Lent.

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!

Rev. Christal

Want a gist of what Lent is? Click the link brought to you by “Busted Halo.” Lent in 3 Minutes.

Don’t Stop Believing

While walking down the streets of Downtown Chicago I came across this sign at my feet: Believe. Sometimes it’s the small reminders that impact you in a big way.

B E L I E V E

Believe that you were created on purpose with a purpose.

Believe in the impact that you can make in the world.

Believe that God has not forgotten about you.

Believe in yourself.

So when you are going through your daily routine, look for the signs all around you. Signs that extend the invitation for you to believe, hope, and dream again. No matter what, don’t stop believing.

Stay Uplifted.

I Pray You Dance

Happy New Year! I can’t believe that 2019 is gone and we are here in 2020. It seems like it was just yesterday that it was the year 2000. Remember the panic and unknown certainty of entering the 2000’s. Guess what it’s 20 years later and we are still here! PTL.

There was a pretty popular song 20 years ago entitled “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. The premise was all about taking a chance and not wasting your time on wondering or settling, but to get up and in this instance dance.

As we shift and move in this new season, new decade, new year; my prayer is that we all get up and DANCE. Life is but a brief moment and chances and opportunities to change the world for the better is an ever extending invitation to dance.

No longer look or mimic the dance steps of someone else. Move, sway, and uplift others by your own unique God-given rhythmic beat. Smile, laugh it off when you miss the beat and get up and try again.

The world is waiting for you to add to the rhythm of the nations. The heartbeat of the earth that reminds us of an ever-lasting Creator God that is still creating, dancing, and breathing the NEW in each one of us.

So this year in the midst of all your planning and prepping to make it a better year, don’t forget to DANCE. Twirl, step, twerk if need be (lol), just don’t sit there and let life pass you by. So when you get the opportunity to try something new, to break out of your comfort zone, and maybe even prance outside the “norm” into the extraordinary, I Pray You Dance.

Stay Up-Lifted. 💃🏽💃🏽💃🏽

Rev. Christal 💃🏽

https://youtu.be/RV-Z1YwaOiw

Words Have Power

“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me.”

18th Century Adage

This childhood adage is one of the most ridiculous falsehoods some of us learned on the playground. Now I completely understand that the sentiment was to disregard the taunts and jeers of those trying to bring you down. However if you literally think about it, sticks and stones actually do break bones and words can for sure cause problems at times.

Words are powerful. Words carry weight. Words can heal. Words can hurt. Everyday we share thousands of words with other people. In this regard it is critical that we are careful with what we say and how we use our words. Words have meaning and can carry and tarry with folks.

Think of a time when someone said something to you that meant so much. Think of a time when someone said something to you that was extremely unpleasant. In either instance, words made an impact for either good or bad.

As we approach the last 42 days of 2019, let us remember the words that we use. Let us use our words to bring hope and not hurt. Let our words bring cheer and not criticism. Let our words heal the wounds of the sticks, stones, and words that have hindered us. Use your words wisely, words have power.

Stay Uplifted!