Lent is the season of bright sadness. A time for those in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, United Protestant, Roman Catholic, and some Baptist and non denominational Churches to observe and reflect upon Jesus Christ’s forty day wilderness journey where He was tempted by Satan (before beginning His public ministry) followed by a time of celebration with the culmination of Easter Sunday.
Many who observe this season do so through fasting, prayer, repentance, and self denial in order to deepen their relationship with God and to prepare their hearts and minds for the observance of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today, I would like to step out on a limb and suggest similarities of this season of bright sadness to the journey of simplicity and organization in our lives. Please know I am not being blasphemous, nor am I making light of this solemn time of year. I am deeply rooted in my faith; and, as I began to consider Lent this year, I noted some emotions stirring in me that I would like to share with you. The emotions I am experiencing as I enter Lent are strikingly familiar and akin to the emotions I feel when I am reflecting on the journey to create a life of simplicity or beginning a new organizational project. Let me explain the emotions I feel during reflection, prayer, self denial, times of fasting, sorrow, and then celebration.
Each day when I wake, I brew my coffee, snuggle in my chair with blanket and materials in hand and spend time with God. I read Scripture, reflecting on the reading and how God is speaking to me through His words, I pray to the Father petitioning Him in all areas of life, and I sit and listen. I take notes on what I read, I ask Him questions, and I praise Him for who He is. My emotions can tend to be all over the place during this time. I feel sadness. I feel remorse. I feel convicted in areas of my life. I feel anger at times. But…as I continue to reflect on the love of Christ, I am softened. I feel joy. I feel contentment. I feel His presence. I feel His love flowing over me like warm water, covering me from head to toe. I feel like singing, and sometimes I do!
As the season of Lent arrives, my time is not altered. I do not change my pattern. I do focus more on gratitude, love, and where changes in my life need to occur to be more like my Savior. During my time of fasting, I spend additional time in prayer and meditation focusing how much Jesus gave of Himself for me. At the end of Lent, a celebration occurs with Easter Sunday where I am filled with overwhelming sense of love and hope, and I smile deep in my soul.
Living a life of simplicity and organization can be quite similar in nature. As I contemplate the life I wish to lead and the surroundings I live in, many of the same emotions course through me. A life of simplicity is a life of intention, a resolve to live in a specific manner, a life of significance. This takes time for introspection and reflection, a time of meditation. During this time I take notes. I dream. I create vision boards. I brainstorm. I list the pros and cons. I feel the feels and the create an intention to make changes where they are needed or desired.
I feel sadness and remorse at times. My actions do not always line up with my intentions. I am not a perfect person. I hurt people. I say things or act in a manner that is unloving and not who I want to be as a woman of integrity and simplicity. I don’t get my housework done. I don’t finish a project I started. I procrastinate on putting together my office. I lag in creating a system that will make my home run smoother. I feel anger at myself or a situation. But…I dust myself off, stop having a pity party and resolve to do something about it. I am convicted; and, conviction drives me to change.
With my intention set, I take the steps lined out in my dreams, vision board, or brainstorming session. I implement the goals I set and I move towards those goals through action. I find accountability partners to walk with me. As change occurs through the baby steps, I feel joy. I feel a sense of accomplishment. I feel empowered.
This is a lifelong process. I am relentless in my desire to become better. To love more. To live simply. To share what I have learned. To listen more and speak less. To really see my environment and be present. Lent is a time when this is even more powerful as I focus on the love of God and His desire for me to grow and become more like His Son.
The journey of life is what you make it. I encourage each of you to reflect. To meditate. To experience life to the full, sorrows and joys. Create a life you love! Live with gratitude and contentment in your heart and enjoy the ride!