Lent 2015

on February 19, 2015 in Dude Stuff, Gal Stuff, PCOS with 9 comments by


I love Lent.

It’s my favorite season of the year.

There is something about the quiet and the without-ness and the focus that is given to us for these next 47 days (okay, fair, 46) that I really really love. I grew up in the Methodist Church and so I have always known Ash Wednesday and Lent and giving something up. So every year, even if I’m not in a church tradition that pushes Lent, my heart is drawn towards it.

I’ve given up everything at least once in the last 20 years of purposefully celebrating Lent: chocolate, caffeine, TV, dessert, Coke, social media. All the things.

This year feels like it is going to be different.

You know me, you know I talk about PCOS, and you know that I talk some about issues I’ve had with my body and how God is constantly healing that in me. (I wrote about it in Perfectly Unique and Let’s All Be Brave, if you want to read more.)

So. As you can imagine, as a girl who is allergic to dairy (always have been, just didn’t know) and who doesn’t eat gluten and who has PCOS, I think about my body and food a lot because it matters that I do this well- for my brain, for my heart, for my body.

As so as Lent 2015 came around, I started wondering what it would look like this year and I thought in my mind of what I wanted to give up.

And as I prayed, I kept hearing the Lord push me on one little thing-

Hey Annie. During Lent, what if you cared about your spirit as much as you care about your body?


[insert wide-eyed emoji because it felt like God was calling me out]

It’s something I haven’t thought about in the last two years of this journey, how a healthy lifestyle can still mean my priorities are off.

So for me? Lent is going to be about what most people think about during Lent – aligning my spirit with what Jesus was about for these 47 days. Setting aside time in ways I don’t usually to think and pray and read and learn.

I will kneel every morning from 7:03-7:14. Just like my sister Ann has suggested.

I will read SheReadsTruth and journal.

I will fight the urge to subtract random foods for vanity’s sake and I will press into whatever it is that God has for me, for Christ’s sake.

That’s not to say that subtracting food or adding activity is wrong in any way for anyone else. Like, LEGIT DO NOT HEAR ME SAYING THAT. I’m just saying for me, I can feel in my guts that God wants my heart to look long and hard at Him, and less at me. Yes, I still will eat the way that makes my body feel the best and exercise, but for me, it can’t be the center of my thoughts for the next 47 days.

. . . . .

Around the internet, our friends have made incredible lists of reading plans for Lent and what you should be doing for Lent and etc. So I thought I’d loop them all together here for you. (And no, it’s not too late to start!)

SheReadsTruth Lent Plan

Eric Willits’s Lent Devo (I ordered these for my Vandy boys, so if you know a dude who wants a guide this season, this is the one I would pick.)

40 Things To Give Up For Lent

LifeWay Women: 6 Reading Plans For Lent

The Reverse Lent Challenge

Things Every REAL Christian Should Give Up For Lent (thank you, Relevant, for being hilarious, but I’m still gonna wear my pirate blouse.)

My hope and prayer for you, no matter your age or place in life, is that this Lent season will draw you nearer to the Cross and nearer to Jesus who, as Ann says, is the only One who has loved us to death. And, gratefully, to life again.

. . . . .

So what are your thoughts on Lent?

What are your plans this year?

. . . . .


  1. Janie Krakowski
    posted on Feb 19, 2015 at 12:36 PM  |  reply

    This year I decided to give up social media (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc..) and get back to reading instead. Whaddaya know, your book is first in my lineup of 20 and I’m halfway through.. (just got it this morning!)

    I’m so glad I found you as a writer, I’m already incredibly inspired, so thank you 🙂

  2. posted on Feb 19, 2015 at 9:49 PM  |  reply

    Hi Annie, I read your post on Instagram and had to come over here and read the rest of the story. I smiled as i read because as i was thinking and praying over what to give up for Lent everything i considered felt like a focus on myself– it either felt like dieting or smacked of legalism. I felt like the Lord has been repeatedly asking me to see Him. Every message i have heard, everything i have read has been on that theme. So for Lent i am making more time to see Him and in turn seek to see and love His people better. Thank you for sharing your heart here and in your books!

  3. posted on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:33 PM  |  reply

    one more post to help w/Lent ideas: http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/40-ideas-for-lent-2015 (RHE’s list is my favorite).

    I grew up Methodist too, holler! I go to a Church of Christ college (ps: so excited about you coming to Lipscomb in March! :D) so I haven’t been in the UMC community for a few years, but I’ve always still participated in Lent. My heart needs the time to slow down.

    I struggled this year trying to figure out what to do for Lent.
    Freshman year, I gave up blogging. Sophomore year, I did the 40 days of water challenge from Blood: Water Mission (I learned sooo much about myself doing this). Last year I tried (and failed miserably) to give up music/distractions in my quiet time. I realized half-way through how much music connected me to God, and decided to bring it back in.

    This year, I am not picking up or taking away a particular thing. Over the past few days, I’ve kept hearing the word “intentional” over and over in my head. I want to focus on being present, not just being “there” physically.
    I wasn’t sure what that would really look like, but here’s my thinking:
    -Deleted social media apps off my phone. I still use social media, but I realized after a class-required digital detox just how much I had my nose in my phone. It’s become my crutch, instead of engaging and talking with people.
    -Spending more time with people (I’m an introvert, so I like my alone time to the max). Vulnerability and talking to people about my life are so hard for me, but lately I’ve felt the need to do so more, so I’m going to make an effort to spend less time in my room and more time with the people I love (and some I don’t know).
    -Being more intentional in my quiet time/ relationship with God. I’m using She Reads Truth’s Lent book (got it today! so lovely). I always struggle with staying on-track with SRT (I get behind because I decide sleep is important) so I’m going to set an alarm to remind myself to do it every day. I’m combining it with Margaret Feinburg’s Lent Challenge: http://margaretfeinberg.com/simple-method-will-revolutionize-way-read-gospels/ –but I’m going to use the coloring/pen method with my SRT journals instead of her Gospel challenge.
    Lastly: got this idea from Rachel Held Evans’ 2014 Lent post (it was in the comments actually!). 40 daily affirmations: What I know about God, and what I know about myself. I say these things in my head, but I’ve always struggled with actually LIVING like they’re true. So, so hard.

    now that I’ve written a soliloquy on your post (sorry I’m wordy haha!), I hope you have a lovely Lenten season. 🙂

  4. Melissa
    posted on Feb 20, 2015 at 7:19 AM  |  reply

    For Lent this year, instead of giving up something, I am adding something. I have made a list of 40 people/families and each day, I will write a note of love and encouragement and send the note to someone on the list. 🙂

  5. angela
    posted on Feb 20, 2015 at 3:44 PM  |  reply

    I love this!! I need to turn off the tv in the evenings as company and instead seek God and the Word as my company. I need to spend more time reading my bible and some of the people that you suggested (whom I also follow) posts, i need to get this single girl centered a bit more which will help with the 40 things that are constantly whiring around in my head.

  6. Dana
    posted on Feb 21, 2015 at 7:20 AM  |  reply

    Thank-you Annie for your post. It resonates with me – loved it – spoke to my heart ❤️ on this beautiful snowy morning.

  7. Jennifer
    posted on Feb 21, 2015 at 10:16 AM  |  reply

    This is actually the first year I’m giving something up for Lent. Choosing to forego coffee or chocolate or whatever other thing felt srlf-centered, legalistic, or empty, and my goal for Lent has been to use this time to further strengthen my relationship with God and to know Him better. I’ve followed Margaret Feinberg’s Lent reading plan the last 2 years ( link is here: http://margaretfeinberg.com/simple-method-will-revolutionize-way-read-gospels/?mc_cid=b653fc5f29&mc_eid=f38300fa80 ) and I’m doing that again this year, but I felt compelled to also “give up” my latte habit for Lent and donate the money that I save to Blood:Water. It feels like a sacrifice for me, which I’m embarrassed to actually say out loud, that will genuinely help someone else.

  8. Adrienne
    posted on Feb 23, 2015 at 5:24 AM  |  reply

    Oh Annie, I hear you!! Sometimes, in the quest to eat healthy (and hopefully lose some weight), I feel like I think so much about what to eat and not eat that it becomes an idol. I do feel like God has called me to take care of my body, but not at the expense of my spirit. I am in an in-depth bible study, but I’ve found that that doesn’t always mean I’m developing my relationship with Christ and spending time with Him. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and let’s enjoy Lent this year by spending time with the One that matters most! Hope you have a great day today 🙂

  9. posted on Feb 26, 2015 at 4:14 PM  |  reply

    […] Annie F. Downs’ post, I love Lent. […]

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