I’ve found REAL benefits from my Lenten activities, so I’m going to extend them.
Yep, you read that right. Extend my Lenten activities! Will you consider joining me?
Don’t worry-you can go ahead and eat the chocolate bunny. If you missed the memo from the past – Pope Francis encouraged us to look beyond giving up chocolate anyway.
To be honest, I had a hard time thinking about what I was going to do for Lent this year.
My church observes preparation for The Lord’s coming but doesn’t promote doing some ‘thing’ for Lent. I choose to follow this tradition anyway.
Nothing came to me, and the start of Lent came and went.
But I didn’t forget about it. I prayed.
It wasn’t until several days into Lent that I knew what I was going to do.
I gave my mind and body to God.
In case you are stunned or laughing, no, I’m not very good at it. In fact, I struggled and failed.
Every. Single. Day.
But, Romans 12:1 has been speaking to me. It reads, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him”. (NLT)
And so, every time I failed, I stopped and turned back to Jesus.
This means that I have turned back over and over.
And, I have been more focused on Jesus during this Lenten season than ever before.
I am humbled at how little, and imperfect my offering was…but yet it was accepted as true worship. And I do not want that to stop.
I’ve learned some amazing things in a short amount of time.
I’ve learned that my daily quiet time doesn’t have to be long or a big production. I had this picture in my mind of what I ‘should’ be doing during this time.
But, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I wanted to have this quiet, 20-30 minute meditative time with Christ. And I love this time when it rolls out this way!
Unfortunately, some mornings just won’t allow it.
Before this, I would skip it and start my day.
During Lent, I spent 3-5 minutes in a grateful prayer. I loved this time too! And I do not want that to stop.
I’ve also put more focus on what I ate and how I treated my body. Probably like you, I enjoy eating more than exercise…but I found the Holy Spirit’s power of self-discipline to be way stronger than any willpower tool I’ve ever tried.
When I gave my mind and body to Christ, I found it easier to make healthier choices. And I do not want that to stop.
I expected that giving my mind and body to Christ would be exhausting. Quite the opposite was true.
Like you, I have will-power. I know how to apply it, quite effectively actually, but it took a lot of energy.
Self-discipline does not take up my energy. When I gave my mind and body to the Lord, He provided the self-discipline. The energy came from Him.
I then had energy for my family.
I had the energy to overlook insults and offenses. I had the energy to forgive and move on…quickly.
And, because I was not exhausted, I was able to keep my eyes open, and see. I saw when people needed me to love them. And, because I had the energy to do it, I did it! And I do not want that to stop.
Yes, extending your Lenten activities may be a bit out of the norm, and may raise an eyebrow or two.
But I think the benefits are far worth it. I have never done another activity that strengthened my relationship with Christ, strengthened my mind and body and strengthened my relationship with others. It is worth it, even if you fail.
What was your Lenten activity? Will you consider extending it? How about giving your mind and body to God?
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