During Lent, Jesus took 40 days to consecrate himself to his purpose. Those who look at him through a biblical lens know that in the biblical story, that purpose included death on the cross and then, resurrection after three days. These days, many people use Lent for self-reflection, personal growth and spiritual growth. But a larger purpose may be getting closer to God or the divine. Hiding under his wings (I think that's the wording?). This year, beginning on March 6th, I encourage you, no matter what your faith, to create contemplative moments of retreat for yourself during the 40 days of Lent.
Create a Contemplative Lenten Practice
Instead of just reading a great book this year, grab your journal and a cup of tea each time, so you can really dive in.
Think about what the passage means to you. Imagine it happening, and even if you don't believe it happened literally, take in its truth, anyway.
Write down any insights or questions that come to mind, offering yourself up for a deeper understanding.
Reading Challenge: What I'll Be Reading
What will you be reading during this Lenten season?
See you next time!
Sometimes we are closer to the truth in our vulnerability than in our safe certainties.
For several pages, toward the beginning of the book, including the sentence I quoted above, Rachel describes millennial ways of speaking about the church. She even compares it, at one point, to a more Generation X (my generation) point of view. But I found myself agreeing with everything she said in those pages.
The only difference for me is that I didn't grow up as jaded about being advertised to and I can still easily be enchanted by a well-told story. Other than that, though, I was nodding my head the whole way through. And how wonderful that was.
I found it so refreshing to read his book & see some of my own thoughts reflected in her words. So I couldn't wait to read the rest of it. And it didn't disappoint.
During most months, I will only post one reading challenge book, but this month, I did two because I couldn't wait to share this second book.
See you next time!
Intentional by Grace, in their reading challenge, chose a book from the New Testament as one of their challenge categories. She said that one of her goals was to encourage us to read the Bible as part of the challenge. I chose the book of Philippians...
One thing that stands out to me about Philippians is its tone. It's a warm, encouraging letter to Paul's dear friends from a church who befriended him and helped support his ministry. He seems to have heard about some conflict or difficulty there and is writing to help.
"Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]." - Philippians 4
There are several messages in this passage from the Amplified Bible that are encouraging to me. Be good to each other and to everyone. God's with you, so pray about everything you need, and that way, you won't worry or struggle with anxiety so much. In fact, you'll feel a reassuring peace that will stand guard to protect your feelings.
He seems to be saying that having a relationship with God - and trusting Him to take care of you - can protect you from worry and anxiety. Talking everything over with Him will calm and reassure you.
This is a message I need to hear over and over again. I find it difficult to have that kind of trust. But I'm working on it.
What stands out most to you about this verse or passage?
See you next time!
P.S. If you'd like a good study guide for Philippians, to help you really dive in, I recommend this one...
You may pick up a new book seeking knowledge on a subject that fascinates you. Or you may feel like exploring an alternative world created by a novelist. When your reading also exercises your faith, fires your imagination, stirs your soul, and expands your circle of compassion, it becomes a sacred activity.
SPIRITUALITY AND PRACTICE
Making Reading Sacred
I am choosing several reading challenges and book discussions to be a part of this year, to connect with others who love reading and share those books and thoughts with all of you here. Fingers crossed, I make it through the whole year in spite of health challenges, my homeschooling schedule and other life challenges.
But my deepest goal is to use what I read as part of a year-long goal to come back to & deepen my faith.
Here are just a few of the books I will be reading (okay, I have already started, and finished one of them, but you get the idea) ...
Faith Unraveled by Rachel Held Evans
The Book of Philippians in the New Testament (study book is optional)
Lenten Meditations, by William A. Barry
It'll Be Okay: Finding God When Doubt Hides the Truth by Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner
Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson, a Christian author
Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving & Finding the Church, also bu Rachel Held Evans
I'd love it if you'd join me, so we can talk about the books here. But I hope to share the ideas, too, and you're invited to comment on those even of you haven't read the book.
My plan is to do one book post per month, but I have found so many books I'd like to read, there may be the occasional extra post.
"...it was only as I was exposed to this
new, vast realm of ideas and inspiration that I understood I had been
fed on crumbs of knowledge when there was a feast to be enjoyed."
Sally Clarkson, in Book Girl
I may also read some Jane Austen. Another challenge blog is featuring books by Jane Austen this year and there's another that suggests reading the book and then, watching the movie. I might do that, too, if I get around to it.
Are you doing any reading challenges this year?
See you next time!
lifestyle blogger, hygge hermit, author, follower of Jesus, certified spiritual director, bookworm, INFP, Enneagram 9-7-4, tea drinker and homeschool mom. This blog's mission is making mom life easier.
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