Defining Your Fast

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February 26, 2014 by Kara Nichols

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. (source: http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatislent.htm)

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely a creature of comfort. I settle into to my routines and throw a fit if something is out of sync. So this year for Lent I’m focusing on removing a few of my comforts, the goal being that I instead focus my time on Jesus and the power of the Easter story. He is risen indeed!
Starbucks. Because I’m on a strict diet, my treat has become a Venti Iced Americano. I get one every few days. It’s not just about it being a treat, it’s about the money I spend as well. Off the top of my head I think each Americano is $2.50. On average I get two to three a week, which means I spend about $7.50 per week. Give or take. With the money that I save from not going to Starbucks during Lent, I’m going to make a loan through Kiva to a woman in an underfunded area. Click here to learn more about how Kiva works. I want to help someone like Stephanie.
No Facebook Status Updates or Blog Updates. I want to maintain a sense of silence.
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I long to hear from God and hope that by clearing out some space in my heart and mind He will speak to me. Dan Allender said, “Fasting from any nourishment, activity, involvement or pursuit—for any season—sets the stage for God to appear” and that’s what I’m hoping for.
“We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There’s nothing magical about fasting. It’s just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfil that priority.” James Packer
If you are still unsure of how to participate in Lent, check out these websites that offer creative ways to fast:
http://lifeteen.com/what-to-give-up-25-creative-ideas-for-lent/
http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/40ideas-lent
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/billykangas/2014/02/5-creative-fasting-ideas.html
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