Lent | girlwithblog.com

I’ve been in a kind of ugly place lately, a place of quiet cynicism and selfishness. I’ve simultaneously deferred and coveted the spotlight. The chip on my shoulder is breaking off in pieces, the seed of my secret cynic taking root and spreading like ivy on a stone building, right across my heart.

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The season of Lent arrives today, on Ash Wednesday. I’m of the Lutheran heritage, the kind that brings love in a casserole, offers grace in a warm hug, and gives a goodbye that lasts ten minutes {in the parking lot} Some people observe this liturgical season with an act of sacrifice – the giving up of something that doesn’t come naturally to them, something difficult to part with. I’ve found that for me, the discipline deepens when I add a spiritual practice to my life. This season will bring with it two additions to my life and that of my family:

  • more cooking of homemade meals, and
  • doing the hard work of hope.

My family, we are exhausted and have slipped into the practice of ease. Since the birth of our sweet baby girl, when we had to be in the survival mode of figuring out how to do the whole whole two kid thing, we’ve eaten out, started using a Keurig, adjusted our sleep habits, shopped online, opted for delivery whenever possible. Out of necessity, we’ve adopted a lifestyle of convenience. This is not a bad thing!! But it has been for three parts of our lives: our wallets, our waistlines, and a little bit of my heart. I love to cook. I take cookbooks to bed with me and read them like novels. The act of cooking forces me to slow, to sip, to enjoy, to savor. It activates a part of my brain that I don’t use for anything else, and it straight brings me joy. In the spirit of slow, mindful living, of discipline, of easing ourselves out of the exhausting pace at which we’ve been speeding through our life, we will be spending time in the kitchen filling more than just our plates and bellies.

The second practice of hoping is somehow harder. There’s no meal prep calendar, no shopping list, no recipe of necessary ingredients. The work – the practice – of hope is one that doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m kind of an Eeyore, a worst case scenario-er, a sort of pessimist. The way I see it, if I’ve already thought of the worst possible outcome I will be more prepared if it were to come true. Practically speaking, it makes sense. But seeing it typed in black and white… my heart heaves. This kind of focus has wormed its way into my heart in an ivy of cynicism. I look at things through a twisty lens, warping the focus. I overanalyze, overthink, overprocess, and I am over it. I don’t want to comfortably slide into a cynical, sarcastic and judge-y place when I walk through the doors of my church. I don’t want to replay a conversation a million times. I don’t want to wonder what it means when my friend unsubscribed from my blog, didn’t tweet @ me, or doesn’t like me on Facebook. I want to contemplate simplicity, and for me that means shattering my inner cynic.

This means there will be hard conversations. This means there may be tears. This means I will have to embrace soft. It means I will probably feel dumb sometimes, foolish at others, bewildered and bowled over. {clearly I have a lot of feelings.}

But it also means there will be a light. It means there will be hope. And come Easter Sunday – the culmination of the Lenten season – may my heart be resurrected.

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Entering quietly but boldly into this season, my hope is to embrace it. To experience it. I’ve been feeling a little hamster wheel-y lately, feeling as though I’m runningrunningrunning a grueling race and watching parts of my life fly by me as if they’re all on a moving sidewalk. I’m ready to slow, to get off the wheel and join the fray.

Do you observe the season of Lent? If so, how?

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In case we haven't met, I'm Anna. I'd love to chat over a picket fence in the backyard, but this will do for now. Let's make it easy to stay connected - simply enter your email below to get the latest posts in your inbox. We'll talk real life, real faith, real motherhood, and real encouragement. Oh, and just so you know, I'll keep your email to myself.

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