But Lenten sacrifices, or as I sometimes call them, Lenten vows, are different. I’ve been doing something to mark Lent since I was twelve. At first, I gave up things. No chocolate. No beverages besides water and milk. No whining about doing the dishes (my mom liked that one!). These are things that keep me away from God and/or from living the life that we’re called to.
Then I started adding things, thinking of it as a sacrifice of time and a way to grow closer to God. While I was in Spain, no English (that was ROUGH). Doubling my devotional time. Creating a daily prayer space and making sure I prayed there every day. I’ve always gotten something out of Lent. Unlike 365 days, 40 (plus potentially cheating Sundays) seems much more feasible. And if I make a promise to God that I’ll do it, I’m more likely to keep it – or to have the guilt factor WAY up if I don’t.
This year, I’m doing “40 days of Transformation” through a local yoga studio. It’s a commitment of doing yoga six days a week (with a dedicated Sabbath day), meditating or praying twice a day every day for at least 20 minutes, working through a book with journal prompts, and meeting with a small group weekly. Part of me thinks I’m out of my mind and way too ambitious; most of me has learned to quit fighting when God is persistent.
I’m scared, y’all. Transformation isn’t something that happens without change, and change is never neutral. Yoga is a healing practice, and as Nadia Bolz-Weber says, “sometimes healing feels more like death and resurrection than a warm cookie and a glass of milk.”
I’m not saying all this to brag, but to be honest, open, and vulnerable with you. When my spiritual life is healthy, I’m painfully vulnerable with God. I feel I owe it to you to be the same. I’d also like to encourage you to try a spiritual discipline or some kind of Lenten vow this year. We’ll be writing about some of them here on Soul Munchies, and, as always, appreciate your input.
What are your Lenten practices? Your favorite spiritual disciplines?