What I’m not giving up for lent

I’m pretty new to the whole idea of Lent. Growing up I remember hearing my catholic friends talk about it a little, but I didn’t understand it. The first time I saw someone with ashes on their forehead in college, I politely told them they had dirt on their face and might want to wash it off. (“You’ve got a little something righhhhhht there…”)

Coming to faith in an evangelical church meant rejecting all things “religious” in favor of a relationship with Jesus. And while I understand the impetus behind that, I find myself longing for the good that can be found in religion. So I’m learning. I’m reading. I’m asking questions. I’m seeking. And I still don’t know much, but I know enough to want to participate in this, the season of Lent.

But I’m not giving up chocolate. Or alcohol. Or coffee. Or social media.

Because I know myself well enough to know that a fast of that kind would only turn my thoughts towards myself. My willpower. My fortitude. A fast of that kind for me would not likely bring me closer to God.

Instead I have chosen to turn my thoughts to repentance, to devote the pauses in my day to prayer and meditation, and to earnestly seek God in daily scripture readings. To practice what I understand as good religion.


I share all of this to share a piece of me. Honestly I feel incredibly vulnerable when I post about faith. Especially since I feel very ill-equipped to talk about it. But maybe you can relate or resonate with something I say, and that makes it worth it.


In case anyone is interested, here are a few resources I’m loving right now:

Reading – The Daily Lectionary from Preston Yancey, and Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr

Music – Lent by The Brilliance, and The Liturgists

Blog posts – Lent is Unnecessary – But It’s Good Religion by Ed Gungor, Space to Tell the Truth – An Ash Wednesday Reflection by Andrew Arndt


Do you observe Lent? What does this season look like for you? Do you give up something? Do you add something? I would love to hear about your experience.

  • Brian Gardner March 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Alysa, way to go on taking a risk and writing this!

    “Especially since I feel very ill-equipped to talk about it.”

    You shouldn’t feel this way, as talking about your faith is really a matter of you sharing your story and experiences about the same God that we, as Christians, all believe in. Nobody can take that away from you, nor should they make you feel as though you’re not qualified to tell it.

    I grew up in the Lutheran Church, so I have a (somewhat) similar upbringing when it comes to religion. While God’s interested in our actions, he cares more about our hearts.

    Do what you feel is right, and do it for Him — if that’s how you live your life and make decisions, I’m sure He’ll be quite pleased! 🙂

    • InspiredRD March 6, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Thank you Brian. You inspire me to be a little more unfiltered. I appreciate your support.

  • Tam Hodge March 6, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    yup. i definitely like you.

  • Back To The Book Nutrition March 7, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Beautiful post! I didn’t grow up with much emphasis on Lent but, like you, have come around to embracing some of the beauties of liturgy in the past few years.

  • Nicki @Recipes For A Joy-fille March 9, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Sounds like you are approaching Lent with the right heart attitude! Found your blog from Gluten Dude. Hello from a fellow celiac and evangelical 🙂 Blessings for a wonderful Lenten season.