The Doorway of Lent

February 18, 2015

IMG_0467Lent begins today and is traditionally a time for fasting and reflection and “giving up stuff”.  It takes place over the 40 days leading up to Easter, and those who practice this spiritual tradition often ask one another, “What are you giving up for Lent this year?” For me, when I have actually chosen to enter into Lent, it usually means giving something up that I would really, really, really, really miss.  A guilty pleasure.  Wine.  Coffee.  Binge-watching my latest series.  All of which might let me check Lent off my list, but are not especially reflective or transformational, since I usually celebrate the end of Lent by indulging in whatever I have given up.  Sort of a Lent-Lite.  And to be totally honest, most years what I give up for Lent is… well… Lent.

Today, the first day of Lent 2015 started out a bit heavy.  A little sadness here, a little fear there.  Toss in some worry and uncertainty, and the idea of giving up anything that I actually enjoy felt like it might put me over some ledge.  But, thanks to an encouraging phone call this morning, I am going to try a new approach this year.  Rather than withholding something I actually like, I am going to give up a burden that I absolutely don’t. If you are like me, we carry things in our life suitcase that no longer serve us, that weigh us down, hold us back, and keep us stuck in old habits and patterns. Old stories and inner tapes that are not true (but the more we tell them to ourselves, the more true they feel), resentments, shame, comparisons, financial uncertainty and fear are just a few examples of my familiar traveling companions.  What if this year, for the next 40 days, I give up just one of them?  Not all.  Just one thing, which how anything new begins.  Take one burden out and see if I move forward a bit more easily, am able see with a tad more clarity, can find new answers to old questions, create more meaningful work, and  have a heart that has room for a little more peace and is able to extend a skosh more love and grace out into the world. Talk about transformational and new life rising from old ground.

Believing that speaking into the world that which we intend  is a spark that ignites growth and change, this year for Lent, for the next 40 days, I am giving up the fear of uncertainty. In saying that, I know that I can’t just coast happily along for the next 40 days and expect new life to arise miraculously from the soil into which I have so often sowed that fear.  No. Lent is a practice which means that it requires… practice.  Since it is the fear of and not the uncertainty itself, when that particular brand of fear raises its head (which it of course already has in the short time of writing this), I am going to attempt to choose to be curious rather than afraid.  I’ve even prepared a few questions to ask that can hopefully lead me away from fear and though the doorway of discovery towards what will always be an uncertain future.   “What now?  Where do I go from here?  What do I want to be true of my life?  What is my next step?  And as I ask those questions I am going to listen deeply for the answers that I know will come, one at a time, as I need them, and, as they always do when I find the courage to ask.

If you want to join me for the next 40 days, what could you give up that might lead you through a new doorway with a lighter load to carry for the adventure of uncertainty that lies ahead?

10 Responses to “The Doorway of Lent”

  1. David Berry Says:

    Nice, Molly – thank you. I’m giving up perfectionism and replacing it with more intimate connections with my wife and kids.

  2. Molly Davis Says:

    Thank you David. Appreciate you sharing yours which will of course add more spark to my own.

  3. Carol Donohue Says:

    I will give up feeling sorry for myself and replace it with gratitude. Tomorrow morning , I will climb a ladder and write “Arise and be Grateful” in Calligraphy…on the wall that I see when I wake up each day….and I WILL STRIVE to be Grateful- for all I have, Grateful for where I live, for the beauty that surrounds me, for my health, and ever-so-grateful for my God who is trying to teach me to love ALL. EVERY…ONE.

  4. Gay Kane Says:

    What a wonderful idea! I, too, will join you in your positive approach to this time of year. Your blog was so encouraging and uplifting. Thanks for enlightening me!

    Priscilla and I are traveling for another women’s retreat! Do you have anything in the works? Happy Lent! Gay Kane

    Sent from my iPad


  5. margie Says:

    oh my goodness….makes me sooooo happy Mol….I will give up guilt!!!!! U R the best:)

  6. I give up my need for approval. Wow, what a powerful post. Thank you!

  7. Molly Davis Says:

    Thank you K. Traveling a little lighter together!

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