Each year when Lent rolls around, all Catholics worldwide experience the ultimate dilemma: What do I give up?
Most people give up sweets, some people give up social media. The bravest souls give up coffee. I typically give up chocolate or orange juice (my two food obsessions). I once knew a vegetarian who "gave up" meat. Clearly, the point of Lent fasting was lost on her.
But, maybe it's lost on all of us. It's not about giving something up, counting down the 40 days, and then feeling a huge sense of "thank God I can eat cake again," or "I can finally post on Instagram!"
The point of Lent is getting out of our comfort zones for 40 days in an effort to grow closer to God and understand the hardships Jesus went through.
This year, I've decided that instead of giving something up, I want to push myself forward. Instead of checking off days till I can finally eat my favorite food again, I want to actually experience God's work during Lent. So, instead of giving up an item, I'm going to give up time - specifically, about a half an hour a day to grab coffee, food, or just sit and talk one-on-one with somebody new each day about our faith.
I'm a pretty shy person, and I hate being vulnerable, so this will be tough for me, but I also know that talking about faith with others is important. Proverbs 27:17 says just as iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens another. When we talk about faith with each other, we push each other closer to God and help open each other's eyes to the works God is doing in our lives that we previously didn't see.
Talking about faith with others means taking a huge leap out of my comfort zone, because it means opening up about things I find hard to discuss in person. It also means I'll have to do things like actually ask people I don't know so well to get together with me. Social interaction?! Yikes. But isn't that the point of Lent? Experiencing the same discomfort Jesus did in order to save us so we can know him better?
I don't know how or where I'll find people to get together with (if you're reading this, want to grab Starbucks?), but I know that by seeking out people and sharing things that make me uncomfortable, I'll be actually reaping the benefits of Lent, and that's what matters.