Personal Growth

LENT – Why I’m Observing It & How I’m Doing It

Having grown up in a protestant home, I don’t remember hearing about Lent until I was an adult and Kelly Ripa shared on The Regis and Kelly Show that she was giving up chocolate for Lent. The longer I’ve walked with Jesus, the more intrigued I have become by the history of the Christian Church and the traditions that have lasted for centuries. Until the Protestant Reformation, starting in 1517, most Christians worshiped and observed traditions very similarly to one another. Following the Protestant Reformation there are some ancient traditions that have gotten lost and for many protestants, Lent is one of them.

Lent is believed to have begun during the fourth century when some Christian groups started to fast for 40 days in preparation for Easter. (The span from start to finish is actually 46 days. Sundays were considered “days of feasting” as Jesus rose on a Sunday, and fasting was not required). The purpose of this 40 day fast was to avoid self-indulgence and to focus on the repentance of their sins leading up to Easter. Between the fifth through the 12th centuries, the observance of Lent spread throughout the Christian world. It was common to fast from meat, dairy and eggs during Lent.

Still today, many Catholics and some other Christians fast all meat except for fish on the Fridays of Lent, as well as fast other things for the entire 40 days. The purpose is to be intentional about spiritual growth as well as self-discipline.

I am so grateful that I am saved by grace, through faith in the work that Jesus did for me. Observing a tradition, such as Lent has nothing to do with my salvation, however, this year I am choosing to participate in Lent. I love the tradition of setting one’s heart and mind on the work that Jesus did on their behalf, leading up to Easter.

Lent begins on Wednesday, March 2 and goes until Saturday, April 16th. Here is what I am doing to observe Lent this year:

  • Attending a special night of worship and prayer to kick off the season at my church, Life Center.


  • Doing a “soul fast” and fasting from all non-essential consumerism between March 2-April 16. For me this looks like only buying food and essential home and personal care products. (Yikes! I’m getting sweaty palms already). In January I did 21 days of both dietary and soul fasting, and I have grown to appreciate that when I am craving the things that I’m fasting, it’s an opportunity to think about Jesus or take a moment to pray. This helps to put my cravings in check and remind myself that I am not controlled by my desires. Developing self-discipline and spiritual growth often don’t feel good in the moment but the outcome can be life changing.


  • Reading through a daily devotional to reflect on Jesus’ work, called To Seek And To Save: Daily Reflections On The Road To The Cross by Sinclair B. Ferguson. (The Bible App has some free Lent Devotionals as well, including one called ALIVE). As followers of Jesus, Resurrection Sunday changed everything for us and it’s easy to get so busy that we only really reflect on it on Easter Sunday. I love that the intentionality of reading and reflecting on Jesus’ work for the 40 days leading up to it.

What about you? Is Lent something that you grew up observing? Are you planning to fast for the 40 days (or 46 if you include Sundays) of Lent? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!