When I was a child, my family celebrated Easter, but as far as I can remember, Lent was never a topic of discussion. It was not until I went to college that it registered for the first time that people “give up” things for Lent. I admired my friends’ commitments not to eat desserts or use Facebook, but their sacrifices puzzled me. It seemed to me that their sacrifices were not a true sacrifices because they adhered to tradition rather than to an uncomfortable sacrifice designed to draw closer to the Lord.
Since college, I have flirted with the idea of giving up something for Lent, but I never committed. Forty days is a rather long time, and when I did let go of Facebook or a favorite food, I went back to my old habits, and soon, I forgot that I had attempted to participate in Lent in the first place.
This year, I want to commit. During New Life Church’s Early Morning Prayer on Ash Wednesday, I asked the Lord, “What do you want me to sacrifice?” I thought of the standards, “Food? Social media? Social events? TV shows? Movies?” None of these hit the mark. I eat pretty healthily already, and while fasting might be a component of this year’s Lent, I sensed the Lord did not want to target food in particular. I do not spend much time on Facebook, and since I am a full-time student and a full-time employee, I don’t have much time for social events or entertainment.
I decided to wait to see what the Lord wanted to say. After a while, a word came to mind: “Frisbee.” I reacted immediately with “No.” As soon as my answer escaped, I felt ashamed and retracted it. “Wait,” I thought. “I love Ultimate Frisbee. This must be the Lord.” I agreed not to play Ultimate Frisbee for forty days.
I have played Ultimate Frisbee, which is basically football but with a frisbee and no tackling, almost every Sunday since the Summer of 2013. If I miss Ultimate Frisbee, it is because I am out of town, have an obligation I cannot break, or am ill. I even abbreviate outings with with friends and family to attend on time. Many of my friends do not understand why I am so passionate about Ultimate Frisbee; I am not sure I even understand why I like it so much.
After I submitted, the Lord added something to his request, “Spend the time with your family instead.” So instead of rushing to Ultimate Frisbee each Sunday, I will go to my parents’ house to eat their food, annoy my siblings, and chat with my family’s pet parakeet. I am looking forward to this fellowship because I don’t spend as much time with my family as I should.
I also believe the Lord has ordained this sabbatical because I need time to rest. To take an actual Sabbath. To spend time writing devotionals like these and thinking about the Lord, what he wants me to do in life, and just hanging out with him in general.
I will miss Ultimate Frisbee greatly, but I am looking forward to the rest, fellowship and unexpected wonders that will emerge as I lay down my favorite pastime and pick up the Lord’s agenda for this season of my life.
First, it is interesting that your writing made its way the day I was researching (I don’t know why) about the “Ultimate Frisbee,” the sport I have little knowledge of.
Second, it brought memories of my early life—to imitate my father I went two days and three nights (Thursday night through Sunday morning—basically, the time encompasses Jesus’ death and resurrection) fasting. That was almost cost my life, as I fainted and collapsed that Sunday morning but miraculously survived.
Though it is difficult to give-up on the things we think valuable to us, as you correctly pointed out, the wisdom is found in listening to Him—“… but I am looking forward to the rest, fellowship and unexpected wonders that will emerge as I lay down my favorite pastime and pick up the Lord’s agenda for this season of my life.”
If you want to see miracle, “… do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
You should try Ultimate Frisbee. It’s so much fun and excellent exercise!
I might, if I find someone who can lead me into it.
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