Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday- the beginning of Lent

Spring is just around the corner...
I received an email from my mentor Shelley today where she described Lent beautifully.  She wrote, 
"It is the beginning of a time to disconnect ourselves from what distracts and what holds us in its grip, that which causes us to repeatedly do what we wish we wouldn’t. Or it can be a time that creates a sacred space for us to do what we often wish we would in following Christ. 

Every year, this disconnecting from what distracts is a challenge I try to give myself, one year it was from reading the news (I'm kind of a junkie and then after I'm caught up on current events, I feel awful about the world we live in and fearful for everyone's future get it), another year it was Facebook, last year I tried giving up sweets- which lasted about 48 hours.  Sometimes I can do it, other years not so much.  One year I tried giving up caffeine AND sugar and I will just tell you that was miserable for everyone, so I have found it is better to take things a little bit slow.  But on that point, sometimes I have been known to take things too slowly and never actually start!  So I've been trying to figure out how to disconnect this year, and here I am, over half way through the first day without a plan.  But....

As I've been pondering this topic the past week or so, I continue to feel drawn toward the perspective of "adding in" vs. "taking away."  By that, I mean adding into and protecting a sacred space to press into Christ and into my God-given identity by creating space to become more of who He is calling me to be. He is my true source of life, and I want to focus on living my life (all the time for that matter, but especially during this season) in a way that intentionally connects me deeper to Him. 

So this year Lent will look different for me...I'm going to seek him with a wide open heart and new eyes through 

1. a 40 day photography project - an opportunity to pursue Christ through my lens

2. a 40 day writing challenge- an opportunity to pursue Christ through intentional time of writing

3. a 40 day intentional prayer challenge- an opportunity to sit at His feet and listen for His voice

4. a 40 day book reading challenge (not speed reading, but just making time to slow down and read good books!) - an opportunity to step away from all of the media and noise that influences my life and slow down the pace of life a bit

I'm expectantly excited to be surprised by all He has for me along the path these next 40 days. 

“Lent is an opportunity, not a requirement. It is meant to be the Church’s spring time. A time when, out of the darkness of sin’s winter, a repentant, empowered people emerges. Lent is a season in which we ought to be surprised by joy. Our self-sacrifices serve no purpose unless, by laying them aside this or that desire (appetite), we are able to focus on our hearts deepest longing, Unity with Christ.” – adapted from Bread and Wine.

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