With Easter just in the review mirror, I’m admittedly relieved that the season of Lent has passed. This year, I attempted to give up online shopping. I didn’t completely fail, but I didn’t completely succeed, either.
FYI, Lent is the six weeks leading up to Easter that symbolize the forty days Jesus spent in the desert–mentally, emotionally, and spiritually preparing for His ministry while Satan tempted Him. Lent is a season of preparation and reflection–preparing to celebrate Easter and reflecting on what Jesus’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection mean for us (salvation, eternal life, a call to follow Jesus and love/help others).
To commemorate Jesus’s temptation in the desert and Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, many Christians give something up for Lent like a certain beloved food or social media–anything that would genuinely be tough for that person to go without for forty days.
My own experience with Lent has varied over the years. When I was younger, I didn’t REALLY understand it. My conception of it was superficial; I knew WHAT but not WHY. For instance, I might decide during Lent NOT to get any of the freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies that sat next to the cash register in my high school lunch line. But they were just sooo darn tempting and delicious that I would eventually break…and that was that, experiment=failed. I was metaphorically gritting my teeth to do it, almost arbitrarily, rather than using it as a way to draw closer to God or enrich my spirituality. Once the futility of that–giving something up only for the sake of giving something up–dawned on me, I stopped commemorating Lent for years.
As of this year, I’m making intentional choices for what I’m giving up and why and approaching it differently–which brings us back to my Lent resolution.
During the pandemic, I’ve practically become an online shopping addict–it’s easy, it’s convenient, it’s fun, it’s fulfilling–and that last one is so problematic, for reasons I’ll expound on in an upcoming sustainability post. Knowing how this compulsion has gotten out of hand made it a clear choice of something from which I should attempt to abstain for forty days.
I had some urgent purchases, like “need to buy more of this skincare product I’m running out of” and “my laptop might have a virus so need to back everything up to an external hard drive ASAP,” but I resisted many temptations. Admittedly, I went plant shopping in person a couple times, which felt like a loophole. A couple plants I ordered before Lent arrived during it, which also felt like cheating.
As far as using these temptation opportunities to turn to prayer, I didn’t always do that; there was still a lot of good ol’ teeth gritting where I resisted the urge but didn’t use it as a spiritual exercise. It’s hard for us to lean into God’s grace, which goes back to the ever-prevalent “saved by grace vs. saved by works” concept; people have always tried to be righteous on their own instead of asking God for help.
This whole experience has made me reflect on a lot, like how blessed I am to be able to afford fun stuff while many have to penny pinch, how the cycle of consumerism is insatiable (you always want more), how consumerism is inherently self-centered and self-serving while Christians should be serving others as much as possible. While I’m probably not going to stop online shopping, this experience will make me take a little more pause when I want things and be less impulsive.
Though I hope to do better in the future, I did at least learn some things from my Lent resolution this year; it wasn’t just superficial or arbitrary.
What’s your experience with Lent been? How did you commemorate Lent this year? Thanks for reading!
P.S. Here’s my latest vid, a fun break from serious stuff. Check it out and subscribe if you enjoy it. Thank you so much for your support! ♥