Giving Up the “Good” Idols for Lent

So, what are you giving up or taking on for Lent?

This is the question that gets asked a lot around my family this week. Okay, okay…maybe I am the only one asking, but that still counts. Right?

Having grown up not observing Lent I have been late to the game but that has only served to grow my excitement for both Lent and a proper Advent (except that I like to sing Christmas carols before Christmas Day…go ahead and sue me.)

So, what am I giving up so that every time I miss it I can be reminded of God?

Counting. Tracking. Prayer Journaling.

I noticed recently that I get more satisfaction out of crossing something off than actually doing it. I get a dopamine hit by tracking my workout, my resting heart rate, etc, etc, than I do actually doing the work and seeing the results.

And for those that know me you are already know that there is the one thing I listed that really hurts for me. Prayer Journaling.

I have noticed that my prayer journaling has become an idol instead of a means of grace. I get more satisfaction out of writing a page than what is on the page and what is going on in my heart as a result. I noticed I judge how good my “devotional” times were in the week by how many pages I prayer journaled. Ugh…I love my journal. But it has become the sign that I am doing something and in a sense have actual value. I have even stopped simply having conversations with the LORD and substituted writing which is mostly about me and to me. Double ugh. Something that has served me so well and been so good over the last decade has crept over into something of a distraction from my relationship with God. Triple Ugh.

So, for Lent, I am going to trust the process and the process giver (ie. God) rather than trusting my tracking of it. I am going to stop the journal and simply pray and get reconnected with God. Maybe look for the signs of progress within my heart instead on a piece of paper. And while I am at it, no Apple Watch for Lent either. Just enjoy the working out and the walking and the 7-8 hours of sleep per night without needing to see the tracking results of calories burned and deep sleep entered into.

So, here we go. 40 days plus Sundays. A proper Lent.

What are you giving up or taking on?

PS. I will continue to journal my thoughts on the day and events. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that journaling is a bad thing! It has been one of the best tools for my self-awareness and thinking things out and through. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it. Holler at me and we can have that conversation.

2 thoughts on “Giving Up the “Good” Idols for Lent

  1. This post hit home with me, Todd. I’m also a tracker and list maker and completer. No Apple Watch; agh! That has become such a personal tracking accomplishment for me. I feel like a failure if I forget to wear my watch during a walk or workout. Silly.
    I also journal daily but not always prayers. Many times I write scripture read that day or thoughts from my devotional readings.
    You’re making me take stock of where my mind is daily! 😖

  2. Todd, this message was very timely for me. We just finished a sermon series in Idols of the Heart. Wow! I learned so much and several things you mentioned hit home with me….tracking things, crossing things off a list, journaling…..I realized that accomplishments had become somewhat of an idol and staying tuned in to the lists hindered me allowing the Lord to interrupt my day.
    Thanks for your message and the sweet reminder of Who I am in Him and not the “roles” that I play

Comments are closed.