Making change usually means giving up the old and taking on the new.
I grew up in a non-liturgical church which didn’t celebrate Lent. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I was part of a congregation that celebrates Lent. So I had a lot to learn.
Lent is a forty-day liturgical season that initiates the most sacred part of the Christian year. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes Easter. Sundays aren’t counted for some reason.
The word Lent actually comes from the Old English lencten, which means “lengthen.” It refers to the lengthening of the daylight hours that occurs in the northern hemisphere as spring approaches. It is in this period of transition from late winter to early spring that the season of Lent falls.
Forty is a number that has a lot of Biblical significance. It rained for 40 days. Moses was on the mountain for 40 days receiving the Ten Commandments. Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Elijah went 40 days into the wilderness. The people of Nineveh fasted and mourned for 40 days in response to the preaching of Jonah. Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days after which he as tempted by Satan. Jesus was among his disciples for 40 days after the resurrection before He ascended into heaven.
So it seems logical that Lent lasts 40 days.
Why practice Lent?
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “the purpose of Lent is to provide that purification by weaning men from sin and selfishness through self-denial and prayer, by creating in them the desire to do God’s will and to make His kingdom come by making it come first of all in their hearts.”
What does this mean to us?
Looking at the concept of Lent from a secular perspective, it’s a time when we give something up; a time when we make sacrifice.
Maybe we give up some of our comfort zone. Maybe we give up beliefs and thoughts that are dear to us. Maybe we give up habits that have the capacity to hurt us and hold us back from where we might be otherwise.
That’s a subjective term. Your comfort zone might be horrendous to someone else because you may have gotten comfortable in an atmosphere of pain and negativity that you know than you might be in the unknown of the alternatives. So we say, “I’ll just deal with it,” and continue trudging through our lives.
Beliefs and Thoughts
Again, the impact of beliefs and thoughts is subjective. It’s true that you were hurt. And the recurring thoughts that you have represent something that truly happened. And you may take some satisfaction in the vengeance you deal out every time you think about those painful things.
We get comfortable where we are and reconcile that this is the hand we were dealt and we’ll just play it. Maybe I eat too much. It doesn’t hurt anybody but me. Maybe I languish in a menial job. It’s my life. I’m not hurting anybody else. I speak my mind. Don’t I have the right to do that?
Giving up for Lent
Think about giving up your painful comfort zone and spending your 40 days seeking a peaceful lifestyle.
Why not give up debilitating thoughts in favor of personal peace?
Why not give up habits that hold you back and offend others and take up new habits?
You can do all that and more if you’ll let the course, Finding Personal Peace, show you how.
Why not give up emotional pain for Lent?
Why not give up negative thinking for Lent?
Why not give up old habits for Lent?
Forty days later, you might not recognize yourself.
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