Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and the official launch of Able Soul.
Why is Lent so vital to our spiritual life and growth? How come we often devalue the traditions of Christian faith?
Sometimes we get so caught up in the religious or legalistic aspects that we lose sight of the true intent and purpose of Christian disciplines. Because of past hurts and current distastes we have strayed from truly participating in generational traditions. Today even family traditions are not as common or faithfully practiced. I confess that I have been complacent and not fully cherished my Christian heritage.
Over the past few years my perspective has changed. I’ve come to recognize that these traditions passed down, are vital to my spiritual growth and connection.
Every year now I look forward to the Lenten journey. For me it’s a spiritual vacation. It’s a time where I consciously find a way to de-clutter my mind and heart and redirect my focus spiritually.
For myself, I don’t necessarily give something up as I learned from past experiences that my energy and thoughts are more often focused on the so-called sacrifice rather than Jesus’ story and His greater sacrifice. Although I do respect the principle of giving up something, I needed to discover another approach to honor the meaning behind the discipline, yet keeping the sacredness of the tradition.
A couple years ago, inspired by my pastor Kim, I wrote a prayer every week during Lent. That process encouraged me to be more thoughtful and attentive to God’s Spirit.
In honour of that tradition I am starting a blog, Able Soul, and will be sharing a prayer and reflection every week. The purpose of my blog really ties into Lent, creating a more intimate relationship with God, having less self-focus and developing Holy confidence.
One of my passions and callings is to testify to the beauty of relying on God. Because of my disability and passion for life, I have experienced reliance on God to be essential in sustaining a steadfast intimate relationship with the Lord, therefore having greater serenity and freedom.
By rediscovering the true divine significance of Lent and other disciplines of faith, I take pride in following my Christian traditions, knowing it’s a key to spiritual growth and intimacy and the Holy anointed legacy of my spiritual family.
What a beautiful season to launch such a blessed site. The season of Lent touches many people in many different ways and also bears a myriad of responses from Christians in various denominations.
I grew up in a Christian denomination that did not focus on ‘giving something up’ for Lent. So my experience in this practice is naive. I have wrestled with it for the past few years as it has grown in my awareness within the fellowship I currently attend. It’s not profiled as a necessity but is suggested.
However, in my character, to give something up for Lent would quickly become self-serving rather than God serving. Say, giving up a particular food fetish like ‘chocolate’ or ‘dairy’ or ‘meat’. If it’s a desire or craving then the focus is more on not doing it than focusing on God.
This year I’m running out of time trying to think what to do. Run more. Eat less. Work out. Somehow Lent is becoming more of a NY resolution list rather than a focus on God. I really want to express something deep and sincere to Him in this particular season in the global calendar I live in and am at a bit of a loss.
…go to bed earlier
…compliment my husband daily 🙂 🙂
Life is complex and these well-meaning habits quickly fall off the rails because I’m identifying them to be self serving. In each and every ideal I long to do something that “honours my Jesus every day” but steadfastly fall short because they soon become self obsessed.
So I ask you AbleSoul…. that as you break down the prayer for Lent into a simple ‘weekly’ prayer it will be such a blessing. I long to lean into loving Jesus in my journey “well”. To feel forgiven. To be restored…. again and again.
The season of Lent is not a brief package of time. It is a change. A renewal. It is ongoing.
So my hope for this Lenten season I long to lean into loving Him more richly and to forgive myself for failures past and future.
I appreciated your comment that:
“For myself, I don’t necessarily give something up as I learned from past experiences that my energy and thoughts are more often focused on the so-called sacrifice rather than Jesus’ story and His greater sacrifice.”
That helped articulate what I have experienced as well!