Let Go, Lean In, and Love Often

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the entry into the season of Lent.  

As we enter Lent we come humble, aware, and confessing.  We stand knowing that we fall short.  We kneel confessing that we cannot do it on our own.  We fall flat on our face blatantly aware of our brokenness -- brokenness in our relationship with God, brokenness in our relationship with one another, brokenness in our relationship with creation, and even brokenness within our self.  We cover ourselves with ashes crying out in repentance, accepting where we are, allowing God's light to shine deep within.  And then we choose to keep turning away from sin and toward abundant life.  We come willfully surrendering, willfully changing our mind -- choosing Christ.  We recognize in this all about me culture it is not in actuality about me.  We choose to follow after Christ, pouring out our lives for the sake of others.

As we cross over this threshold into this holy season of Lent, three practices come to mind.

First, we let go -- let go of that which hinders our relationship with God.  Simplify.  During this 40 days, from what do you need to fast?  From what do you need to abstain?  What is excessive?  What is unnecessary?  How can you make more space for God and be intentionally sacrificial?  Fasting is not about giving up all the foods you loathe.  For example, Lent is not my opportunity to give up onions and bell peppers or my husband's opportunity to give up broccoli.  Fasting is not about doing it as a duty, nor is it so that you can brag or lament about it with your friends.  Letting go is the intentional practice of making space.  Consider simplifying what you eat.  Historically, the season of Lent has been marked by letting go of meat, milk, eggs, sugar, and rich foods.  It has been about being very intentional about taking care of one's body and remembering that it truly is a temple of the Holy Spirit, a place where God chooses to dwell.  So scrub your face, smile, and let go of all those things that are unhealthy for you physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.    

Then, lean in toward God.  Take on less things and be more intentional in cultivating the spiritual disciplines and practices.  Consider Lent a time of retreat.  Make time to rest.  Be okay with times of silence.  And embrace trying out different spiritual disciplines.  How can you deepen your prayer life?  What spiritual disciplines can you practice to intentionally draw closer to God.  To the bottom of this devotional I have attached a brochure that I give out, sometimes, when I preach/speak at various places.  It is entitled Creative Ways for Connecting With God.*  It is a good way to dip your toe in to the waters of creative spiritual disciplines.  You may find there things that quench your thirst, awaken your senses, and revice your soul. 

FInally, love often.  During this season of Lent and beyond we remember that because God first loved us we are called to love one another . . . love one another in that incarnational, embodied way we have in Christ.  We are to approach people with compassion and not condemnation, love and not judgment.  Historically, the season of Lent was marked by almsgiving.  Modern day almsgiving is about embodying caring for the least of these.  How will you through your time and money care for the least of these?  Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen, at a food pantry or coat closet, or in any other justice oriented ministry to which you are drawn or are passionate about.  Consider spending less on frivolous things so that you can donate more to charities.  One less coffee out, one less meal out, and cutting out meat once a week are all ways to live more simply so others might simply live.  

This Lenten season let go, lean in, and love often.  

Gracious and Loving God,

     Just by showing up, just by being born, just by becoming human, you began to reconcile us to Yourself.  The very act of the incarnation was atoning in and of itself.  In, You, Jesus we experienced forgiveness of sins, immeasurable love, and abundant life.  Even with God in our midst we react out of our brokenness, hurting ourselves, wounding others, rending our relationship with you, and destroying creation.  Yet You do not leave us to ourselves.  You come restoring our relationships, reviving our souls, renewing our ways.  We are made in Your image.  You help clear away the corruption and corrosion, lovingly cleaning us and re-creating us.  This Lenten season and beyond, help us to let go of those things that take away from our mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional well being.  Aid us in experiencing Your ever abiding presence through the practices of prayer and reading scripture.  Lean in to us as we endeavor to lean in to You.  And may we lavish on others the extravagant love You shower upon us.  Be with us each step of the way.  We pray all this trusting in Your Grace.  Amen.   


*If you wish to use this pamphlet in its entirety or content from it in your church/ministry setting, feel free, just please give credit to Grace Works Studio and consider making a donation to the ministry. 

Creative Ways for Connecting With God
Creative Ways for Connecting With God-Page 2


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