday, I really didn’t want to do anything and didn’t want to go to church. I was debating whether to show up or not, it’s easy to just not go. Then, I got the email about the invitation to join and I was like FINE, I’ll go. So I did. It was an encouraging message and the worship music spoke to me and brought me to a better place of rest in Him. It’s not always like that, but God knew what I needed and He spoke to me through those in my church family.

In this time of Lent, though I’ve had moments of discouragement or feeling like I just want to give up and turn to my fiction, God has been with me through it. I’ve spent more time in books that are pleasing to Him, more time in His Word and studying with all my nonfiction and reference books I’ve accumulated. Jesus knows what I struggle with and He is there in that struggle with me.

I think we’re past the halfway point of Lent at this point, on our way toward Easter. I’ll share with you what I’ve been reading and what I’ve finished and maybe you’ll be able to snag some of these for yourself sometime, whether this year or next. I also want to encourage you to look at what may be taking you away from spending time with Him in His Word and how you might be able to add or change your habits to include intentional reading and fellowship with Him.

The list below is what I’ve started or finished during Lent and is not including anything I may start soon on a whim because I tend to have several books started at once like a crazy person. 🙂

  • Church: Living Faithfully as the People of God by A. W. Tozer
    • This was such a good book! He mainly walks through Titus I noticed, but he mentions other scripture that points us to the original design of the church and how today’s church can improve or change. Church isn’t one person, but a body of people working together on the mission of what God has called us to. This talks about unity, membership, organization and the gospel message.
  • The Servant Leader by Kenneth H Blanchard
    • I found this at an estate sale, paid less than a dollar for it and got home to read it in one afternoon. This is a great book that I would come back to for reference for many things. He breaks down step by step examples and definitions. While there weren’t many words per page, I felt like the book did its job and was very thorough. Some books you’re just like why was this so wordy? This one wasn’t wordy and it was full of useful information. If you have any type of leadership role or will soon, you should grab this book! He points you to Jesus and the biblical example He left for us to follow as leaders in our churches and in our communities.
  • Women of Courage: Florence Nightingale: Compassionate Care for People Who Need it Most by Sam Wellman//Barbour Staff
    • About a quarter of the way in I thought, I’d this real or fiction? But it’s written a story-like way that it feels like it’s fiction, but I know it’s the true events of Florence Nightingale‘s life. This has been a good read on her journey to fulfilling God’s purpose for her life and showing compassion through nursing.
  • United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia J Newbell
    • I’m a couple of chapters into this one and so far Trillia Newbell has been honest and open about her perceptions and struggles for diversity and acceptance in the church. She’s started to describe what the church should and will look like one day. I think this is going to be a good book to recommend!
  • On Calvary’s Hill: 40 Reading for the Easter Season by Max Lucado
    • I’ve had this book for at least a year, possibly more. Have I read it? No. I would always come across it on my shelf after Easter. I’m sure God wouldn’t mind if I read it outside this time of year, but I am who I am and I’m a bit of a nerd about keeping to schedules like this. The book itself gives you each day with a short blurb of scripture and points you to what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross for our sins.
  • The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    • This is the first book I’ve read by Bonhoeffer and it’s been good! I’m about 50 some pages in now and he’s described cheap grace which up to this point in my life, I either hadn’t comprehended that term or hadn’t heard it at all. That’s what sticks out to me right now and has been eye opening for sure.
  • Systematic Theology: an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
    • THIS!! Is basically a textbook. It was recommended to me and I enthusiastically bought it the first chance I could, plus the workbook! In doing so, my best friend Rachel seen my GoodReads update and would like to read it with me so we have since started and are reading very slowly. It’s going to be good!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Psalm 34:10

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I know giving up fiction for a time is huge! Way to go! I hope the weeks turned into fulfilling ones for you. I definitely understand the struggle. I gave up fiction for Lent last year (I think). And I did the same thing – kept looking at GoodReads and Amazon and such. It’s crazy how just the thought of books can bring comfort. But at the end I felt the pull wasn’t as strong. I still love reading fiction and I am thankful for Christian authors who bring us meaningful stories. But it can be refreshing to lay it aside for a time. I didn’t do that this Lent. But I also didn’t read as much these past few weeks. I feel I am not as “crazy” as I used to be with the need to read. So I am glad I am in a good place of balance right now. And I hope you are too!

    1. Summer says:

      It was hard at the beginning but that pill definitely started waning the further I went without. I really got into what I was reading outside of fiction and I enjoyed my time in His word more when I didn’t have this need to get lost in a fiction book.

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