Looking for Ashes

imageI’m taking part in the weekly Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by  Two Writing Teachers, where teachers write and share each Tuesday. Join in yourself or head over to check out what’s happening with other slicers. If you’re taking part in the SOL, leave a link to your post. I’d love to read it.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent.  These forty days that lead up to Easter are for me a time to prepare and reflect.  As Ash Wednesday approached this year, I couldn’t decide how I wanted to mark my observance.

In years past, I have followed the traditional observance of giving something up.  One year I gave up chocolate.  Another year I gave up playing solitaire games on the computer.  I even tried fasting on Fridays each year.  Each of those years I learned something from denying myself a simple pleasure.  Each time I reached for a piece of chocolate or sat down in front of the computer, I remembered both my promise to God and God’s promise to me.

For the past few years our pastor has emphasized that Lent is not just about giving something up in order to suffer.  Instead it is about letting go of something that controls or consumes us in order to make more room for God in our lives.  What is there in my life right now that I need to let go of in order to let more of God in?

There are plenty of options.  Instead of spending time on Facebook, I could spend time in prayer.  Instead of reading novels, I could read more in my Bible.  But the change I am feeling most in need of is internal rather than external.

Too many times I get caught up in what is going wrong rather than being grateful for all the gifts I have in my life.  So instead of spending time complaining, I will spend time giving thanks.  Each time my mind (or my voice) wants to focus on the negative, I will look for the good in that moment.  I will also make an effort to share all the blessings I notice, whether that is looking for opportunities to thank or compliment a challenging student or difficult person I encounter.

18 Comments on Looking for Ashes

  1. gill94
    March 5, 2014 at 10:50 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing. This year I’m also thinking about the many blessings, and will “take on” something in addition to taking off – like I deactivated my Facebook. I want to take on more Bible reading, Times in devotions with my family, and some aspect of service to others. Your thoughts were inspiring.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 6, 2014 at 7:42 am (8 years ago)

      I know I could gain a lot of time for prayer and reflection if I gave up Facebook.

      Reply
  2. Sarah Parker
    March 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm (8 years ago)

    I just returned from our Ash Wednesday service at church. I also love the idea of practicing something to be better, like gratitude! Thanks for the focus.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 6, 2014 at 7:41 am (8 years ago)

      We were sick in my house so we missed our church service, but writing this helped me to focus on this day.

      Reply
  3. Kam Plasek
    March 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm (8 years ago)

    This was a very special and poignant post for me. My desire to listen to God is so often overshadowed and drowned out by the cacophony of the world. I love your plan to find the good in situations, looking for how God can be working through them to reach you or another. I shall keep this in the back of my mind throughout my days. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 6, 2014 at 7:40 am (8 years ago)

      I find it so hard to be still and to listen. My days get busy and crowded too many times.

      Reply
  4. Katy Collins
    March 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm (8 years ago)

    I loved this post, and I agree. Giving thanks, being positive, focusing on the good…what a beautiful way to honor the season. You’ve inspired me.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 6, 2014 at 7:39 am (8 years ago)

      Thanks!

      Reply
  5. Bev
    March 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm (8 years ago)

    What a lovely way to observe Lent. Showing gratitude is so important. I try to do it as often as possible.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you! I love the social media tradition of giving thanks during November. I’m trying to be more intentional about gratitude through the year.

      Reply
  6. Judy C.
    March 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm (8 years ago)

    Your approach to Lent this year has given me much food for thought. I don’t think that God truly wants us to “give up” something. I think that we need to remember every day the blessings that He has given us and remember all that He did for us, His children. My OLW for 2014 is embrace and for Lent (and each day), I will embrace His many blessings in my life. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm (8 years ago)

      My thoughts on Lent tied in with my OLW, too–joy. I just forgot to include that when I sat down to write it tonight.

      Reply
  7. Lee Ann Spillane
    March 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm (8 years ago)

    Just when I needed it, thank you.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm (8 years ago)

      🙂 I’m glad it came at just the right time.

      Reply
  8. Diana Marc-Aurele
    March 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm (8 years ago)

    “Too many times I get caught up in what is going wrong rather than being grateful for all the gifts I have in my life.” This line is an important message to remember not just during Lent but year round. So basic and so easy to forget. Thank you for sharing your reflection.

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm (8 years ago)

      I’m glad it spoke to you. It’s a message I have to remind myself of often.

      Reply
  9. Amy Rudd
    March 5, 2014 at 8:30 pm (8 years ago)

    Kay,
    I love your approach to lent…God must have lead me here because this is exactly what I was thinking about on my approach to lent this year…gratitude, positivity and blessings. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm (8 years ago)

      I’m glad you found it helpful. May you see all your blessings this season of Lent.

      Reply

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