Ash Wednesday was last night, and a new Lenten season has begun. The tradition of 'fasting' is upon us, and there is much to consider when discussing meaningful Lenten discipline. I'm Protestant, and didn't grow up with the idea of "giving up" something for Lent, but as an adult I've come to see that participating in some form of new discipline does help focus our hearts spiritually. Disciplines aren't always about "giving up" something. They can also be about "giving" something.
I've looked at it from both perspectives. It seems to me that the disciplines I've failed at all centered around me - giving up certain foods with an eye to losing weight, exercising for the same purpose, and other similar ideas. The disciplines most likely to work are those that focus outside of myself - service, kindness, giving. Since the point of all this is to imitate Christ's 40 day fast in the wilderness to prepare for His active ministry, one would think that I would have come to this rather obvious conclusion somewhat sooner.
So when Babygirl and I discussed this on our way home from church last night, we tossed out a variety of options. She didn't want to give up chocolate - after all, today is Valentines Day! We discussed the basic self-centeredness that begat that thought, and tossed around some other options, and I came back to where I was last year. I'd like to fast from meanness.
While the 366 Random Acts of Kindness blog is no longer in business, having completed its full year purpose, the concept remains in my heart still. So, once again, I am going to aim for a random act per day for the season of Lent, and I'm encouraging Babygirl to try it too. It's a mean world sometimes. We can make it better.