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Give It Up


On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. – Psalm 145:5


I was caught off guard the other day when my grandson, Andrew, asked me what I was giving up for Lent. Wow. I hate to admit it but I actually hadn’t thought about it and I can’t believe it hadn’t even crossed my mind. For 23 years I served in ministry and I asked people to consider what they might set aside during this season of Lent in order to use that time and energy praying and getting closer to God. I consider Lent to be a period of time when we get very focused on our spiritual life. We either give up something that we really like, that may or may not be so good for us, or we add something – like a spiritual discipline. Perhaps we commit to a time each day for reading Scripture and journaling; praying more; reading a particular devotional; reflecting and meditating.


A while back I wrote about a feeling of being in the wilderness, of feeling a little lost since retiring almost a year ago. Trying to find my place in this new season of life has taken a bit of time. I believe I am finally seeing the light and am rather excited about this new phase of the journey of grace. I am ready and open to God’s leading me to whatever it is He has planned for me.


So, I have decided (a few days past the beginning of Lent) on something to give up, as well as something to add to my days. This is my own private fast. I believe whatever it is we decide on, it should be between each person and God. If we talk a lot about it, it becomes more of a distraction for others in their own deciding, and we also risk sounding like we’re boasting. The struggle, and the point of the struggle, is to grow more dependent on God to give us strength and courage; to help us make it through when we want to give up.


I have no idea what you might need to do, should you feel led to do anything. But I know for me, I have let the chaos of transition and uncertainty cause me to lose my focus so much that I forgot about Lent and how important it is to me! And, added to that, is all the political unrest and division I see and hear about every day on the news (maybe give up news?) And now, we have this concern about a new virus that is causing some panic around the world.

What a perfect time for Lent! What a timely thing it is to do something to help us get our focus off of fear, frustrations and uncertainty, and get our thoughts and our trust back on the One who holds our future in His hands.


Lent is a beautiful time. For Christians (Christ followers) it is a 40-day period of mentally and spiritually (and metaphorically) following Jesus to the cross where grace was poured out for us out of deep, amazing love. We willingly allow ourselves to be led to more quiet places; we spend time contemplating the meaning of the cross – and the gift of forgiveness and salvation.


Maybe you are not sure about faith, about God, or Christ in your life. What if you gave up doubt for this time of Lent, and prayed? What if you read the bible faithfully every day and simply asked God to help you know that He is real? What if you just opened your heart and mind for a season to see if the Holy Spirit would show you what you need to believe?

I’m a few days late, but I have decided to give it up. Would you care to join me? Send me a message if you’re thinking about it but want to talk it over. I’d love to walk with you on this journey through Lent.


Peace and Grace to You,

Sharlyn



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© 2020 by Dr. Sharlyn DeHaven Gates