Reflections on Lent

Every year around mid-February, it’s the same question: What are you giving up for lent?

The tradition of making a sacrifice for Lent, that is giving up some luxury or something you enjoy, goes back to when Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days. Hence 40 days of sacrificing some luxury or pleasure. The goal of which is to use that sacrifice to help you pray and to bring about change.

One year, I gave up swearing…well, I tried to give up swearing. The results…maybe not so good. BUT, but the end of that particular Lenten Season, I was swearing much less, and carried that change forward with me. Other times, I tried giving up things like Facebook.

In the past, it has been not too difficult, and I have always enjoyed the boost to my mental health that resulted from the much needed break. In fact, I have taken breaks from social media outside of Lent as well. This year though, it was more difficult than it had been in the past.

Of course there are two major differences from past years 1) my family and I went through a major life transition during lent and 2) Facebook is the main source of, for lack of a better word, marketing, for my podcast.

For the first part, Facebook is a very easy way to keep friends and family updated on our transition.  Email works, but making one post on Facebook is so much easier than dozens of emails.  That’s actually a big reason I started this blog.  That way people can be updated at their leisure, and I can keep emails relevant to the topics at hand.

I’m not so conceited to think people want to hear what I have to say, but I know that friends and family do like to stay updated.  I will say, as an aside, I am REALLY grateful to those of you who have emailed.  Each and every email I received is very much appreciated.

As for the podcast, there are multiple ways to publicize or market or get the word out, but I have found Facebook to be very effective.  In fact, that’s really the only reason I am still on Facebook.  I made sure to limit my “fast” this year to personal use and still updated the podcast page, but even then, downloads fell off drastically during lent. 

Granted, number of downloads is not the focus and I don’t ever want it to be, but I did notice a significant drop when I started my fast. I’m not really sure why. I thought it might be the quality of episodes, but Pastor Tolani gave a phenomenal message in Episode 13.

Granted, Episode 14 was not very good. I won’t even link to it.  It is my least favorite and probably lowest quality episode. I may actually pull it down.  Still, that was only released a week ago and numbers were down well before then. I think it could be due to the lack of engagement on my personal page. 

I’d pop in on Sunday, drop a link to the blog and then disappear again until the following Sunday.  That’s not engagement. People don’t want to be spammed with links, they want to be engaged and when I am fasting from Facebook, I can’t do that.

So this year, with the major transition, struggle to keep people updated and trying to get the word out on my podcast all made this year’s fast a true sacrifice.  Isn’t that the point though? It’s supposed to be a sacrifice, one intended to help our prayer life and bring us closer to God. I think, even with the drop in downloads, it was worth it.

That being said, with Lent over and the Resurrection of Christ celebrated, I am back on Facebook.  Again, I’m not so arrogant as to think people need to hear what I have to say, but I do hope to keep people updated.  I will engage as much as I can, and hope that my podcast will pick up again soon.  I’m going to try something very different for the next episode. I hope that you all will enjoy it.