When you hear the word Lent, what image or experience comes to mind? Formal Ash Wednesday services and foreheads donned with the cross? Friday night fish frys? A season of somber reflection during the depths of Winter? Giving up chocolate or soda or Netflix (gasp!) for 40 days? Lent, I have no idea, Em!
For those (like me!) who didn’t grow up practicing the liturgical calendar, let me share the basics with you. Lent is a season in the liturgical calendar that includes 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. While Lent is not specifically mentioned in scripture, this season is modeled after Jesus’ 40 day fast in the dessert (Matthew 4:1-11).
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and continues right up until resurrection Sunday. The season is typically marked with fasting, giving or charitable acts, and reflection. While lent is a somber time of reflection and remembrance, it is most importantly an invitation to draw near to our Father.
I’ve always viewed this 40 day season with a mix of relief and curiosity. Relief that I could eat my favorite cadbury mini eggs without guilt and curiosity of what might happen if I too say no to something good for 40 days.
This year, I’ve put some extra thought into my lenten practices (thanks Sacred Ordinary Days!) and desire to enjoy God more instead of just doing things for him or rushing through my quiet time to check it off the list.
Lent is a call to renew a commitment grown dull, perhaps by a life more marked by routine than reflectionJoan Chittster
Whenever I would think or pray about lent, I kept coming back to viewing these 40 days as a retreat and set-apart time investing in my relationship with my heavenly Father. And you know what the number one thing stopping me is…TV (I think Instagram is a close 2nd though!).
I’ve traded the richness of his presence for shallow entertainment. Now, don’t get me wrong I love a good baking competition, historical mini-series, or laugh until you cry comedy. But, my go to during the past few months when I’m tired or lonely or had a long day has been to turn on the TV and just veg out. And friends, as soon as I realised that I knew that one of the hardest and best things I could do for this season is to turn off the TV.
A life that is grace-filled begins with a deep knowledge of who we are in Christ, His beloved children. For me during this lenten season, I want to anchor myself in the knowledge of WHOSE I am.
In true Emily fashion, I made list of 40ish different things that bring LIFE to my days.
Create: water color, knitting, baking…
Connect: family dinner, tea with a friend, bible study, or online class.
Worship: be still, worship music, listen to a sermon, prayer walk..
Rest: take a nap, long baths, hike outside, journal and read…
These are more than just “screen free activities”, but are the rhythms in my life that connect me to my Creator. I want to spend the next 40 days not just living life but to savor a long walk and see the sunset or sketch a little watercolor reflecting on that mornings Psalm so that I see Him more clearly.
My Lenten Practices
Ash Wednesday Bread Making Class by Edible Theology
A Lenten Quiet Day by Black Barn
No NETFLIX or TV (except Saturday dusk to Sunday dusk…my Sabbath)
P.M. Journal and reflection time (Currently reading this book! and it is bring LIFE to my soul!)
Select 2 organizations or individuals to bless during this season.