Lent is upon us and what a world of difference it makes when I choose to view Lent as an opportunity as opposed to an obligation. I’ve always felt this pressure to “give something up” for Lent; chocolate, sweets, or some other “thing” from a long list of possibilities. It felt forced, almost like removing my make-up before I go to bed. It’s not something I have to do but somehow I feel guilty if I don’t, if that makes any sense. I certainly understand the connection of sacrifice. Jesus Christ, sacrificed and crucified on the cross for the sins of all. But nothing I could come up with as a sacrifice for the season felt like it was enough, I personally, wanted and needed something deeper. I always felt, deep in my heart, that Lent was supposed to be about much more than giving up my favorite (food, social media platform, activity, etc).
He willingly gave His life to pay the penalty for sin; my sin, your sin, and all the sins of the world. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
I have made some personal changes over the past few years where my own Lenten journey is concerned. I discovered two particular Lenten activities that I have grown to love. The most impactful for me is from Dynamic Catholic. They offer a free daily email program composed of videos, a focus, and a prayer that pushes me towards the heart of Jesus and towards a better me. Every time I have followed this program, I find it to be an incredible 40-day journey, a transformation towards becoming a better-version-of-myself. If you’d like more information on this journey, I have included the link at the bottom of my post.
The other activity I enjoy, is focused prayer that I discovered on Pinterest, called “praying in color”. Most of the examples I found were simply a printed, blank, 40-day calendar type page. It may be called praying in color, but of course, you can choose black and white if you prefer. There are forty spaces, (representing the 40 days before Easter, where Christians prepare themselves for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) one space for each day of Lent. Each day, during my devotion time, I take time to be still and hear what or who God is prompting me to pray for. When that person or situation comes to heart I either write it out or draw a small picture and add the date to remind me of what my prayer was for that particular day. The page can be as simple as a blank calendar printed offline or I am offering my blank “praying in color” creations for free (see below for details/instructions).
While Lent is a very wide-spread, celebrated season in most Christian churches, I have grown to make Lent my own personal season of growth and maturity in my walk with Christ. I heard a quote today during the ‘Best Lent Ever’ video. The quote is from Howard Thurman and it struck a chord with me.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.Howard Thurman
Lent has become a time to for me, to take what makes ME come alive; my God given gifts of creativity, my heart for God and His people, and sharing His Word. I know the world needs Jesus and I pray that others will know Jesus by His work through me, in my words and through my actions.
So it is now day three of Lent, but it’s not too late to start or add to your own journey. I pray your journey is blessed and you find yourself better for it at the end of 40 days!
Know that you are always in my heART! God bless, Kimberly