How to Straighten Out Your Practice of Lent

Lent has been a part of my life since I can remember.  My practice has varied from fasting for days at a time on one end of the spectrum to one year when I gave up anger.

The fasting really packed a punch.  The anger thing- not so much.  I really don't get angry anyways so it was too easy to matter.  Lent is like that: it makes you think. The problem is that you can overthink it.

Take this year, I had the brilliant idea of avoiding all difficult spiritual practices and tackling the issue of singletasking.  Boldly, I broadcast it to the world only to find that I had overshot the whole thing.

Sort of like a fieldgoal that went a few feet to the left of the uprights.

This past week I decided to straighten things out.  Back to the basics, I told myself.  Time to get medieval and return to my ascetic roots.  Where else to turn than good old fasting?

Friday came and went and with just bread and water, I made it through the day.  My intentions for the day were simple enough: the day would be offered up for my brother's job, my friend Jose's kidney transplant and for work.  Three intentions that would make any pain related to fasting bearable.

Guess what?  It worked.

Sometimes, in order to put Lent back into its rightful place, you have to stop thinking and head back to homeplate.  Focus on your swing, your footwork and the little things.

Faith is like that.  A paragraph from a Bible chapter.  A few minutes of quiet prayer.  A note telling someone that you're praying for them.  Simple things.

As for me, I'm going to try fasting again this week.  It's not that singletasking wasn't worthwhile, it's just that my personal practice of faith needs something that stretches me and straightens me in the direction of deeper faith.