I spent the first 28-ish years of my life never observing Lent- in fact- I don't think I even knew what it was until my early 20s. Lent itself certainly isn't necessary to the Christian life- however, sacrifice is. Can one observe Lent without drawing closer to the Lord? Absolutely. I've heard people mention they have no idea why they do it, it's just what they always do.
However, when one uses the time to draw closer to the Lord, Lent is a beautiful thing. Each year I pray about what I'll "give up." Sometimes Facebook, sometimes reading fiction. Obviously giving these up won't make anyone "more spiritual." The idea is that when we reach for whatever it is (out of habit) we have given up, we pray instead. It really shows me how much time I spend on other things.
A few days ago, my hubby mentioned giving up TV for Lent. Um, what? Now we have never had cable as long as we've been married. We spent the first year of marriage without even local channels- I bet we watched a total of 10 hours of TV that whole first year. Then we got local channels and watched a little more. Then we got Netflix- which is great for kids. We still didn't watch a whole lot- just maybe an hour or so after the kids went to bed.
Then when Canaan was born a few months ago, we began watching a new show and quickly became addicted. After all the kids were in bed and we *finally* had a few moments of quiet, we would watch. Sometimes 2 and 3 episodes a night. (that translates to one and a half to two hours or so) Add that to the other shows we were "keeping up with," and suddenly, we were part of the American population (most of it) that watches too much TV.
So when Ben mentioned that, I immediately said, "have fun with that!" So much for the supportive wife, huh? So then God does what he does and convicted me, in the shower, where most of my talking to God occurs and by the time I got out of the shower, I was completely on board.
Of course it went with a little bargaining- just one hour a week, God? (obviously so I can keep up with Downton Abbey. ) I will go ahead and say we might watch some on our vacation that falls during Lent, but other than that, TV-free.
And since God has a sense of humor- we planned on "stocking up" on TV last night, and guess what? Our internet was down. So zero.
And another sense of humor moment- we were at my parents' house tonight and they had rented a movie called Hogzilla and Landon reaaaaaally wanted to watch it. Seriously. Google it!