I’m writing here on Day 39 of Lent, so there’s just one more day of fasting before the chocolate feast on Easter. Which reminds me, it was a terrible idea to send me to the store to play the Easter Bunny and buy all the treats for the baskets, not at the end of Lent anyhow. Our kids have a trove of sugar awaiting them this year. As do I. I’ll be all hyped up for worship on Resurrection morning. But it won’t just be the sugar. It’s my favorite celebration of the year.
I fasted from various things this year. Sweets mostly. One of our daughters was more serious than I — cutting out sugar almost entirely, something she found nearly impossible, since sugar in some form is in nearly everything. Our other daughter gave up video games, which she’d sort of done prior to Lent. Both could be quite grumpy at times, though not any less than their father. Cindy gave up cream and sugar in her coffee, which I appreciated because it made it a lot easier for me to prepare it for her.
Something else I fasted from, or rather that I focused on, was spending my down time more effectively. I refrained from watching shows on Netflix and falling asleep to Seinfeld on my iPad. I listened only to music that either overtly honored God, such as worship music or instrumental music, so that I could train my thoughts on him. Obviously, I couldn’t avoid overhead music in stores or restaurants or spin class. I didn’t plug my ears and chant “la la la,” but I did what I could. I wasn’t hardcore like Jacque with the sugar.
More than fasting, the best part of Lent for me this year was the longer times spent with God in the morning. Now, I usually wake up early, as I set my alarm a little before 5:30 am. But for whatever reason, I kept waking up before 5, sometimes as early as 4:30. Often it was because Micah woke up, used the bathroom, then joined us in our bed, as he likes to do. (I hope he doesn’t outgrow cuddling anytime soon.) I must have come to the end of a sleep cycle and so couldn’t get back to sleep. So I’d lie in bed for ten or so minutes and then just get up. As a result, my devotional times began earlier and ended still about 6:30, when Micah will have come downstairs and began begging for breakfast.
Thus, the days of Lent were longer for me, if even by a half hour. That’s an extra 30+ minutes of desiring chocolate! Though, that’s not really true. I don’t usually pine for chocolate in the wee hours of morning. Coffee satisfies enough. And that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever give up for Lent. If God is going to wake me up before 5 am, then I’ll certainly need some coffee.
Speaking of God waking me up … I came to realize that’s what was happening. I got the sense that it was the Father waking me up, that he couldn’t wait to start the day with me. He would nudge me awake and say, “Come on, my son. Get up. I have some things I want to show you. Get your coffee, which I created by the way. Isn’t it good? Yes, get your coffee and open up my word. And let’s cuddle.”
But I wonder, if I were to refuse his pre-dawn nudgings, would God eventually stop? Would he resign to the fact that I just didn’t want to spend time with him? Would he give up? How sad that would be! For him. For me. For you.
God wants to nudge you, too. Of course, it doesn’t have to be early in the morning. I’m simply a morning person. Though, I can also be night owl. Really, it’s the afternoons I don’t like. Maybe it’s the Spanish blood in me that requires a daily siesta. I encourage you, whenever is the best time of day for you, devote that time to spending with the Father, whether Lent or some other season — or all seasons. Maybe it’s in the car during your commute or as you’re preparing dinner or after you’ve put the kids to bed. Whenever it is, get alone with the Father and cuddle.
I can’t wait for worship on Sunday morning, when we celebrate the risen Lord. Just know that when you see me leading with my guitar, I will have come from backstage where I just wolfed down a Cadbury creme egg.