Posts filed under ‘Lent’

Lenten Ideas to Help Us Focus on and Become More Like Jesus

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan. And I wrote about the following: When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held.)

On Lent Eve (AKA Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras) I ate pancakes and decided my Lenten plan.  . . . .  And I wrote about the following: . . . . . When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for? (Question by Rachel Held Evans.)

I dabble in Lent. For the past 8 years I’ve done various things: given something up (social media, unnecessary spending), added something (usually a spiritual discipline), donated (money and items) to a good cause, and prayed more. I’m not of a liturgical bent, so I don’t really know what I am doing.

I never did well at fasting. I never spent extra time in confession. And come to think of it, many of my other attempts were also lame.

But I did these things to prepare myself for Easter. And while they were done imperfectly and probably incorrectly, I did achieve my goal. By the time Easter came around, I was a little more focused on the Redeemer of my soul, Jesus. My thoughts & actions were a little more like His.

Here is a cool video about Lent. It is only 1 minute 15 seconds. “Lent is not a list of Catholic Resolutions nor is it a Catholic Endurance Test. . . . It is a campaign for holiness. Instead of giving up chocolate, how about giving up sin.” OUCH!

This year I am keeping it simple. The idea generator in me wants to add a bunch of things to this list. But I typically over-estimate my available time, energy, and resources. So there are only 3 things on my list.

(1) I am giving up negativity in all forms: pessimism . . . uncalled for anger . . .  criticism . . . complaining . . . worry . . . gossip . . . impatience . . . swearing . . . mean talk . . . pride . . . discouragement . . . hyper independence . . .  and victim- and scarcity-thinking. . . . I want to be purposeful about my thoughts and about what comes out of my mouth.

I don’t normally have a problem with negativity, but I think these next 40 days will show how well I do or don’t do in this area.

(2) I am adding in Gratitude. I will write down one thing I am grateful for every day. And I want to be more purposeful abut looking for God’s presence in my life and in the world. I am sure this will give me many things to write on my gratitude list.

(3) I will read only about Jesus. I want my thoughts to be more focused on Him. Right now I have the following books in mind.

Here are some other Lent ideas. As I get the time and energy, I will pop into the following links and try one or two of their ideas.

40 Days of Prayer Doodling.  This is a visual, concrete,and different way to pray.

40 Days of Signs & Symbols.  Each day a different sign or symbol from Christian history or art and its meaning will be posted. Your challenge is to consider its meaning for you today OR post a picture of something you saw today with a similar meaning OR share a thought as you reflect on this symbol.

40 Ideas for Lent Rachel Held Evans has compiled a list of 40 ideas to help us in this season of reflection, penitence, and preparation. I especially like how she starts off the list with 5 questions. If nothing else, do the 5 questions.

A Lent Where #BlackLivesMatter: 10 Ideas for Black History Month and the White Church. Use the Lenten season to truly immerse yourself in Black history and the current reality of people of color… if a white congregation has truly observed Black History month, then it will have naturally found itself wading, likely deeper than ever before, into the themes of Lent, that season of self-examination and repentance.

Declutter 40 Bags. Focus on getting the unnecessary stuff out in one spot per day. Don’t go nuts and tackle five spots because you want to prove something. Don’t get all bummed out because you missed a day (or ten). Just focus on one. spot. per. day.

Do Lent Generously. 55,000+ people are doing 40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously.

An infographic list of 20 odd ideas for teens (or anyone really).

Lenten Wilderness Meditation Practice. Every day for 40 days, we invite you to spend 10-20 minutes OUTSIDE in prayer/meditation/just being (rain or shine)!

Photography. InstaLent Photo Challenge or this photo-a-day project.

Write 40 Encouraging Notes. 

Your Turn . . .

  • If you’re participating in Lent this year, what will it look like?
  • Have you tried any of the above ideas?
  • What would you add to the list?

Related Posts . . . Read about my 1st Ash Wednesday here.

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Lenten Reflection: Who Am I?

I am more than a shell. My being was made on purpose for a purpose by a good God.

Who am I? I am more than a shell. My being was made on purpose for a purpose by a good God.                                          My “shell” is predetermined. But I can change my interior world. And that is what I hope to do this Lent. I want to root out selfishness, moodiness, & blame. And I want to invite and pursue love, as defined in 1st Corinthians 13, to  mold me, change me, & perfect me.

My church background doesn’t include practicing Lent. But for the past 5 or 6 years I have been intrigued by this season. I adopt a practice or two as a way of preparing my heart, mind, and soul for Easter.

This year’s Lenten practices (2013) include giving something up and adding something into my life. Teri from Clever Title Here talks about this idea of adding in and taking away.  Reading her post confirmed the direction I was to go in this year.

Teri says, “If you do decide to go for a new discipline, I suggest letting something go as well. Sort of a two-sided coin–rather than filling up MORE, make a trade-off.” Go to this link to read the rest of the post, Lenten Discipline. She also lists some resources there, too.

I will do the following in 2013:

ONE. GIVE UP time on the internet like Facebook, blog hopping, and just-because research.

  • Do only what is needed for work or for Lent (like the photo challenge).
  • ADD IN . . . Read Jesus books, pray in colour, photo-a-day Lent challenge (maybe)

TWO. GIVE UP unnecessary spending.

  • This will mean preparing ahead by making meals at home, staying away from Amazon’s one click in order to buy books, and leaving my debit card at home. Those small impulse buys really add up.
  • ADD IN saving $ for a charity project. I haven’t decided which one yet. But I will donate a sack of groceries to the St John Vianney Food Bank.

And I will be doing some items from this resource: 40 Ideas for Keeping a Holy Lent

I’ve written very little about my journey. But I have written the following . . . Lent Quiz . . . .  Two Sentences About Lent . . . . Three Reasons to Celebrate Lent . . . . Ash Wednesday Quiz . . . . Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes a Youtube presentation by Busted Halo.com 

Your Turn . . . Tell us who you are.

NOTE: These shells are some of a handful that I brought back from my trip to New Zealand in March 2011.

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Raised from the Grave of Exile

During Lent I am reading/writing my way through writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With My Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg. Sometimes I will post my prayers.

This is my response to Ezekiel 37: 1-14 (Day 1)

Raised from the Grave of Exile

Our lives laid waste

  •      scattered bones in a valley
  •      disobedience defiled our birthright, Your plan

Disconnected from life, function, ourselves

Then . . .

Your Messenger Lived Scripture

  •      encased in the skin of love

Your truth powerfully erupts in our stony hearts

Raising us from the grave of exile

Spirit-power saturating the assembling frameworks of who we are to become

Baby-fresh skin erecting a boundary between what is inner and outer

Your Breath of Life connecting us to You

  • the source of All
  • the source of nourishment, unity, rest

Our lives becoming who You planned

  • functioning body of Christ

Holy now because of the Cross

Connected, eternally alive, knowing You are the sovereign God of All

Amen . . . so be it . . . gratitude dripping from my dry bones turning into purpose-filled flesh

Related Posts

NOTE: I have the good fortune to partner with Fawnda from Fireflies and Jellybeans for a giveaway of her tote pattern to a Fruitfulwords reader. (I was one of her pattern testers.)  Go to this link for the details. The deadline to enter is February 26, 2012.

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Pondering Success & the Drowned Voice

“I valued accomplishment.”

“I valued being special.”

“I valued results.”

“The driven part didn’t question or examine these values.”

“It took them as real, and believed it was following the carrot “success” [and the road “righteousness”] wholeheartedly. Didn’t everyone believe in success? I never asked, “Success at what cost?””

“A part of me is quiet.”

“It knows about simplicity, about commitment, and the joy of doing what I do well. That part is the artist, the child – it is receptive and has infinite courage.”

“But time and my busyness drowned the quiet voice.”

The above words are from Plain and Simple (page 5) by Sue Bender.

(more…)

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Procrastination: Paralyzed by the Need of a Responsible Choice

Choosing the wrong values  . . . too many of them have led me to an unfocused, frenzied life.

Too many choices . . . all lining themselves under the appropriate lists of accomplishment, special, and results.

Too many choices . . . more and more calling at my life’s door. Each beckoning me into its grip of more.

I’ve collected these choices (some very good and noble) and added them to my to-do’s. Now surrounded by piles of varying heights of accomplishment, special, and results. 

However, not all my choices are discriminate. Instead they are indiscriminate.

Indiscriminate: Having no particular pattern, purpose, organization, or structure.

These piles, my plies, have their own voice and their own demands, much like frisky kittens aloof, attacking, and affectionate, alternating, without seeming reason. And not knowing which to tend to first, I fret.

Paralyzed by the need of a responsible choice, I make none until forced.

Procrastination covers the piles like a blanket muffling their cries for attention.

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How Do You Grow In More Than One Area At A Time?

Even though I really want to set aside time for these three areas, I am still neglectful of slowing down long enough to significantly challenge my life, mind and heart.

Life has been very busy, but these are the times I really need to slow down for meditation, confession, deeper prayer and purposeful living/giving.

I wonder if I am expecting too much, too fast, too soon? Maybe it would be sufficient and even OK if I put aside only 10 minutes for one area.

If that’s all I concentrated on this Lent, it’s farther than I would have been if I’d kept up with my usual pace.

So tonight I will have a 10 minute prayer/Bible reading/listening time with God to see if I see this differently afterwards.

How do you all handle growing deeper in more than one area at a time?

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3 Reasons to Celebrate Lent

One. “We are people who, many times, have done wrong and need to repent; thus the need to make a good confession.”

Two. “We are people who many times get carried away with selfishness and so need to start thinking of others; thus the need for alms.”

Three. “We are people who often lose sight of purpose for which we were created by God. We need, therefore, to recover our sight. Thus the need for prayer.”

The need for confession . . . The need to give . . . The need for prayer . . . These are 3 reasons to participate in Lent.

(Hat tip to Ninure Sanders for these three reasons. Go here to read the full article.)

How’s it going with your confession, almsmgiving and praying?

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