Lent is a common time to practice fasting--abstaining from things in the hope that when we discipline ourselves, we are more likely to see God's presence around us. When we don't give in to every craving for a snack, or spend our time constantly consuming or distracting ourselves, we have more energy (spiritual, mental, and physical) to pay attention to what God is calling us to.
In that spirit, each week during Lent many in our church family are fasting from different things.
The first week we fasted from snacking between meals. I didn't find that too hard, until the end of the week--something about Friday made me crave all kinds of snacks I'd not cared about earlier in the week. But whenever I wanted a snack during the week, I spent a moment thinking of those who don't have enough to eat, and feeding my hunger for justice instead of my hunger for Girl Scout Cookies (of which I have many!).
This coming week we're fasting from TV and movies. I don't have tv channels, and I rarely watch movies, so it shouldn't be hard, right? Well...yes and no. I mean, I do have Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming video, and I usually go to a friend's house to watch the Monday night musical extravaganza (The Voice and Smash). And, much bigger than that, when I work out each morning I watch some tv. It's my moment to just let my mind veg out while I work my muscles...I watch the previous night's Daily Show, or I watch streaming Netflix tv shows. This week, no tv during workouts. I'm not entirely certain what that's going to mean, but I suspect it means that I'll be taking advantage of the nicer weather to get outside!
As I was contemplating this situation, a parent at church reminded me (via basically preaching back to me my sermon from 2 weeks ago) that multitasking is often the enemy of the deeper spiritual and creative life. She told me to keep the tv (and the iPod) off and just go work out, focusing on what I was doing and nothing else...and that might just turn out to be the time when problems would be solved, my brain would be free to do its thing, and I might even find that my spirit was more free too. It could help to "clear the clutter" (to use a phrase that's been in our Lenten liturgy each week) if I would just take advantage of this opportunity rather than seeing the fast as a burden.
Well, she told me! and of course she's right. So this week, no tv or movies. hopefully some clutter will clear and my own spiritual vision will come into focus. When it does...I can text you about it. ;-)
If you'd like to comment on this post, you may do so here or over at Teri's blog.