I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
Here are my 10 reasons for joy during Lent. I hope some will connect with you:
- A period to reflect on my health and wellness and to commit for 40 days to a new spiritual and health practice. I “take on” one new health behavior that may become a lifestyle change. Hopefully!
- The opportunity to allow my body to rest by giving up sugar, fried foods, or other habits that I feel need to be let go—at least temporarily!
- I am sharing with Christians across the world in this centuries-old spiritual practice—the discipline and spiritual growth of Lent.
- When I “repent” (turn away from) behaviors or thoughts that take me away from God’s grace, I feel more fully the joy of God’s mercy and forgiveness. I practice forgiving myself.
- I dedicate more time for a deeper relationship with God through a daily cleansing prayer (Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10), fasting (See the Daniel Fast meditations at the end of this post), volunteering to teach a Bible study, or caring for my body as the temple of God (Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- I feel as if I am sharing in the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before he began his ministry, which strengthened his purpose and helps me strengthen mine, too. (Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7)
- Lent is actually 46 days and if I were observing a fast from food, then each Sunday I would be allowed to eat whatever I want! (Not fasting from food this year, but from negative thinking 🙁 Will continue to fast from that daily)
We know the end of the story: that at the end of every season of Lent (of self-denial, wilderness, abstinence) there is Easter (new life, rebirth, abundance, rejoicing). When I am in a season of wilderness or struggle, I know that God is present and that season will give way to a resurrection (of ideas, identity, relationships) and rejoicing.
- Observing Lent allows me to dedicate 40 days to reflect on my relationship with God, others, and myself to gain insights for new ways of living with more joy and more healthy and well.
- I’ve observed Lent with intentional spiritual practices for 15 years. I am not the same after 40 days of a closer walk with God! Whatever service, behaviors, ministries, or wellness lifestyle I “take on” for Lent, once the 40 days are over, I have a testimony and a renewed purpose.
Our Goals for Lent Updates:
Walking Update: I keep missing my 5 a.m. walks most days. Before setting this goal, I recall throwing pity parties and shame trips about my lack of exercise follow-through and failure. Now I find opportunities in my day to pick myself up and move forward. Being less rushed and more intentional makes a big difference. I can’t think of a day this past week that I just forgot that my walk outdoors with God was an important part of my agenda and a commitment and divine relationship opportunity worth my time and effort.
Meditation, Scripture, & Journaling: I have released my need to sit in my “sacred space” in my special chair, with candle & Rachmaninoff playing. Now I will pick up my Bible and journal to write wherever. I am still missing a few days this week, but I am grateful when I look in my journal and see I’m missing fewer days. I’m trying not to be legalistic but to affirm what I do get done.