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What are you doing for Lent?

February 23, 2015

DSC02929 You may have friends say “What are you giving up for Lent?”  There are restaurants – even fast food ones – that have a fish options for Roman Catholics.  As a United Methodist I have done special things for Lent.  What I have done and am still doing is giving up things that take and waste my time and pull my focus away from my spiritual growth.

This year I am following the United Methodist 2015 Lent Photo-a-day from @UMrethinkchurch or you can find things at rethinkchurch.org/lent.   If you are on Pinterest you can find all the photos that are for that day and theme.  This is my Himalayan Sea Salt candle. I used this image for the theme “alone” on day 3.  I used it because of what I know about the properties of this candle.   Here is a quote from the Internet: Himalayan Salt Lamps help reduce allergens, moisture, pollutants, and electromagnetic frequencies, and create potentially soothing effects inside your home.

I think that is what Lent is about – reducing harmful things in my spiritual life and getting spiritually healthy.  For me Lent is a time to take time – giving up activities that pull my focus from God so that I can take time to be with God more.  It is a time to get the things I am allergic to out of my spiritual system. In the medical world allergies accumulate until they reach a tipping point (either fast or slow) that will make you sick or cause death.  There are things in my spiritual world that build up and are dangerous to a healthy happy life.  It is a time to reduce the amount of pollutants in my spiritual life.  Through prayer and reading the Bible and other books you have put off during the year, you can bring Shalom peace in your life and in the lives you touch.

Lent is a time a reflection.  Lent is a time to look in the spiritual mirror of who you are and see what needs to go and what can be kept.  I hope you will take time this Lent to make a difference in your life.  It can help to have a spiritual friend to walk with you because really reflecting on one’s life is not all warm and fuzzy feelings.  There can be pain at looking at one’s life and making a decision to remove things.  There can be pain in healing – remember you need to wash out a wound to get the dirt out and that can hurt.  It is however an important step in the healing process.

People are at different places in their lives.  Some might want to go on a day or weekend retreat.  Some might just have time for 20 – 30 minutes refocused during each day.  People say that an activity that is repeated for 21 days in a row can become a habit.  Make 1 or more new habits that help move you toward being spiritually whole and well.

I found this list a long time ago and it has resurfaced again in other places.  It is a starting point to look and see how to readjust one’s life toward wholeness.  Take one line and meditate on it for a week.  Bite off what you can chew and digest so that you don’t get “sick” but move toward health.

Fast From-Feast On

  • Fast from judging others; Feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
  • Fast from emphasis on differences; Feast on the unity of life.
  • Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
  • Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
  • Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
  • Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
  • Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
  • Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
  • Fast from worry; Feast on divine order.
  • Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
  • Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.
  • Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.
  • Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
  • Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
  • Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.
  • Fast from personal anxiety; Feast on eternal truth.
  • Fast from discouragements; Feast on hope.
  • Fast from facts that depress; Feast on verities that uplift.
  • Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.
  • Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.
  • Fast from shadows of sorrow; Feast on the sunlight of serenity.
  • Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.
  • Fast from problems that overwhelm; Feast on prayer that [strengthens].

—William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994.)

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