For each Lenten season I try to come up with a practice or activity that will awaken my consciousness and remind me to be mindful of the Holy Spirit. One year I decided to make an effort to turn my palms right side up and unclench my hands. I did this daily to demonstrate to God that I was present and available, centred on him and open to his will.
To the average person this might be a simple task that probably takes little thought and minimal concentration. In my case, since I have Cerebral Palsy, I actually need to concentrate to get my hands right side up and wait for my fingers to unbend. This task could take a few tries but eventually my brain sends the message to the right body part.
Unclenching my hands during Lent had a profound effect on me. I felt vulnerable, somewhat exposed and less comfortable in my body movements. It was uncomfortable in the moment but also so freeing. In a way I was letting go of my desire to be in control – to be independent. This allowed God to be present and more of a partner.
The second profound revelation for me was how reserved my spirit had become. Living on a tight budget has made me frugal with spending. I look for ways to save, find the cheapest price or wait for a sale. I’m in the mindset of being cautious, deciding what I need and what can wait. From a financial perspective this is necessary and wise. However through my Lenten practice I realized my mindset of frugality had transcended in other areas of my life especially my faith.
In the beginning I was so distraught by this realization but also so appreciative of the awakening and the opportunity to change and redirect my mindset. Even though I still need to be frugal financially, my faith and love for God is free and unrestricted.
I will continue to unclench my hands during Lent and even afterwards not expecting anything but allowing God the opportunity to take my hands anytime he wishes to.
…“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9,10
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank you for the practice of Lent, a tradition that I savour every year. For me it’s like an escape from the daily grind of life – a time to be less self-absorbed and put your Holy Spirit more in the driver’s seat. As you are aware every year I think of a practice that will help me be more open and conscientious of listening to your voice. I thank you for accepting my small gesture and masterfully revealing your wisdom and insight in ways that are so impactful to my mind and heart. May I keep reminding myself that you are my co-pilot in life and whenever you’re in the driver’s seat allow me to be as gracious as you are. Although the journey may be turbulent at times, you oh Lord, take me to the required destination always arriving at the right time.