A year ago I googled Lent because I really had no idea what it was. I knew about fasting, I knew that this was the time of year when the double filet-o-fish could be found…I had an idea that I could “give something up” for Lent. I just had no idea what “Lent” was about or why I would participate.
I found a movement out of the UK called 40acts. A brief visit to their website convinced me that would be how I would “do lent”. A movement that encourages people to “do lent generously” led me to challenge myself to live a different kind of lifestyle. I had no idea at the time that the lifestyle training was preparing me for immediate changes that were approaching in my life. For these reasons Lent has became my favorite season of the year. I remember looking at my playmates with skepticism as I visited their church one Wednesday after school. They seemed happy to get ashes drawn on their foreheads…this was a foreign ritual to me, I was sure that this was a direct result of baptism by sprinkling as opposed to immersion.
Since my last blog in which I left my readers Blessings for a New Year I’ve been in a period of self-examination…which I now know is a key component to Lent. For the past 48 days I’ve been asking myself why I do the things that I do. What are my motivations?
I’ve abstained from blogging until this date. I’ve read intensely, books that I’ve pre-ordered, books that were recommended, blogs that show up in my news-feeds. I have searched and pounded out my words in my heart and mind instead of the keyboard. I’ve written status updates–and discarded them–composed tweets–and deleted them. I’ve weighed my words carefully and both enjoyed and languished in the taste of silence.
This past week I allowed myself to get distracted from the work that I set about. My trust was challenged three times over and every time it has led me back to grace and the cross and what truly matters.
I was encouraged today by someone that I was seeking to encourage. That brought me back to my choice to embark on the 40acts Lenten journey. If you haven’t looked into joining the movement I strongly encourage you to do so. A challenge from #40acts played a key role last year in finding my voice in writing. You never know when a simple act can move you in the direction that you need to be going.
If self-examination is something that you are wishing to try you can consider some Self-Examination Questions for Lent as posted by Marlena Graves.
Consider participating in Rethink Church’s photo a day challenge. Which requires more reflection than you might think.
Another good Lenten activity comes from one of my favorite tweeps, A.J. Swoboda. Read A Glorious Dark as you consider the good questions and the bad questions. Embrace the awkwardness within, the hope in the waiting, and proclaim the need for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I assure you this is “food glorious food” for my hungry brothers and sisters.
Feel free to join me and 50,000+ others for #40acts or spend some time with Swoboda. You were curious enough to read this, be ambitious enough to do something, I have a feeling you won’t regret it.
Lean in, listen, and wait. Sunday is coming.