As someone who grew up in the Evangelical church, Lent wasn’t something I was familiar with. At most, it was, “that thing Catholics and Mainline Protestants do.” (In my house, Catholics and Mainline Protestants were barely even Christians)
I’m still not great at Lent and I have a lot to learn about it. There is more to Lent than simply giving something up, even though that’s basically the extent of the evangelical understanding.
For a lot of my friends who participate in Lent every year, it’s essentially become a season of intentionality. It’s a period of consciously making an effort to steer your life rather than allowing your life to steer you.
While Lent is traditionally a time of self-denial, for many people I know that self-denial has taken positive forms just as much as negative forms.
Some people give up chocolate, coffee or Netflix, while others choose to commit to reading their Bible every day or praying for those who have hurt them.
In my experience Lent can be a great season of willfully seeking Jesus rather than passive going through the motions.
I’m sure there is much more I can learn about Lent, especially from those who have grown up with Lent as part of their Tradition.
What has been your experience with Lent over the years? Is it something you participate in? Why or why not?