The season of Lent is upon us!
I remember growing up and thinking that Lent was this yearly exercise in torturing your children that my parents for some reason thought was good for me. I knew that it had a lot to do with Jesus and His 40 days in the desert, but I never could really get down with the whole self-sacrifice thing. A lot like my church attendance, it was a part of my childhood experience that was well beyond my control. I’m sure if you asked my Mom she’d tell the story differently, but that is definitely how I always remembered Lent.
Fast forward 20 years and I find that Lent is one of my favorite seasons, only second to summer. It has been a time where I test my perseverance, challenge myself, and intentionally reconnect with Jesus. I have found it a great opportunity to form new habits, break old ones, and develop in chosen areas of character that I know help me to come in line with who Christ is. I have come to know it as a time that really chips away at some of the emotional clutter in my life and focuses me back on what’s central in my life. Jesus, family, health, among other things take a more prominent place during this season as I course correct and kind of re-fresh the screen so to speak.
This year is no different, except that I get the amazing privilege of going through this adventure with you all.
Now, when I began contemplating what direction Lent would take for me this year, without really trying too hard I recognized that sweets were always a classic choice to exhibit restraint. Since my kidney surgery in November, I have been trying to eat much healthier and I thought this will help nail that down. So, when I brought that thought up to my wife to allow her to confirm that I love sweets and that this would be good, the response was a surprise to none more than me.
She quickly affirmed my love for sweets, but without taking a breath added that I have now become a pro at fasting and despite my love for certain foods I have had great success with fasting them. She then pulled the pin and tossed the grenade…
“If you really want to challenge yourself, give up your devices until Easter?”

I was floored.
“What do you mean?”
The honest truth was that I knew exactly what she meant. In a sermon I preached last December, I encouraged people to break themselves and an example of where I recognized God would challenge me to discard my comfort was in the area of my electronic devices. Lariza has even made the joke that my nickname shouldn’t be “Pastor Fury,” but “Arman Tablet Hands.”
So when she said that, it was painful. I literally began getting teary-eyed at the thought of unplugging till Easter. Now I know this sounds very dramatic but I am simply replaying for you the events of Monday evening. I was a grown man melting down on the couch, confronted by a real issue I was willing to ignore. In the midst of this meltdown, I recognized God’s confirmation what He wanted me to do during this season in my life. I could clearly see that this thought was traumatic to me, so it had hit its mark. I needed to accept this challenge, not because it would be easy, but because it represented a losing of the grip that the digital world had on me and my heart.
Holding phoneSo now with today being Ash Wednesday I am beginning a season of decreased digital distraction. I won’t be able to do a complete unplug from the digital world, as both my job for Ombudsman and Torch Church heavily involve the computer, and I will still be chronicling the adventure here, as I co-host the weekly link-up (details here) with my friend, Happy of But my goal during this season will be simple: on my road to becoming more like Jesus I will use this Lenten season to become less digitally dependent. I will be removing Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram apps from my devices until Easter and limiting my desktop use of them to church related and blog related. I will also be turning off my notifications on my smart watch, and letting it simply do it’s main function…telling time. 🙂
I will still update my status as needed for purposes of sharing my blog posts about the journey and interact with people as needed when you use the #AdventuresInLent on Twitter and Facebook.  I am deleting all gaming from my devices and limiting my viewing of videos and television to the actual television screen in my home which with cut my tv viewing dramatically, more than half to be sure. Knowing myself really well, I am also committing not only to these parameters, but also to the spirit of my goal: less digital distraction. I mention this because I am a recovering legalist and know that one reason I like rules is because it gives me guidelines to live within and if I can find loopholes I have often gone against the spirit of the law and focused on the letter of the law. No technicalities this Lent will prevent me from getting more unplugged. I need to get this digital leach off of my heart. I know that this is ultimately what God is calling me to this season.
I am really looking forward to discovering where the Lord is leading you all this Lenten season.

Where have your past #AdventuresInLent taken you and where do you see this one beginning for you?
What’s God put on your heart?

If you are a blogger or have ever even considered blogging I would love to invite you to link up and share your adventure with us. This week, Happy is hosting the community. So click here and add your own post from your blog. If you are not a blogger, that’s fine. I’d LOVE for you to comment below with your own thoughts or share them on Twitter/Facebook with the hashtag #AdventuresInLent. This might even be a good time to try blogging for the first time. It is pretty easy and if you want some help I can give ya some tips. Get started here or here. It’s free.
I will probably post again before next week, but don’t miss next Wednesday’s post where I will host the link up and we can continue discussing what God is doing in and through us during this awesome season journeying toward Easter.