Last week, on Ash Wednesday, someone asked me, “What are you giving up for Lent?” I didn’t have an answer in that moment but, after some thought, I realized that I’m not giving up anything. I am taking on something–the spiritual discipline of simplicity. Lent is a season of reflection, contemplative prayer, and solemn preparation leading up to Easter.
This question made me think about how the language that we use has the power to create a negative or deficit mindset, in which one has to deny oneself of something in order to seek a closer relationship or be in conversation with God. During the season of Lent, many are engaged in Lenten practices such as giving up sweets, red meat, or wine; fasting from worry and fear; or abstaining from judgmental behaviors. These practices have merit; however, they often cause us to focus on the negative. We spend so much of our time and our energy focused on avoiding these things that we end up creating negative self-fulfilling prophesies.
This season let us add a positive approach to our Lenten practice by engaging in the spiritual discipline of simplicity. By simplifying our lives, we are able to cultivate an inner voice that allows us to be in conversation with God through meditation, contemplative prayer, and solitude. Join us for a follow-up conversation on Simplifying Your Life, during Adult formation on Sunday, April 30 from 9:30–10:30 a.m. Come and share about your journey, while developing a sense of gratitude for everything we have, finding joy in our hearts, and showing kindness to others.
Dr. John G. M. Frederick, Vestry Member