I had trouble deciding how to practice devotion during Lent this year. I know the ancient practice is to give up something for Lent devoting to self-denial as a sign of repentance. One gives up something that they really enjoy as a sign that God is more important than meat or chocolate.
Another common practice during Lent is fasting denying yourself food for all or part of a day like Jesus fasted in the wilderness. I have a friend doing a beer fast. I don’t know all the details, but he is getting much needed carbs throughout the day from beer. It is an interesting idea for fasting. Fasting is why there are so many fish fries on Fridays at Catholic churches. Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays. Queue the Filet-of-fish commercial from McDonald’s.
I didn’t want to give up something this year. I end up doing poorly at it and give up fairly early in the season. I love God, but I also love hamburgers and chocolate. I know of people abstaining from TV and Facebook, but I don’t see myself at being successful at giving up either of those; after all, I’d miss this season of the Voice and reading lots of articles about church leadership and sermon ideas.
So, this year I’m taking something on. It is a recent practice to take something on for Lent like more prayer time or reading a daily devotion or reading the Bible. I have decided to dance daily. When I had started to think about giving up McDonald’s for Lent, the root of that was really about eating healthier, which I keep trying to do. Though eating a Filet-o-fish probably isn’t any healthier than a Big Mac.
I am going to continue to try to eat healthier, but I can take my Lent devotion a step further than my New Year’s resolution. Eating healthier is about being healthier so we live a longer and better life. I am adding dancing as a means of adding exercise to my daily life. Exercising is one way to honor my body which is a gift from God and dancing is more fun than walking on the treadmill. Dancing is all about honoring my body and loving the image of God stamped on me. Dancing makes me happy and shrugs off all the stress of the day. You can’t help but live in the moment when you’re dancing.
I started dancing a few days early. I danced on Monday with my spiritual director. The dog thought I was crazy at first. Then, he joined me and started prancing around the living room with his nails tapping on the wood floors. I danced on Tuesday with the girls at Girls on the Run. Today, I’ll dance, too. And, everyday in Lent I’ll dance. I may even keep dancing daily for the rest of the year. I’ll turn on an empowering, up-beat dance song and go crazy because no one but the dog is watching…and God. I hope my dancing makes God happy.