Lenten Arithmetic

Lent-at-the-AbbeyCan I do it?

Do I want to do it?

What is my purpose in doing it?

What is “it” going to be?

These are the questions I’m asking as my mind finally begins to turn toward Lent.

It’s rarely been my practice to “give something up for Lent”.  Too much pressure?  Too many things competing for the position of the thing to give up?  Too lazy?  Maybe all of these?  Regardless, I just haven’t done much giving up for Lent. (as an aside…if it’s worth giving up for Lent, should it be  given up altogether?)

Now, I have had more experience, at least more success, in adding things to my life during this season of preparation and reflection.

Adding a devotional reading.  Adding a focus on scheduled prayer times.  Adding some act of service.

Adding has always been easier for me than subtracting.

For me, the thing about adding (or subtracting) during Lent is focus.

If I add something just to add something, I just become more distracted, more diluted, more disconnected.  I say more, because I am already all of these things.  That’s what Lent is supposed to remedy, not exacerbate.

But, if I’m not careful I add some good thing that will distract me from the inward reflection and the critical self-examination I need to do.  My power and energy and influence are diluted when the addition of some good thing doesn’t help me channel more time and energy into my relationship with God and with others.  I become disconnected when the good thing I add becomes my focus instead of becoming a vehicle to help me experience God more fully.

Can I do it?

Do I want to do it?

What is my purpose in doing it?

What is “it” going to be?

Here it is…

I’m going to pick up the Rethink Church 40-day photo challenge.  I might miss the photo piece, but I’m going to use the themes suggested as a basis for what I’ll write here.  From a guy that hasn’t been very good about posting here on the blog, this is going to be interesting.  More importantly, I  hope these topics help me draw closer to God.  I pray they help me draw closer to others.

Perhaps you’ll join me on this adventure?

Use the listed topics to inspire your own creativity.  draw something.  Write something.  Have a conversation.  Take a picture.  If you feel moved to do so, share what you come up with here.

Let’s take this Lenten journey together.

Life is better together,

5 thoughts on “Lenten Arithmetic

  1. Hello Shawn,

    I read your Lenten Arithmetic and the word DILUTE stayed with me so I am going to work on that equation. Blessings,

    Billie Ryle


    1. Billie,
      Staying and/or becoming concentrated is so very difficult for me. So easy to say “yes” to everything and get spread thin. My prayers are with you as you work on being what “dilute” means to and for you.


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