Skip to main content

Invitation to the Observance of a Lenten Discipline

I had a hard time deciding how to observe Lent this year. I'm still fairly new to Lent so I'm still trying to grasp the meaning of it. The past two times I observed it, I gave up something. But I wanted to do something different this year, to go deeper spiritually. I wanted to take these 40 days to reshape my life and to strengthen my relationship with God. Right before I went to my church's Ash Wednesday service, I read a post by A Sacred Journey and these words struck a chord with me:

So often Lent is associated with death and with fasting, but that’s not the whole story. It’s about the stripping of the false self in order to call forth the true self—the imago dei. It’s about surrendering the things that don’t give life in order to allow the things that do to flourish. It’s about clearing away the brush of winter and making space in our lives so we can tend to the new growth that comes with spring.
But as a sat in my pew, I still didn't know what my plan for Lent was. Through the words and the music of the beautiful Taize service, nothing was speaking to me. It wasn't until the pastor closed the service and also said that Lent means spring and that it was a time of action, that I decided what I was going to do.

I'm going to look at things in a different way. I'm setting my alarm for half an hour earlier and reading a devotional before I go to work. I'll end my day in the Examen tradition of lighting a candle and reflecting on the day's events. I'm going to take every opportunity to get something done around my house, even it that happens from my couch. I'm going to watch less TV and read more. I'm going to look at my life and give up the things that don't give life. This is especially on my mind with the passing of my coworker Vicky. There are no guarantees and I need to start appreciating this life that God has given me. Even if it doesn't look like I thought it would, it is a blessing.

When I celebrate Easter, I want to look back and see progress - to have cleared the clutter of my house and my mind so that I can concentrate on the things that matter. I want to feel a sense of accomplishment, not in that I survived 40 days without something but that I spent 40 days discovering what I have.

I will read these words from my Ash Wednesday service bulletin as my mantra:

Create in each of us a kneeling place,
where we may empty ourselves of our self-importance
and become vulnerable to your Word to us.
Help us to set our faces firmly
against friendly suggestions for safe, expedient lives,
and toward the risk of discipleship.
Loosen our grip on certainties that smother possibilities.
Forgive our resistance to change.
Let us pursue the adventure of losing our lives
in order to find them in you.
Guide us to follow the way of the cross
where despair is transformed by the promise of new life
and where we are compelled to intercede
for those who have more pain in their lives than hope.
Hold our feet to the fire of your Lenten grace,
so we can see our actions in the light of your costly love. Amen.

  I am so excited to see what my life is like on April 5.


Popular posts from this blog

Five Minute Friday: Regret

Regret - this is only a 5-minute Friday post so I will not try to list all of the things I regret. As Richard from Texas says in Eat Pray Love, I have oceans of regret. I have dog paddled so long in that ocean of regret that I have thought about just letting the water pull me under. But the thing I have discovered is that regret gets you nowhere unless you learn from it. And unless you have access to a time machine, regret gets you nowhere fast.

So when I thought about what I would make my word of the year, progress is what I chose. (Not writing a post on my word of the year is regret #26 on my list.) I would make lists and when I hadn't marked anything off of them, or the sufficient number of things off, I would chuck the list and give up. Lent is a perfect example. I do really well when I chose to give up something but if I make a resolution to pray more or like I did this year and tried to follow Ann Voskamp's Lent series and fail, I'd feel like a failure and I'm s…

31 Days: Story

I've chosen to do Five Minutes Free Writes as my 31 Days project but with a twist. I'm going to do a post on positivity using that word. I will tell you why on Day 4 when the word is why. Stay turned.

My church is highlighting a different member every month is the Sunday bulletin. It's a way for the members to find out more about each other and also for the students who join us from the nearby college campus to learn more about the church and who might serve as mentors to them. I was asked to tell my story on a recent Sunday. Have you ever written a bio of yourself? You'd think it would be easy but it's not. Am I serious or funny? How many details do I give? I worked on it for awhile and found myself  tempted to list the ways I fall short - the plans I haven't carried out, the goals I haven't achieved. I was listing all of the things I wasn't instead of telling the story of who I am.

This is what I came up with: Andrea was born and raised in Tulsa. She ha…

31 Days Five Minute Friday: Share

This is a photo of a hot dog in Paris, right across the street from Notre Dame. My sister and I shared it on our trip five years ago. I still dream of that hot dog and can't wait until I have the chance to return to Paris and have another one of those delicious, different than American hot dogs.

In this day of social media, we all concentrate on the share. It seems like it isn't a true experience if we don't share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Did we really do it if we don't post a photo of it? Was it really all that fun if we don't tell everyone about it?

But the upside of that is, we get to experience our friends' lives through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I have a friend who recently returned from a trip to Scotland with her daughter. She posted photos everyday on Facebook. Everything she saw looked amazing. It made me want to go there. I even posted on one of her photos that she needed to share her travel plans with us by publishing a travel…