Every year this season comes upon us and the invitation to reset, renew, and refocus commences.
Lent is the period of time beginning with Ash Wednesday where Christians worldwide are drawn to deep introspect. It is a period of 40 days where Christians intentional and deliberately focus on self while also giving up things, thought patterns, or tangible pleasures to draw closer to God. While many are called to a fast during this period, it is not mandatory but highly encouraged.
Today worldwide many will hear the words “ Remember You are Dust & to Dust You Will Return,” reminding us of our mortality and a sense of oneness with the ashes that will soon be placed on the forehead as a representation of the same. This solemn and sacred experience reminds all who partake, of the Creator who fashioned us out of the dirt of the earth and our gift of eternal life offered through Jesus Christ.
The ashes mark the visible symbolic sign that we are seeking after God in an intentional manner by publicly displaying our need for repentance and renewal with our Creator.
“I invite you, therefore, to observe a holy Lent:
by self examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self denial;
and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.
To make a right beginning of repentance, renewal, and refocus to God and the things that really matter.”
Fasting is not a quick fix to weight loss. It is not a new diet trend that has captured and peeked the minds of many, even though it appears to be trending all over social media in this fashion.
Fasting as it relates to the Christian faith is a period of time that Christians are invited to seek God in a deeper way through prayer, reading the Holy Scriptures, writing, worship, dancing, etc…by laying aside things that one may normally partake in to make intentional time to commune with God. While many abstain from certain types of food, sweets, and even mindless spending, fasting is so much more.
The discipline of fasting seeks to invite those who take the journey to connect with the Divine and refocus inwardly so that outwardly changes may reflect and take root in not only the heart, but in creation.
Here are just some examples:
Ideas for Inward and Personal Disciplines through Lent
Spend time in solitude waiting on the Lord each day.
Fast from (fill in the blank) to focus on prayer. Read a book of the bible for spiritual growth.
Begin to keep a journal of prayer concerns, questions, reading. Memorize a scripture once a week. Write on a 3 x 5 card
Make a list of people with whom I need to be reconciled. Pray for them and let Jesus guide me in my attitude toward them. Forgive someone who has hurt me.
Write a letter of affirmation once a week to a person who has touched my life.
Say “NO” to something that is a waste of money and time. Give up some unhealthy food or bad habit Find a way to live out the baptismal promise to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression” in the power God gives us by Share my plan with at least one other person and share with that person my experience of Lent during Holy Week.
However you feel called to join in the Lenten Journey this year, I pray that you reset, renew, & refocus, during this time and that God reveals God’s self to you in a new way!
I invite you to join me for the next 40 days here on this blog to journey together…
Blessings & Stay UPlifted!
Want a gist of what Lent is? Click the link brought to you by “Busted Halo.” Lent in 3 Minutes.