“I’m going to look so good on spring break” was a comment I overheard someone saying in response to their Lenten promise, a self-covenant intended to improve one’s relationship with God by either sacrificing something that distracts one’s relationship with Him, or adding something that will help bring someone closer to Christ.
As the Lenten season begins, talk of who is giving up what flutters throughout the halls. I have come to realize, however, that over the years the intended self-sacrificing meaning behind a Lenten promise is slowly forgotten, as it morphs into an extended period of self-improvement or, even worse, a diet.
Many people vow to give up chocolate, candy, or desserts with the anticipation of weight loss, which completely overshadows the purpose of self-denial in solidarity with the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. I am definitely not saying that giving up sweets is an easy task—it is just that many times the reasoning behind most food-related promises has nothing to do with Jesus himself.
As I asked a few more of my friends what they decided to give up, among the most striking promises were Twitter, Netflix, and the use of both a hair curler and straightener. Random, yes, but definitely meaningful. The amount of time teenagers spend on Twitter and watching Netflix is unbelievable and, by going without one or the other, they can focus their attention on their relationship with God and their family.
Furthermore, it is almost impossible to come across a girl without her hair conformed in some way by a heat tool, and in choosing to go without a straightener or curler for 40 days, you are granting yourself freedom from society’s twisted image of beauty. Thus, you allow yourself to rediscover the natural beauty God has given you.
It is crucial to take the time and truly think about what is hindering your relationship with God. Once you are able to recognize any barriers, it merely comes down to the strength to willingly sacrifice them for him.
“I spend a lot of time watching Netflix,” said senior Shannon Manz. “Because it consumes so much of my time and attention, it distracts me from what is truly important. Giving it up will be hard, but I know I’ll have more time to dedicate to my faith and family.”
So, as this 40-day journey begins, remind yourself just exactly what you are preparing for. The self-denial attitude is not for the purpose of being “bikini ready,” but to be “Jesus ready.”