Ohmygosh it’s Lent already?!?!
I feel like I just tucked my kids in on Christmas Eve hoping for snow and rushing prep for the pancake scavenger hunt.  Now we’re right upon Valentine’s Day, my anniversary, and starting yet another Lenten Season.
And….until last night I didn’t know what I wanted to fast to observe Lent.  I just knew I didn’t want to do any type of food item fast because that’s too loaded of a concept for me. 
You see, I went through a season when fasting food took on something of a magical quality.  No, fairy dust didn’t gracefully fall around me every time my stomach growled (although, that would have been pretty cool or if I had a wand that I could wave to make my water taste like a sweetened passion tea lemonade—yum).

Think less Harry Potter and more Draco Malfoy: Fasting became a tool to manipulate God. 

In my mind fasting food was a means to an end: the longer I fasted, the greater the temptation to eat, or the bigger the sacrifice (really?  Y’all are ordering pizza tonight? I guess I’ll suffer for Jesus) the more God would be moved to grant my fasting “wish”, i.e. “Lord, save my friend”, “Lord, bring me “the one”, “Lord, please provide for my tuition bill”. 
When I realized this, I decided to no longer fast food or food items until I stop using fasting as a way to trick God to move in my life to benefit me and began moving towards Christ as my Lord, Savior, and Friend; valuing the Giver more than the gift.  

I’m better, but I’m still not completely there…old habits die hard.
Which made chosing my Lenten fast  complicated. 

I thought of media but…um…I sorta want to see how Downton Abbey ends this season.
I thought of Facebook, but….um…I sorta want to know what my friends are doing to stay sane and happy moms next week during February vacation.
I thought of Starbucks, but…um…I sorta want to splurge weekly on a soy vanilla spice latte.  Plus, where would I meet and work on church planting stuff?
I know, excuses, excuses.  But, in all honesty, none of these ideas sat right with me. They all felt like me manipulating God, just with different mediums.
Then I read this awesome post by Margaret Feinberg:
She poses this lovely idea for Lent:

But as I suggest in Wonderstruck, maybe the question we need to ask as we enter Lent isn’t, “What are you giving up for Lent?” as much as “What do you want to lay hold of during Lent?”
So this Lent, I’m really encouraged to think about my fast this Season not in terms of what I’m giving up, but in terms of what I want to lay hold of.
Which, (spiritual bonus) relieves my guilt and removes the temptation to view my sacrifice as a manipulation tactic.
After asking myself the three questions she proposes in the post, I’ve decided that these next forty days I’m hoping to lay hold of peace­—both internal and relational peace. 
I’m going to use this resource to keep me on track during
Lent. < /span>It actually started on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but hey, this is a shame free zone, here ladies!
For the next forty days on this blog, I’ll:
-finish the Third Way Womanhood series honing in on how to we can be reconciled, gracious and peaceful in the Biblical Womanhood Debate.

-post thoughts on radical non-violence, also known as the peace position.

-post on a few of these daily acts of peace http://www.40daysofpeace.org/dailyactsofpeace

-explore the symbolism of the dove in the Bible as peace, reconciliation, and God’s presence.

 –and finally, write about my plan to observe Good Friday by getting a tatoo (my first ever) of a dove on my wrist as an enduring reminder of how I laid hold of peace this Lent.
I’ll tweet the daily peace messages, verses of peace that are meaningful to me, and quotes from Sarah Young’s  40 Days with Jesus: Celebrating His Presence  with the hashtag #40DaysofPeace
With a couple of exceptions: Tomorrow is Valentine’s, the day of loooooove..so I’ll be posting a fun entry about mixtapes, saccharine sweet love songs, and share with you a 2013 V-day playlist (with commentary of each song, of course).
Five Minute Fridays will stick with the word prompts and maybe on the 22nd, I’ll post about how my husband used the most awkward Christian boy pick up line…ever (!) then show off wedding pics, since that’s our anniversary.  Yay for love :).
I’m so thankful for Margaret’s insights that’s both freeing and life bringing. I hope it encourages you as you plan for Lent (again if you’re just thinking about it no worries.  Shame. Free. Zone.) 

Here’s to forty days of growing closer to Jesus, our Prince of Peace.
Excited about Lent,