lentToday is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent – 40 days leading up to what I believe is the most important holiday to Christians, Easter.

I grew up in the Episcopal church, or as I like to call it, “Catholic Light”.  And as long as I can remember I’ve been giving things up for Lent – chocolate, soda, candy, etc. My friend Jen still teases me because our freshman year of college I ate a grilled cheese sandwich from The Main nearly every day. So when Lent rolled around I knew what I had to do, for my faith, and for my waist line.

My annual “what are you giving up?” conversation with my dad went something like this that year:

Dad: “What are you giving up for Lent?”

Me: “Grilled Cheese sandwiches”

Dad: “Is this a joke?”

Me: “You cannot begin to comprehend this sacrifice.”

They were  buttery, cheesy and altogether wonderful and I would pay cash money for one right now.  I make no apologies for this.

But here’s what I’ve learned from 29 years of Lenten seasons:

The giving up of things is easy. The reflection and reliance on God is not.

I’m generally able to live without chocolate or soda, or even my beloved grilled cheese, for 40 days. But what I have failed to do is lean on God and spend 40 days in prayer like Jesus did.  If the purpose of Lent is reflection, well, then I’ve been doing it wrong.

So this year, I’m doing something different.  I’m giving up soda, as per usual. But in addition to that, I’m going to take on praying for 1 person every day for 40 days. 40 people.  Every time I want a soda, I will pray for that person instead.

I sincerely hope this commitment to prayer draws me closer to the Lord, and to the people in my life. I want to use this time to reflect and be in communion with God.  I want to be intentional in my relationships and in my prayers.

I’ve made my prayer list – and jotted down names in my planner to help me remember each day.  However, I would love to know if anyone reading this is in need of prayer – I’d be honored to pray for you.  You can leave a comment or send me an e-mail by using the contact link above.

And if you’d like to join me in this prayer challenge, I’d love that more than I can say.  I can’t wait to see what God does in the next 6 weeks.

Enjoy this time of prayer and reflection, friends.  And by all means, serve up a buttery grilled cheese sandwich and call it dinner tonight.

Because if grilled cheese is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.


10 thoughts on “Grilled Cheese and Sacrifice. A Lent Challenge.

  1. Stephanie

    I LOVE this Lent challenge. Last year I challenged myself to put away the laundry the same day it had been washed. It was a struggle. I found that if I prayed for the person I was folding laundry for, it felt a little more bearable.
    I’ll join you on this challenge!

    1. Kelly Post author

      It would take a true miracle from heaven for me to get the laundry put away on the same day that it had been washed! Thanks for your encouraging comments & for joining me on the challenge!

  2. Rebekah Loper

    Last night, I went to bed. I didn’t grow up in a liturgical church of any sort (more of a not-quite-pentecostal-but-definitely-charismatic church is what I grew up in), but hubby and I have recently started attending a United Methodist church, and I did know that Lent was starting, well, today. And I had a plan – I knew exactly which time-stealing vice I was going to give up for 40 days… and I messed that up as soon as I had free time this morning. Oops.

    But it’s just like you said – giving up something for 40 days is easy. (Though I personally gave up soda for a year in high school and I’ve never really gone back to it.) Drawing close to God for 40 days is HARD.

    So, instead of giving up something for Lent, I think I will just start adding something in that will draw me closer to God. And then maybe, the things I do need to give up won’t be quite so hard.

    1. Kelly Post author

      That’s a great idea – and a great point. If we are spending time doing the things that draw us closer to God, we are probably using our time more wisely in general.

  3. Shel Harrington

    Love the idea of swapping prayer for the focus on the sacrificed item/activity – makes it all the more meaningful. I also appreciate the reminder of praying for someone daily, Kelly. Last year I wrote down names of people who I wanted to pray for on individual papers and threw them in a drawer to be “drawn from” each day and carried around in my pocket. It will be even more of a daily surprise to draw from them again – since I don’t remember who all I wrote down last year! This is such a special time of year. For years I grumbled through it as a kid going to daily Mass in a Catholic school – but the older I get (and the more appreciation I get for what He did for us) the more I embrace the season!

  4. Jen

    K-Ferg! I am on day (however many days since lent started) of praying for someone everyday, and just love it so far. This is the first year since way before our days of grilled cheese at the Main that I haven’t given up a food item – I’m determined to make it about more. I started a little journal to write down a few things I’m thankful for every morning, reflect on my devotional and pray for someone. Thank you for sharing. If one day your laundry is folded and put away, a grilled cheese is waiting, and G suddenly wants to quietly snuggle while your favorite episode of friends plays, you know it was my day to pray for you.

    P.S. – while I agree that focusing on Him rather than on earthly sacrifice is important, I think anyone who knows you would agree that giving up grilled cheese actually may transcend the things of this earth. I will never forget how your eyes were filled with sadness (or hunger?) in those first few days of Lent 2004.

    1. Kelly Post author

      Oh Jen. I love you. Hahaha. So well put, and if those things that you mention all happen on one day, I will know that you not only prayed for me, but that actual Angels came down from heaven to fold and put away all the laundry!

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