OK – here’s a very quick RE lesson (please bear with me – there’s a more secular point to this!): Lent commemorates the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness, preparing for his death and ultimate resurrection. During this time, the devil came to him and tempted him to relieve his suffering in various ways, including turning stones into bread. Christians generally ‘go without’ to a greater or lesser extent to mark this time before Easter.
Society in general has also taken this up, with many people giving up things such as chocolate or wine for Lent, without any religious meaning. A sort of second-chance New Years Resolution, if you like, with a more achievable duration.
I’m personally interested in the ‘temptation’ bit. Because, after all, that’s what stops so many a good intention in its tracks. All temptation is – really – is a distraction from what we really want (long-term) with a short-term, easy pleasure. Think diets and chocolate, productivity and Facebook, exercise and the sofa…
Turning stones into bread when you’re starving and have the necessary Son-of-God touch would have to be a pretty massive temptation. But Jesus had a bigger picture in his head that enabled him to say no to the short-term (very attractive) distraction.
So there’s two strands here:
- having a clear and attractive big picture/goal/target/vision, and
- avoiding the short-term distraction (temptation)
Have YOU got a big picture you’re working towards? Remind yourself of it daily. Get excited by it.
(Not got a big picture? Give me a call – let’s get you one!)
What is it that usually tempts you away from that big picture for an easy, short-term pleasure? Is it, in retrospect, worth it? What can you give up, or cut down on that would lessen the diversions in your journey to what you really want?
Oh, and a couple of useful points to note:
- in the spirit of keeping things light and being your own best friend, traditionally Sundays don’t count during Lent, so it’s not completely cold turkey on your guilty pleasures…
- rather handily, it’s Throw Out Thursday tomorrow (and every Thursday) on the Straightforward Coaching Facebook page, so why not come and share what temptations you’re ejecting from your life, and get some support and accountability whilst you’re there?
So… what will YOU give up this year for Lent?
Want some help with this? Give me a call on 01903 244747 or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS I wrote another blog about Lent 3 years ago. It’s here, if you fancy reading it.