Letting Go and Letting God During Lent
I will admit that Lent is something that I've only recently in the last decade of my life took seriously. I wouldn't call myself super religious, but I would call myself very loving and compassionate person towards humanity. I am a Christian woman, who recently was re-baptized in the Atlantic Ocean in December, but more importantly, I'm a big fan of Jesus' compassionate example and how God made sure we all have a way to find true peace and love in this crazy thing called life.
Maybe it's because I'm in my 50's and feel wiser, maybe it's because I've just recently been moved by God's hands of pure mercy and comfort, who knows? I can just feel something shifting inside of me on that spiritual level inside of me and I thankfully welcome it. It's what I'm aware of that is moving through me at the moment in my spiritual walk.
If I'm completely transparent, I must confess (repentance is what Lent is all about right?), my Lent 'follow along' was at first a pure experiment to see what God could or would do in my life if I was obedient to losing my own identity and become His hands and feet for something greater. Kind of a half agreement. Give and take. Let's see.
So I was up for fasting, for picking something to 'give up' in order to 'receive'. A trial and error thing. After a few years of committing, I started to understand why so many do it and also, how powerful it is in our 'always connected' to whatever we want in our modern society. It gave me this beautiful space to connect on a daily basis to something bigger than myself here on earth, to bring me back into alignment with my relationship with God and sit in my own uncomfortableness while considering my life from a perspective I had not considered.
In that reflection, I began to pay attention to my past influences, what shaped what I think and believe today? If I may, allow me for a moment to go back in my history a minute to give some basis for this story.
You see, I was raised in a small town in Arkansas in a big, active Southern Baptist church where the religious life was strictly observed (as best we could as mere humans). It paired well with just living as good and honest people which is what I believe my parents hoped to raise in us. But sometimes we attended a completely African American church, which I loved, and remember thinking "Geez, the way they worship, I'm pretty sure Jesus is coming today!" So my upbringing was not at all like the traditional Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Angelican or Eastern Orthodox churches in which observe Lent around the world. I did not receive any ashes on my forehead or understand what that was until I grew up. (Caveat: I don't profess to know all the religions and their particular doctrines perfectly).
But I am aware that Ash Wednesday and Lent is about committing to abstaining or limiting a favorite activity for a season. That season is now until Easter. 40 days folks. I think I can do that.
During that time, practitioners (you + me + others) devote our time and energy we used to spend on that 'thing we're giving up' and instead, focus on other lofty things like prayer, introspection, forgiveness, repentance, study, devotion, observation and anything really that expands your deep belief and faith journey. You pick, because you know.
I have found the Christian devotionals on YouVersion App are very helpful and convenient for the tech savvy and on the go crowd (like most of us). I chose the plan '40 days Journeying with Jesus by Susan Narjala' this year to walk me through Lent to Easter, but there are a lot to choose from in this resource. (It's my dream to write a plan someday with them :). And if you don't want to do a Christian app, maybe commit to a secular spiritual plan on OM Daily for a daily walk for inspiration and guidance. We can all let go and let God, which to me, God is letting LOVE shine through you so others will see that clearly exuding from your life. Something that brings more love, peace and hope everywhere, always.
*Next blog, I'm going to begin talking about Mary, one of the most recognized women in Bible scriptures. Even if you aren't a Christian or believer, here's what I can tell you about the importance of her life's story, she was always a stellar example of understanding what Lent really meant and is all about. I found her amazing story inspirational and look forward to sharing more.
Until next time, let go and let God, be that spark of light and love out there because we need what you have now more than ever. See you out there.
With heartfelt love and glory in all good things,
Photo Credit: Widow Empowerment Event 2018, Orlando, FL
Carol Linsenmayer Photography.