What I’m Doing For Lent, and Why

As I understand it, the concept of Lent is to give up something that takes you away from being close to God. Originally, Lent was a time for fasting: instead of preparing and eating meals, you spent that time praying and meditating on scripture, as a way to draw closer to God. The experience of Lent has obviously been somewhat cheapened from that original concept, but I think sacrificing other things can still be beneficial, as long as your heart is in the right place.

In the past, I’ve Lented from things like chocolate, and while I don’t think that was necessarily a bad thing — not eating chocolate can be a healthy choice, and every time I thought of eating chocolate it reminded me to think about God — I don’t think it was necessarily all that effective in doing what it was really supposed to do, either.

This year, I’m giving up something that often distracts me from what’s important, and I’m hoping it will allow me to pay attention to what’s really meaningful in life, which is a) God and b) the people around me. What is this thing?

My iPhone.

Ok, I’m not entirely fasting from my phone. What I’m actually doing is not allowing myself to use it for all those little things that keep me distracted over the course of the day. That includes things like Twitter and Facebook, random web browsing, checking hockey scores, games, and so on.

To help me accomplish this, I’ve moved all of my “forbidden” apps off of the main home screen of my phone, leaving only the simple utilities and the most useful core functions. Here they are:

These are the only iPhone apps I'm allowed to use during Lent.
These are the only iPhone apps I'm allowed to use during Lent.

I decided I needed to be able to use my phone for email, since that’s related to the work I do at school, etc. And being able to keep grocery lists, to-do lists, and so on is pretty important for me. I may end up using Voice Memos to do interviews for my research, so that stays in, too.

To be clear, I’m still allowed to use Twitter and Facebook, just not on my phone. I’m trying to get away from the moments where there’s a lull in conversation, or my mind wanders a little, and I click my phone on and absent-mindedly read what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook, or check that I have my fantasy hockey rosters picked. I can do those things on my computer when I’m at home; I don’t need to do them when I’m in the middle of other things.

I’m hoping this will be a really positive time, and that some of the focus of my daily activities will change in a beneficial way.

Are you giving anything up for Lent? What are you giving up, and why?

One thought on “What I’m Doing For Lent, and Why”

  1. I think that's a really good call. I don't do Lent myself, but if I were I'd consider staying off the forums for similar reasons.

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