Posted on February 18, 2015
Today marks the first day of Lent; Ash Wednesday being the day we show outward repentance and eagerly spend the next 40 days preparing for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. If you are Christian no doubt you have marked this time by giving something up as a ritual to denote Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness. It’s a common practice I encourage every believer to engage in. Previously, I have given up shopping and processed sugar, which I no longer consume. Both experiences were spiritually rewarding among other things. This year, however, I have decided to approach Lent a bit differently. I’m still planning to give something up. The exercise of fasting reinforces an ability to deny ourselves (that is: to stand against our selfish desires). I would be kidding myself if I didn’t admit I could always use a bit more practice denying myself. But I want more from my experience than being able to say I let go of salty foods for two and a half months. In addition to my fast I am adding deep meditation.
I started meditating four years ago when I truly gave my life to Jesus. Because it was a chaotic time the silence was good for me. I still meditate to this day–10 mins here, five minutes there. The challenge is when you grow comfortable with something you can begin to take it for granted. As my boss frequently says, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Lately, meditation has become a balm to the busyness of my life. At best I use it to keep my brain from popping when I think about the demands of each day. But, I don’t want these moments of quiet to be wasted. There’s much to gain from meditation besides a calm mind. So, I’ve decided to start and end each day with Psalm 91 and 20 minutes of deep meditation (20+20=40, see what I did there?). Yesterday I wrote about the kind of woman I want to be. As part of developing into that woman there are things I want to experience of which includes being keenly in tuned with the Spirit of God. If I am to be led by Him I need to know him–deeply, intimately, wondrously.
While meditation has gotten a reputation of being New Age, there are many examples of Jesus meditating throughout His time on earth. It is not implicitly stated but I believe during His 40-day wilderness Jesus quieted Himself to sit at the feet of His father. I believe that as He shouldered the weight of the world and was tempted by Satan, meditation sustained Him. I believe that in those moments of quiet God reinforced this over and over again, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.”
I know that level of intimacy and affirmation only comes from being with God, quietly. That is a gift we too often take for granted. We are prided on being tactical Christians with our bible studies, ministry work and the like. I’m sure God is delighted in the well-meaning work we do. I also think He wants us to come to Him as a daily practice because He wants to assure us, “This is my son, my daughter with who I am well pleased.”
There doesn’t seem to be an official salutation for Lent, but over the next 40 days I pray the eyes of your hearts will be enlightened by the everlasting Love God has for you. I wish you so much light, love and joy. More than anything, I pray your spirit becomes so entwined with the Trinity you are bursting at the seams with peace.