I’ve prayed for days about what to give up for Lent.

In the past I’ve abstained from speeding, sweets, and social media. This year I thought about giving up coffee, but I didn’t want to. Battling migraines the past two months has left me feeling pretty sorry for myself. I also have many food sensitivities so forgoing what feels like one acceptable indulgence? I couldn’t.

On the cover of my book, Believe Deeper, is a picture of an iceberg. It represents the myriad of thoughts that go on under, what I call, “the waterline of awareness.” As I downed my mug of French roast this morning, I was suddenly aware of the thoughts lurking in the dark recesses of my brain:

“Jesus fasted from food and water for forty days and DIED for you.

“You can’t give up coffee?”

“Your selfish…and weak.”

Those subtle mean, condemning thoughts filled me with guilt and shame. My coffee suddenly didn’t taste as good. I started spiraling, until suddenly I had a Spirit-inspired thought.

If my family did something for me because they felt guilty rather than because they wanted to, it would negate their offering altogether. Lent is a time to focus on the depth of Christ’s love for us, made manifest on the cross. It’s an opportunity to remember I am selfish and weak and that’s why God sent Jesus to rescue and make me new. Lent isn’t about dreading giving up something to prove my commitment.

It’s a time to remember what His love and my forgiveness cost Him. And based on those condemning lies I was listening to, I need to be reminded.

In that moment I realized that what would help me focus on Jesus more would be spending more time with Him. Every day at noon I’m going to spend some time connecting with Him how he’s wired me; by journaling, drawing, and worshipping. No agenda or meaningless rituals. Simply being present with the One who loves me most,

Whether I drink coffee or not.