lent-spiritual-preparationThis week, I am wrapping up one 40 day journey and beginning another.

Back in early January, as some of you may remember, I began a 40 day journey called Read, Pray, Move: A 40 Day Strengthening Journey for Mind, Soul and Body.  Today is Day 38.  Through the daily readings and other suggested lifestyle changes, I have established some daily and weekly routines, learned different ways to shop for and prepare food, lost a bit of weight, and gained confidence in my ability to establish healthier habits.   While I have not yet reached all my goals, I am definitely stronger and healthier physically and spiritually than I was when I started.  More importantly, this experience has given me a framework that makes sense to me in terms of making needed changes in my life.  The guidelines offered, within the context of a time limited commitment, gave me the opportunity to experiment with the choices I make about how I use my time and take care of myself. For me, the fact that this process was rooted in scripture, prayer and loving community was essential.  I need God and I need my people.  Period.

For many Christians around the world, today marks the beginning of another 40 day journey that we call Lent.  Beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter, this season is often set aside by followers of Jesus as a time of self examination and personal reflection.  What is working in my life and what is not?  In what ways am I living out the faith that I claim and it what ways do I continue to struggle?  As part of that process, many believers choose to give up or “fast” from something.  Others, instead of giving something up, choose to add a spiritual practice or discipline during this season.

Briefly, for now, here are my plans for Lent:

  • Participate in our church’s Lenten study called “Mess” through the readings, questions of examen, worship attendance and small group participation.
  • Give up or “fast” from Facebook during Lent in order to eliminate my primary tool of procrastination and distraction
  • Write like it is my job.
  • Declutter and “decrapify” my life by participating in 40 Bags in 40 Days 2015 challenge.

Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness before He began His earthly ministry.  The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the desert before they entered the Promised Land.  Noah and his family spent 40 days and nights on the ark before God stopped the rain.

What might happen for us if we gave God the next 40 days?  What are your plans for Lent?  Tell me in the comments below!