Lent: 40 Days To Cultivate
Happy Ash Wednesday! A day that frequently tends to sneak up on me. Unlike Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s day, or even Groundhog’s day, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Easter wander around February, March, and April, making it difficult for me to keep up.
You may or may not know that today marks the beginning of Lent. A forty-day period on the Christian calendar leading up to Easter. Often, Christians use this time to prepare their hearts for Easter in the form of fasting, praying, or reflecting.
One reason Lent always has a special place in my heart, is because nine years ago, the start of Lent was what propelled me into the blogging world. Starting with a group of women spending 40 days to say, “God, more than anything else in this world, I just want to love you.”
So as I've thought and prayed through Lent, the word cultivate came to my mind as if God was whispering, “take these 40 days and cultivate your relationship with me.”
If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to arrive to church on Easter Sunday clad in your cutest, brightest sundress, but feel completely spiritually ill-prepared for the sacred, celebration of Easter.
The good news is this year, each of us have been given a forty-day period where we can get ready, so when Easter Sunday rolls around, as our favorite Atlanta Housewife, Kim, sings, we won’t be “tardy for the party.”
I’m no gardener, but as the word cultivate has been mulling on my heart, I was thinking about a garden, and how when caring for a garden on any given day, you can weed, water, or plant.
So that’s my challenge to us: that each one of us will practically consider one way we can cultivate our spiritual gardens over the next 40 days.
Not because we feel pressure to do something, not because of guilt, but because we want this to be a season where we cultivate our relationships with God and take some time to take care of them.
A few ideas for “weeding”:
- Prayerfully consider what is deterring your heart from God and commit to giving it up–I’m sure they’re different for everyone, but mine tend to consist
of TV, celebrity gossip, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Are you over indulging in something? Consider letting that go during Lent and pairing back. Mine is usually sweets. While some may be able to
just have one cookie...I need at least five!
- Wake up 15 minutes early to spend time each morning in prayer.
- Find a simple devotional you can read each day. A short, easy one is Jesus Calling, or you could try My Utmost for His Highest
A few ideas for “planting”:
- Sacrifice something you love to do something for others. Only drink water during Lent and donate the money we would have spent on coffee, soda, and
wine to Living Water.
- Plant seeds of loving others–commit to doing one loving act each day for your family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
(This post originally appeared in 2017)