The first time I recall really noticing Ash Wednesday was several years ago when my husband had played for a service at a local church and came home with a smudge on his forehead. I still didn’t really understand it, I just knew it had something to do with the Lenten and Easter season and it involved repentance and sacrifice.
I was not raised in a church that observed Ash Wednesday or Lent, so I never really took the time to understand it. As we moved around and attended various churches I became a little more up to par on what it was all about, but still most protestant churches do not observe Ash Wednesday or Lent.
Over the years I have known people who gave up something for Lent and it always seemed hard. I mean who can really give up chocolate? So, to be honest I’ve never really taken the time to consider how observing Lent could impact my life. This year I have decided to embrace Lent and incorporate a few reminders of how I desperately need to cling to Jesus in all areas of my life. I have learned in much of life, especially when doing something that I want to have an impact on my life, that it is better for me to keep it simple.
For me Observing Lent is not about giving up something just to be giving up something. I have felt the tug of several convictions lately in some areas of my life and I have come to realize that they all work together to make up the whole of me. It’s not so much what I choose to give up, or even what disciplines I may add, but it is more about the awareness that I need more of Jesus. So, when I struggle to give up something I have become attached to, it will be a reminder that I need to rely on the Grace of Jesus. The hope is that it will remind me to turn to him.
Turning to him is the ultimate goal for my spiritual growth. So I have chosen a couple of food items that are not good for me, that I have become too attached to in recent months and I have also chosen a couple of attitude or character items that I have felt convicted about. Those will be my focus during this Season of Lent. In each case I have listed them in the form of substituting something good or positive in the place of the not so good. Additionally, in the spirit of reaching out to others I have a goal of reaching out to one person each week with an encouragement. This is my 1×6 goal.
I have made a little chart to encourage me in my endeavor.
What about you, are you in the habit of observing a Lenten sacrifice or discipline? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
I am linking up with Elisabeth Esther for a Gentle Lent.
Also, you may find these two articles helpful in learning more about Ash Wednesday and Lent.
Observing in Grace,