Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the season of Lent. The Lenten season includes the 40 (actually 45) days prior to Easter. During this time, Christians around the world recalibrate and focus on cleaning up their act. And boy-howdy (Yes, I said, “boy-howdy”) we NEED to clean up our act! Recently, I’ve chosen to refer to myself as a follower of Jesus because there are just too many people calling themselves “Christians” who don’t resemble Christ as all. 1 John2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
What does it mean to live as Jesus did? Well, to me it means living and “re-presenting” Jesus Christ in our world today. In order to do that, I need to look back and assess where I’ve missed the mark and need to turn around and go a new direction. Self-assessment before God and turning around occurs during the time of Lent. As true Christians, (little Christs) we are not to alienate people from Jesus, we are to draw them near. We must not say one thing and do another. That is what the Pharisees did, and Jesus wasn’t impressed with them if you recall. The Gospel is full of admonitions and encouragement to not be of the world, even though we are in the world. Lent gives us an opportunity to live our Christian faith in better ways. It is—a time to recalibrate our Christian faith.
How am I recalibrating during Lent?
- I’m spending less time on social media. I confess that social media became an idol, and I needed to let it go. I got rid of my Instagram account, and no longer accept pressure from people to add this app or set up a Twitter feed or… or… well, you get my point.
- I’m decluttering my life and home. I don’t want or need things in my life. Because of that, I’m shopping less, and giving donations to local thrift stores or groups that can use the items directly (battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, etc.)
- My work days are “book-ended” (my word for it). I begin the day with prayer and God’s Word. I no longer pick up my phone first. I pick up my Bible and my journal first. This change is a work in progress, but I’m getting much better at it than when I started. I end the day with a cup of tea and conversation with the hubby, and we check in with each other and ask what God is speaking to us and what we are focusing on spiritually.
- There is so much to be thankful for and complaining less and sharing gratitude more helps remove the temptation to fall back into the dark days of 2020 or the muck of previous years.
- In between the “book-ends” of my days, I write, work at my part-time editing job, take part in my intentional communities, attend two online Bible studies, post encouraging words in my Facebook groups, pray, read and offer spiritual direction.
Life is good—even when it’s not because I’m turning around. I’m letting go of affiliations headed in the wrong direction and connecting with people and groups aligned with God’s true heart.
Lent is a time of letting go, of dropping the dross we carry. Lent begins the journey toward the cross, resurrection and—new life. How about you? What dross do you want God to remove during Lent? What idols do you want to let go of?
If you would like someone to walk beside you on your Lenten journey, visit us at Holy Listening.com We are on the journey together.