This morning while I was doing my quiet time a thought came to my mind about the purpose, function and reason for going without or giving something up for lent. Now I know this isn't going to be any groundbreaking theology or radical new discovery, but I just felt that it was God prompting me and maybe you too.
As a youth worker each year we seem to ask the young people what they will be giving up for Lent and the responses are often very predictable. "Chocolate" one cries out and another pipes up "biscuits" and the next speaks of "meat". The smart one is 'giving up giving up"! Every year it's the same, giving up something that is seen as bad/harmful or that would have a positive result for their appearance. All these things (well almost all) are not bad things to cut down or give up, but how does giving up these things for Lent help you with your walk with God. And then the thought hit me. We shouldn't be giving these things up for "Lent" but for God. Its not about observing some ritual or event in the God calendar, it should be about making time for God.
The origins of lent seem to stem from individuals or nations spending time wandering around in deserts and wildernesses looking for, or being shaped by God.
Lent should be about looking for God in unexpected places and to do that we need to create space for it... so if you have given up chocolate, next time you are in the shop, look for God, talk with him and be open to His call on your life.