• Jim Lovelady

What is Lent? Part 3


Lent is lack.

I think zombies are awesome.


I love the idea of the living-dead and I think it's a really popular motif in our culture because it is a story that we can all relate to. My friend told me about a zombie show that he's been watching where some of the zombies have basically evolved to a state of domestication so they are no longer violently chasing down humans, no longer wreaking havoc in the streets but can actually live and work side by side with humans so life can go back to normal for everyone…as long as the zombies are well fed on human brains. Brain biscuits are the hot new product on the market. Keep the zombies well fed and you have a relatively safe and pleasant life (wait, where do you get brain biscuits from?).


Yup, we're all zombies. Keep us well-fed, well-pleasured, inoculated by drugs and sex, preoccupied with over-work and the pursuit of the perfect vacation. Perpetuate the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" attitude all in the attempt to keep the monster in us satisfied or else we will end up devouring one another. The solution? Don't let us get hungry because we will realize that we are the living-dead.


The comedian, Jim Gaffigan said, "I haven't been hungry for twelve years!…" and as always his observations are spot on. In our culture we have everything we want pretty much whenever we want it and at the slightest moment of lack we freak out (to the detriment of anyone in our vicinity) because we don't want to "feel our feelings".


I get it most blatantly when my kids, every night (every night!) around dinner time, cry out in agony, "I'm staaaaaaarving!"


"Seriously? Do you smell the dinner cooking in the oven right now?!", I yell.


"Wow! Daddy's hangry!"


Touché.


My kids are not, by any stretch of the imagination, starving and my plight of having a slight dip in my blood sugar level gives me no right to scold my children. But take away that immediate pleasure of filling my belly and I start flipping out like an infant in a 40 year old body.


I don't want to be a zombie anymore. I want to be fully alive. I want to experience all there is to experience in this life, the highs and the lows. We were meant for more than this living-dead existence.


So the first step is to go without, to put yourself into a state of lack, to go hungry. It's in that place that you come face to face with things that we'd much rather ignore but really need to deal with. The act of giving something up means you are going to have a heightened awareness of your heart, your actions, your attitude. The monster inside you is going to want to rage. It's like turning up the heat on your soul, what are the things that boil over and spill out onto everyone around you? We might think that keeping the lid on our soul is the best option but the truth is, real change, real Resurrection only comes when you can identify those things and then let Jesus bring you into a new Resurrection state of being--real life.


But I NEED That!


Lent forces you to ask a major diagnostic question…


It's the question of ultimate desire. We don't often ask this question (we can go about our lives never really asking this question) but when we do honestly ask it, we get a scary answer. But we must answer it in order to follow Jesus into Resurrection.


On what does your life depend?


Your health? Your family? Your vocation? Your popularity? Your reputation? Your stuff? Your freedom? Your spouse? Your recreation? What thing in your life, if it was taken from you, would shatter your world? What is it that you NEED?


Let's ask our schedule. Your calendar can tell you what your life depends on. You can also ask your bank account. That will give a good answer. You can ask your sex life. You can ask your work life and your vacation life. You can ask your diet, what you eat, what you drink. The junk food, the alcohol as well as the vegan health bars and the kombucha--it all speaks of ultimate desire.


Let's do a list of things you could probably live without. Let's list off some potential things you might decide to fast from during Lent. If you are new to Lent and you're not sure what this is going to be like, this list might help you be creative and humble/realistic with your fasting. Remember, fasting is the catalyst for the journey that prepares you for Resurrection. Fasting leads to death, which--now powerless because Jesus trampled down death by death--is the servant of Resurrection. And always remember that the point of this is not to impress him or get him off your back but to fellowship WITH Jesus.


Give it up...


A meal each day

Listening to music in the car

TV

Netflix

Youtube Surfing

Sitting too much

Emotional Eating

Looking too much in the mirror

Sleeping in

Brains (I hope that's just a zombie dad joke)

Soda

Sugar

Energy Drinks

Coffee (nah, nevermind that one)

Facebook

Responding to political comments on FB

Making political comments on FB

Chewing your fingernails

I heard someone gave up their pillow. Hm.

Bread

Desserts

Video Games

Alcohol

Fried Food

Sarcasm

Complaining

Over exercising

Correcting people (interesting one to see just how often you do this)

Judging people in front of other people

Looking at your phone when you are waiting in line.

Defending/Justifying yourself (another interesting one to see just how often you do this and how agonizing it is not to do it)

Ice cream

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Ganache cake (ugh!)


Some of these things are bad habits and some are just things you do too often and don't realize you can live without. You never know until you try and you never realize just how often you do these things until you give them up. Some of these things require a change in schedule or an addition to your life in order for this to work. Maybe you want to try a different thing each week. Maybe you need to pick one thing and fast from that all the way up to Easter. You really can give up any of these things (and more) for Lent.


And always remember that Sunday is not a day of fasting. Every Sunday is Resurrection day, a feast day. So whatever good thing you have given up for Lent, feast on it! Celebrate with friends and family. My kids are giving up candy for Lent. Guess what Sunday is…CANDY DAY!!! Why? Because Jesus is alive! This exercise of fasting until the feast on Sunday may very well change your life (it changed mine). It is here that you may realize that you are more alive than you ever imagined.


Follow the Daily Devotionals


The Lent Confession devotionals that I'll be offering everyday are intended to guide you into places in your soul that have been hidden from you (or that you are hiding from). They are intended to provoke you, to bring things out in you that are often unpleasant--the monster in you that everyone knows about except you. The journey might also bring out some really good things in your heart that have just been waiting to get out. So be aware of your emotions. Be aware of how your body as well as your soul responds to the piece of music that we listen to each day. Don't ignore the things that make you mad or sad or happy. Let those things come to the surface. That's called confession. Then show them to Jesus. Then allow him, through the Spirit and scripture, to tell you what to do next--you may be surprise what he says.


No matter how difficult the journey may seem, never forget that Jesus is alive! If you remember that fact the devotions will be a source of comfort and hope in the midst of the fast. You can do this! You are not alone. Jesus is closer to you than you realize. Pray for eyes to see and ears to hear. Let's go on this journey together…



#lent #fasting #feast #lack #Jesus #znation #jimgaffigan #confession #hungry #bible #scripture #devotional #traderjoes

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