The season of Lent is upon us once again. This happens to be one of my favorite seasons as it's one that is usually filled with contemplation, reflection, hope, and tends to usher in new rhythms. I also love the fact that the season of Lent starts during the later stages of winter, when most of us have grown weary of the cold, seemingly colorless, throes of the "dead" season, and ends in the early stages of spring, when life and color return as a new season of hope and light is ushered in.
I did not grow up participating in, or even knowing about, Lent. I didn't start observing Lent until about six years ago. For the first few seasons, I'd follow the usual procedure and give something up, but then I decided that it wasn't really bringing me closer to God or serving any purpose in that area, so instead, I decided to start adding habits and rhythms. I've done this for the last few years now and find it much more beneficial to my spiritual life. I plan to do the same for this season.
I’ve decided to work on honing the practice of Sabbath for the Lenten season. I’ve never really “Sabbathed” before, and I recognize that God calls us to do so for a good reason. We all need a day of rest and worship for our own good. I have friends who intentionally practice Sabbath by setting a day out of each week aside for rest, relaxation, and worship. While there is debate on which day should be our Sabbath (most are of the opinion that it should be either Sunday or Saturday), I honestly think that whichever day that you decide on is perfectly fine as long as it works best for you and allows you to Sabbath well. I’ve chosen mine to be Sunday simply because it is the day that works best for me in this current season of life.
A few ways I plan to help myself Sabbath well is to take the day off from social media and try to cut down on technology use in general, spend extra time in my Bible (I read my Bible every day as it is), and just rest my soul. I also have a book I plan to read during the season, John Mark Comer's Garden City, which tackles the subject of Sabbath, along with my daily Bible reading plan. Another habit I want to hone and get better about is that of prayer. I want to be more deliberate and mindful in my approach to prayer. I’m currently using the book Prayers that Avail Much by Germaine Copeland to help me enrich my prayer life and will continue to do so throughout the season. My goal is to be more disciplined about going to God morning and night in order to start and end my days well.
Along with placing my focus on Sabbath and prayer, I also plan to be intentional in taking each Wednesday and making it a “quiet day”. I recently realized that I have been filling my days with noise in order to drown out internal issues and to run away from things I believe God is trying to tell me out of fear that I won’t like it. So I believe that on top of taking a Sabbath day, it would also be beneficial to me to take a day in the middle of the week and deliberately be quieter and still, to actively pursue less noise. For me, that means not listening to podcasts, music, TV, etc.. I want to make myself live in the silence for a bit. That doesn’t mean I won’t go about my usual routine and work, I will, just without a lot of noise. I hope that this will be doubly beneficial, because not only will it make me sit in the quiet and maybe help me hear God more clearly, but it’ll also benefit my overloaded brain (I suffer from migraines and sensory overload).
Less noise, more quiet is the general motto for this Lenten season.
I hope you all have a blessed season of Lent, and hey, let me know what you all are doing to observe this beautiful season!
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She also acts as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.