Are you doing something for yourself in Lent? I did not grow up observing Lenten practices, but over the years I’ve found it valuable to undertake some kind of daily discipline. Giving up coffee or ice cream have been ways to remind myself that God is bigger than my daily indulgences! But you don’t have to give something up. During a difficult year, I made it my Lenten practice to do something nice for myself every day.
Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Add some additional daily prayer or spiritual reading. Sacred Space offers a daily prayer/reflection guide. Prayers are available in a number of languages, including Spanish. Another option is The Daily Office, which you can read online or sign up for e-mails. (It also has a Facebook group).
2. Do something small to help yourself be healthier physically or emotionally. Take a 10-minute walk, read something funny, spend five minutes talking with your spouse about something that is not church-related.
My colleague and friend Rev. Jeff Savage has found Lent to be a time to “lie fallow, so that you are preparing for new life, new growth.” He tries to find something to do or to give up that fosters that experience. One year his church, First Baptist Church of Springfield, Oregon, let their congregational business “lie fallow” through Lent. “We had no committee meetings. All we did was worship and Bible study, but no business,” Jeff says. This was one of his most meaningful experiences of Lent.
May this season of Lent be not simply a time of frantic preparation for Easter, or even a time to encourage others to take part in Lenten activities, but also a time of renewal for you personally.