Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Minimalism & Lent

Today is the first day of Lent and I'm off to a smashing start. I'm sitting here at Starbucks drinking a tall Sun-Dried Ethiopia Sidamo blend...black. Blech! I'm not a black coffee drinker especially if the coffee is packaged in the states. I hate to admit it, but Starbucks coffee without sugary syrup and milk in it is NOT good. I'm reading the description of this coffee..."complex notes of soft pepper, dried dark cherry and chocolate." Yeah...there isn't any chocolate "notes" in this. Good try, Starbucks. During this time, I'm challenging myself to try different coffee brews black. I did pick up a great french packaged coffee that I tried last night that was phenomenal!  Obviously, I won't be frequenting Starbucks as much the next 40 days.

So, after all that coffee talk, I'll get down to the topic at hand; Lent. No, I'm not Catholic. Sometimes evangelicals are confused by other evangelicals that observe Lent if they aren't Catholic. Everybody else is like, "Wanna starve yourself? More power to you!" I started observing Lent a few years ago because it just seemed like a great time to do a fast. There are others around us that we don't even know doing the same and I just feel like it's so unifying. While I won't get into the details of my Lent fast, I will say one of the things I'm giving up is sugar...hence the black coffee. Considering I'm striving to be a minimalist, Lent means something a little different to me this year.

First of all, there are people all over the world who go without because they don't have a choice. How blessed am I that there are so many things I can enjoy that I consider "simple pleasures." To others living in impoverished countries, they'd see my "simple pleasures" as unattainable luxuries. As much as I hate to admit it, double chocolate cake is not a necessity of life. Nor is my $6 mocha frappuccino with soy and an extra shot. Food has become more like a favorite past time as opposed to a necessity by which I survive. It's kind of like the mountain of stuff we accumulate. We have "collections", well more than a couple articles of clothing, technology flowing out of our ears and the latest in modern decor adorning our windows and walls.

Lent is also a time I can silence the noise and focus on God. If ever there be a time to hear from God, it's now. As my husband and I pour through our things and purge to try to minimize our belongings, we're also living with my in-laws trying to figure out where we need to be. We're at such a pivotal point in our lives. Do we start a family? If so, what kind of place do we need to live? Do we have the money for the space that we need? And I haven't even thought about school districts! While I'm in my 30's, I still feel like we're young kids just getting our start in life. Yet at the same time, we are seasoned in our careers and experiences. We need direction and because we have faith, we want our direction to be divine.

So for the next 40 days I go without...to unify myself with other believers, to quiet myself enough to commune with God and to see His hand reveal the next steps for us.

Do you observe Lent? What have you learned from going without? What have you experienced minimizing the excess?

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