I’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.