fasting from keeping things available.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I’m thinking about fasting from keeping things available.

I know that sounds odd. Many people would respond, “Oh, you mean that you are going to put things away!” And it would be clear that they are neat people.

But I don’t leave things out. I don’t intentionally try to be messy. I keep things available.

I may need that folder so I’ll put it in a pile. I will go running again tomorrow, so I may as well leave the pile on the floor of my study. And leave the jacket hanging from the doorknob so it can dry. I will use that mug again so I will leave it by the coffeemaker. I will use that screwdriver again, so I will leave it on the workbench. With the hammer and the nails and the pliers and the switchplate I took off.

Of course, it’s possible that I left the switchplate not because I wanted to keep it available but because I didn’t have time to decide where it needed to be saved so I have it for the future. If I ever need a switchplate again.

It’s easy, I suppose, to see why I could be considered messy, as the piles of availability and indecisiveness accumulate.

But there is good reason, in my head.

messWhich is why, for Lent, I’m considering fasting from keeping things available. It means offering to God my habit of inattention, of indecision, of keeping chaos. It means finishing cleaning up before moving to the next thing. It means a deep disruption in how I act.

Which means that I will have a hundred reminders a day to turn to God, to stop rushing, to trust Him for the thing after this.

Giving up a meal a week would be much easier.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

2 thoughts on “fasting from keeping things available.

  1. Had a cool discussion about this in our small group. Becky shared your post from yesterday, and we talked about how fasting doesn’t have to be about giving up food. One of our guys is a Catholic and talked about fasting of commission, actually adding something as a reminder of God’s presence. Basic principle: it’s not about the rules.

    Other basic principle: we’re all pretty comfortable. The notion of even a minor inconvenience or discipline to enhance our relationship with God isn’t part of what we do. Of course, it’s part of what we want others to do. *sigh*

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    1. But Rich, if other people would get things figured out, then I would be much better off and wouldn’t get so frustrated with their attitudes, or anxious about their randomness or have to tell others about their incompetence or…

      Wait.

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