The season of new things

Mar 7, 2014 by

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This is my favorite season: early spring and Lent. How perfect that they coincide! Both are seasons of preparation and hope, hard work and renewal. When I reflect back on my life, the greatest personal changes I’ve undergone have happened in the spring. I come into the new year with the expectation that big things are stirring — that something new is happening.

I’ve also always loved the Lenten discipline of giving something up or adding something new. The practice of making a commitment to God and keeping it, even if it’s something superficial, can be transformational. The more control we give God over the little things, the easier it will feel to give God control of the big things.

Since I’ve loved Lent for so long, I kinda feel like I’ve reached expert level. I’ve given up coffee, caffeine, all drinks but water and milk, chocolate, all sweets and, most recently, gluten. I’ve also added things like praying everyday, trying a new prayer discipline every week, reading something everyday and reading the Bible everyday. This year, I’m going all in. My Lenten disciplines will be:

No screen Sunday

This is something I’ve been considering making a year-round discipline, but I’ve never been able to get in the groove. Now is the perfect time. No screen Sunday is exactly what it sounds like: no TV, computer or iPhone (beyond calls and texts) for the whole day.

Fasting Monday

For about six months during high school, I observed a 20-hour fast every week: 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 p.m. Monday. I would read my Bible instead of going to lunch and try to remember to pray every time my stomach rumbled. College does not lend itself to routine, so this discipline fell by the wayside. I’m excited to pick it back up this Lent. I’ll be fasting from 11 a.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Tuesday. I plan to spend my lunch hour going outside and praying or just resting in God’s creation.

One hour of at-home productivity everyday

I will be the first to admit that when it to comes to household chores, I’m terribly lazy. Too often I let things reach a critical mass and then spend one intense weekend getting my life in order. Not this Lenten season. I will commit to spending one hour each evening doing something productive: vacuuming the floor, cleaning my room, grocery shopping, making a meal, sorting through and getting rid of things, etc.

Read everyday

This is my Lent go-to. I’ve done it many, many times before and I always love it. Reading is important to me, but I struggle to carve out the time. Again, this is the perfect time to focus on creating that space.

Last spring, I found myself in a wilderness and Lent helped me to find a way out. I enter this season with anticipation and excitement. This is the season of new things.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. — Isaiah 43:19

Brooke Natalie Blough lives in Philadelphia, Pa., and works at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a regular attender of West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship and writes at Now Faith, where this blog first appeared.

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