Life is busy and crowded, full of noise and activity. In this season of Lent, the 40 days leading to Easter, let’s join together to create space in our lives through self-examination, repentance, and renewal by choosing one or more disciplines to practice together. Some practices involve giving up; others involve taking something on. Through practicing Lent, we can walk with Jesus on His journey to the cross and to the celebration of His resurrection. Will you join in creating space in the busyness of life?
Read the Gospel of John
Simply read this Gospel as if you were reading a story with a beginning, middle, and end. In John’s distinctive account of Jesus’ life, he gives us a clear depiction of His relationship with His heavenly Father. By reading the entire Gospel of John, we experience the complete story. You may decide to read it in its entirety more than once during Lent.
Select a meal each week, a food item, or fast food in general, to give up. Use that time to focus on your relationship with God through reading Scripture or a devotional book, listening to music, singing praise to God, or praying for others. Practice “Open Arms” Hospitality During Lent, pray this prayer every day: “Lord, bring someone into my life today. Help me to recognize they are from you. Help me to open my arms to them.” Ask God to guide you in building a genuine friendship through “open arms” hospitable living. Listen carefully to how God guides you. You may want to journal your experience in opening your arms in a new way.
Serve In a New Way
When we serve, we can easily become dependent on the approval of others and end up with
a heart divided between pleasing God and pleasing people. Practicing hidden service can be a remedy for a divided heart. A good challenge is to do three things each week where you seek to serve in secret — just to bless others. You might volunteer at a local agency or ministry without posting anything on social media, or clean up the break room at work and leave people wondering who did it. You might pray for insight and guidance, and send an anonymous note of encouragement to three people each week. Learn to enjoy the approval of your God who sees what’s done in secret.
Loosen the Grip of Media in Your Life
Make more time available to your family, to yourself, and to God by reducing the amount of time you engage with media. The purpose in a media fast is to give your mind a breather from all the clutter, and to give the Holy Spirit room to renew your thinking. A media fast could involve options, from which you could choose to:
• Dedicate 24-48 hours each week where you fast from all media, including recreational internet use, video and phone games, radio, television, movies, etc.
• Refrain from using a specific social media site or source of entertainment of your choice for the duration of Lent.
Use Your Phone for Good
• Text someone every day for the 40 days of Lent if you can. Tell them you appreciate them and how they make your world a better place. Ask how you can pray for them. Then do it – pray for them.
• Set three different timers, spaced evenly throughout the day. At each one, stop and look back on everything that has happened since the last timer. Try to see God in each moment. Be mindful of His presence along the way, and thank Him.
Pull up a chair
Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual. Enjoy reading a short passage of Scripture. Spend some moments in silence and then express to God what’s on your heart.