Last year, on the very first day of Lent, I met my now-fiance’, face to face. And though I had no idea at the time, with the season of Lent so began a season dedicated to the beginning of our courtship. Although I had given up Facebook and Twitter, I really hadn’t felt confirmed in why The Lord called me to do that, other than I knew from experience that a social networking cleanse is always good for re-evaluating and refocusing, as well as refreshing to the soul, and mind. Looking back, Chris and I can so vividly see how God was so intentional about that season, closing doors of distraction around us for weeks to allow us to meet and build a relationship without status updates and spectators getting the low down on our every move. It’s good to share openly the joy of your love, to praise your mate in the presence of witnesses… but for that season, it was beautiful to spend that time with him, and just him.
It was such a special season, as Lent always is… but this one in particular we now hold dear to us, our Lent season of Love.
And here we are now, engaged to be married and spend our lives together. That season of quiet for us was just what we needed to begin this work of love in us. And of course, God knew that. He’s always at work. Even now.
If you’re considering Lent this year, we’re just days away from Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lent season, Wednesday, February 22nd. The Lent season will last 46 days through Saturday, April 7th. Typically, Sundays are “free days” and the fast is not observed on those days, but really that’s up to you and the Lord. Although this is a season originally honored by Catholics, I have seen Christians of all sorts and even nonChristians look to this season as a time of cleansing and renewal. The Lent season can be observed in a multitude of ways, including fasting, sacrifice, self-denial, soul searching, repentance, meditation and soaking in the sacrifice of Christ’s life, as well as simply directing intentional focus in an area that God has called us to give special attention to.
Need a little direction?
There’s a perfect little “Lent for Everyone” Devotion in the Bible app (YouVersion).
KT had some great thoughts on her first Lent… www.notthatgirl210.tumblr.com
And Leen sent me a great daily focus calendar, I’d be happy to share it with you – just email me.
Oh, and if you have prayer requests – I intend to do a ton of praying and I would love to pray for you. And I’m not just saying that – I will pray. I will have an open notebook of requests at my desk just to my right, all day every work day, and on my vanity on the weekends. I’ve got time to pray, and room in those pages for you.
That’s firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
So we know that Lent can be observed in a ton of ways… I encourage you to enjoy the freedom of doing whatever the Lord leads, and not be bound up by rules or expectations of others. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful guide. That’s actually… yeah, that’s His job.
HOWEVER… I encourage you to NOT think of it as just a fast, just a season of sacrifice. Giving up stuff is good. Replacing it with better stuff is better.
Check out Matthew 12:
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”
Careful careful Lent lovers, don’t be sweeping things clean without having a big, fat piece of fabulous furniture to put there! Furniture… something to take up space in us… something that we decorate our very souls and characters with in our innermost parts where The Father dwells.
This year, I’ve been thinking…
praying for God’s leading…
what to do what to do…
I’m already anticipating…
Shall I spend more time in prayer?
Let go of some kind of food that I love to eat?
Change my bedtime? My wake up time?
Embark on some new study or take on more solitude?
Yeah, all of that, God says. And then some.
Discipline has always been an area I’ve had plenty of room to grow in. So while I sacrifice some social networking, and of course the delicious things that sabotage my healthy goals, and probably some sleep that gets in the way of just sitting with the Lord a while – I know better than to just go through a legalistic-letting-go of stuff. I want to fill my time and desires with more worthy things like worship, and quiet solitude, meditation, thanksgiving, and prayer – the kind that doesn’t cease.
I’m ready to pick out some furniture. How about you?