This year, my Lenten promise is no unnecessary purchases of things. Movies ok. Food ok. Clothing, accessories, books, music -- not ok. (This isn't a judgement against consumerism, it's just something that feels right for me to do right now. I'm having money anxiety, and I tend to shop as a way of avoiding feelings.) I understand Lent as a time to come closer to God, and the thing/thoughts/etc. that you "give up" are in the spirit of making more room for contemplation, quiet, etc. Not to give up things that are "bad" for you.
So this evening I'll go get ashes smudges on my forehead. Since I didn't grow up as a Christian, the meaning of such rituals (and this includes communion -- which is an intense and moving ceremony for me) don't necessarily make sense in an intellectual way (Not that I don't get the ashes to ashes thing). Sometimes, like this evening, I'll show up open to the experience, and see what happens.
I receive daily emails from "The Upper Room," with Bible passages and pithy reflections from various sources). Here's today's scripture reading...
Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts, and not your clothing.
- Joel 2:12-13 (NRSV)
"Rend your hearts, but not your CLOTHING."
So smart. It's Lent and all, but why wreck a perfectly good outfit?