What I’m giving up for Lent

Driving home from work today, I finally found something that I wanted to “sacrifice” during this Lenten season. I’m only about a week late on coming to that conclusion, but the early point at which the Lenten season has begun this year has really thrown me off. Last year, I gave up meat for Lent which was really difficult, but a great experience. If you want to see the conclusion of those forty days, check out this post.

This year I decided that my fast wouldn’t have anything to do with food. Rather, I’m going to “fast” from listening to the radio in the car. If you’re anything like me, you’re addicted to noise. Your entire life is filled with noise to the extent that you experience tremendous discomfort whenever you find yourself in a place that is quiet. Just last week, I was visiting with some of our staff about my inability to study in the library in college because the silence was too distracting. [I know it sounds ridiculous] I really have a hard time being still and silent.

But I desperately need it.

Is there something in your life like that? Something you really can’t stand doing but you recognize that you have a deep need for it in your life? I need to be still. I need to be silent, and when I force myself to do it… this might sound strange… but I get this sense that my soul is getting a chance to catch it’s breath… That’s how I feel when I force myself to be still, to be silent… to cease.

So today while I was driving home, I turned on the radio… Then, sensing that I needed some quiet, I decided to turn it off… Then 30 seconds later, without making a conscious decision, I turned it back on… which frustrated me, so I turned it back off…

But then I turned it back on again.

I live 12 minutes from the church, and during that drive I either turned on or picked my hand up to turn on the radio six times. At no point did the thought enter my mind, “Hey, I think I need to turn on the radio.” It just happened. I stopped myself the last few times from actually turning it on, but my mind simply wasn’t convinced that it could survive the silence.

So over the next several weeks, I’m going to force myself to deal with the silence a little bit better and allow my soul some breathing room.

As for our family, we’ve decided to keep the TV off when we get home and try to go all night without that noise. We’ll probably make an exception for Thursday nights. [Cutting out Lost and The Office is simply taking this too far]

I’m interested to hear from you if you’ve decided to “give something up” during this season. Feel free to drop me a comment and let me know if you’ve got something you’re sacrificing for the sake of focusing your heart during these 40+ days.

Since I decided to cover this today, I’ll return to my earlier thought and post about The Daily Office tomorrow.


4 Responses to “What I’m giving up for Lent”

  1. johnnybrower says:

    i did the car/radio thing a couple months ago. it was such a great experience. it’s amazing the amount of thinking you can do in a 5 minute drive in silence.

    this year’s “sacrifice” is similar. i will be giving up my first 30 minutes of awake time. instead of instantly turning on Sportcenter, i’m going to meditate/read/pray. hopefully i can stick to it. it’s getting tough.

  2. josh says:

    i chose to go with out radio/cds in the car a few years ago. it turned out to be a great experience and i still will cut everything off every once in a while. the extra time alone to think and pray was healthy for me. but also, when somebody would be riding in the car with me, the silence would naturally lead to more conversation, and that was a healthy thing for those friendships. if your driving-radio habits are much like mine, you made a good choice for this Lent.

  3. traci says:

    i gave up the radio in high school. made it prayin time instead. it was good stuff.

    alan decided is going to abstain from killing people during lent. now that is a commitment.

  4. SteveHeyduck says:

    Great idea. I intentionally turn (or leave) the radio off sometimes. Sometimes I determine that I’ve listened to too many words – talk radio, podcasts, etc., and choose music, which alters my soul in good ways.

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