Lent Causes Lint
Happy Lent everyone! Lent officially started on Ash Wednesday, which was on February 26 and it goes for 40 days, ending on Easter. I'm aware a lot of you may know what Lent is and a lot of you may not. I grew up observing Lent, and for a very long time I didn't even know it was a "religious" thing to do. My friends and I would have small competitions. One of us would give up candy, or soda, I knew a friend that once gave up rap music (too legit), and we would see who lasted the longest. I knew it was somehow related to Jesus, but truthfully I didn't understand the point of it. As a young kid I was thinking: Wow, I should give something up for Jesus! Which is not wrong, but that was kind of the extent of it, I didn't really know why, and I didn't know really what to give up. Many of you may know what Lent is from the Chick-Fil-A signs that say "New: Fish Sandwich for Lent." Most of you probably saw the sign and did not understand in the slightest.
Right before Lent started, I went up to a few Christian friends and asked,
"Hey! What are you guys doing for Lent?"
"For Lint? Like the stuff in the dryer? "
This is when I realized, Lent is not a universal, everyone-knows, thing.
What is Lent?
Here is the definition from Brittanica: "in the Christian church, (Lent is) a period of penitential preparation for Easter. In Western churches it begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter, and provides for a 40-day fast (Sundays are excluded), in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry."
The word Lent is from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning "Spring," and lenctentid, the word for "March," the month in which most of Lent takes place. Lent is actually one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. But for some reason, it is heavily associated with the Catholic religion, as many Baptist and other conservative evangelical churches do not practice it. The practice of Lent has changed over the centuries but the reason to practice Lent has always been the same: for prayer and fasting, to purify oneself and prepare for Easter.
According to many historians, Lent was most likely established by the apostles themself (although no record of this) and in the beginnings of the building of the Church. But to date the proof of when Lent first became a "thing", dates back to around 130-200AD. Back then it was only about two or three days long. The eastern and western churches had great debate about this, but around the fourth century, it was officially marked as a 40-day observation.
The 40-day long Lent observation was activated in 325AD by the Council of Nicea after Christianity was legalized. The original practice was this: to eat only one meal per day, either at 3pm or after sunset, and to essentially, be vegan. At this time, Lent began on a Saturday, but Gregory the Great in the fifth century decided it should begin on a Wednesday and this Wednesday would be called Ash Wednesday.
Then, the rules evolved. As centuries went on, a small meal during the day was allowed to give one energy for manual labor. Then, eating fish was accepted. Then, eating meat was accepted, except for on Ash Wednesday and Friday's. Then, eventually, you were allowed to consume dairy. And now, instead of fasting, some like myself, have just given up candy, or soda, or rap music.
So, in 2020, what do you do for Lent?
This depends on the religion you practice. You may observe Lent as a Catholic completely different than a Methodist. Essentially, the core idea of Lent is to sacrifice something for a 40-day period with the goal to better yourself and grow in relationship with Jesus. How you go about practicing that, is really up to your interpretation of this season. Here are some things I've heard that people give up for Lent:
-Buying things you don't need
The idea is to really give up something that will be difficult for you to give up and that you may placed before God. May be a bad habit, bad decision making, or a quality about yourself that you really don't like. So for example, if you give up caffeine it may be because you have grown dependent on it and you "can't live without it." By giving it up, this person has realized dey only need JESUS bro. Really whatever works for you and brings you closer to daily gratitude, prayer, sacrifice, and a relationship to Jesus, and a goal to better oneself is awesome.
What is Lint?
According to the most trustworthy site in the world, Wikipedia, here is the definition for Lint: "Lint is the common name for accumulations of textile fibers and other materials, usually found on and around clothing. Certain materials used in the manufacture of clothing, such as cotton, linen, and wool, contain numerous, very short fibers bundled together. During the course of washing, these fibers may either detach or be jostled out of the weave of which they are part."
Lint exists in all our clothes as a beginning short fiber. All these short fibers are bundled together and invisible to the naked eye. But once we put it through the process of cleaning, or a synonym for cleaning: undirtied, unsoiled, or uncontaminated, these small little fibers, that we didn't even know existed, are removed.
During all that tumbling in the washer and the dryer, your clothes are constantly getting knocked around. This causes the fibers to break down, break apart, and eventually fall away from the clothing.
And at the end of the process, the shirt is uncontaminated, smells great, and is now better than before. Why is this? Because in the process, the excess -the lint- is being removed.
What Does This Have to do with Lent?
Lent is the process of throwing yourself in the metaphorical washing cycle with the goal to be undirtied. When you decide to throw yourself in for 40 days, it won't be easy. Like clothes in a washing machine, you will be knocked around. You will be committing yourself to a difficult task for an extended period of time with the goal to improve yourself. And the truth is, if you throw yourself into this process, undoubtedly the excess from you will be removed. You will see bad habits, the lint of your life, slowly coming off (if you let them). When these bad habits or qualities you didn't so care for are put through a purifying process, they start to reveal themself. What was once invisible will be stripped from you along with your dirt.
During the course of washing, these bad qualities may either detach or be jostled out of the weave of which they are part.
Unattended Lint Causes Problems
As many of us studied in Home Ec, if you don't remove the lint from the dryer, it can cause fires. As a matter of fact, lint is extremely flammable, and a great firestarter. That's right, if you don't remove the excess, it could lead to trouble. If too much builds up it has the potential to catch fire, burn up the dryer, and burn down the house.
If you do not take care of that excess in your life: the bad habits, the bad decisions, the qualities about you you'd like to change, then that unattended lint will cause problems. You can throw yourself into the washing machine all you want, but if you don't care to dispose what is attempting to be jostled out, then it will create a large build up. This large build up has the potential to affect everything around you if not attended for and if denied, it can complete reverse your attempt to clean.
I Challenge You to Remove Your Lint
So, here's the challenge. I'm going to challenge you, until Easter, to look at the unattended lint in your life. It may seem invisible, but we all have it. You don't need to be religious or believe in God to better yourself. Look at the things which may be getting in the way of your goals. Is gossiping ruining your friendships? Do you say bad things about yourself too often? Are you spending too much money on Amazon and you can't move out? Are you spending hours scrolling on social media and procrastinating? I challenge you to throw yourself into the washing machine. Make one goal for yourself, sacrifice one thing in your life you wish to change in order to become the person you've always wanted to be. I promise, once Easter rolls around, you will see the lint roll off. Lent causes lint. You've just got to make the active choice to let the lint go.