I love coffee.
I love coffee with a deep and complex love.
However, despite my love for this rich and life giving elixir, I gave it up for lent a few years ago. It went about as well as you’d anticipate.
I made it through but wow was it ever terrible. I really wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to give it up, how much I enjoy it, and how unbelievably addicted I am to it. I started a new job during that time. I was like a walking zombie trying to make good impression on my new co-workers for weeks without caffeine coursing through my veins.
They noticed instantly when I started drinking it again.
We even joke about it now. They simply cannot believe that I could do it again if I wanted to, nor do they want me to even try.
But reflecting back, I don’t think it worked.
There are loads of reason why people participate in lent but I think this one missed the mark.
I guess there is value in praying more and I suspect I did, but not to the point that I remember or can say with certainty that I did.
I am however acutely aware that I’m not different because of it.
It didn’t change how I saw God or Jesus or my faith at all.
It didn’t draw my closer to God.
When all was said and done Easter came and went and I was the same person I was when it all started.
It was just a couple weeks where I was uncomfortable.
This year I hope it’s different.
I hope that my lent experience will draw me closer to Jesus.
I hope it will show me more the heart of God.
I hope that this will actually change the way I live. That by investing my time, energy and money in this I will be a different person when I’m done.
I want to be a better disciple when Easter comes around. I want to understand what Jesus is calling his followers into and realize that it’s not always easy. I want to act differently on the other side of Easter. I want to be changed by my investment in this process. To be open to Jesus changing me.
I want to see the world in a different way. In a way that won’t allow me to go back to the way it was.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe giving up coffee and chocolate haven’t really done it.
Might I suggest trying something new?
It will be different for all of us, but let’s not lose the power of this time because the tradition makes it easy to coast. Let’s pick something that changes the way we see the world. Let’s pick something that forces us to truly experience the world in a way that we have never had to before, not simply un-caffeinated for a few weeks.
How will this fast change you? How will it make you different when it’s done? How does this push you to be a better disciple? How will your actions be changed?
It’s not that you’ll never take up coffee again, but rather how will this lent make you see Jesus in a way that you can’t be what you were before?
Let’s not pick something inconvenient this year. Let’s pick something that changes the very world around us.